Walt Disney said, If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt’s dream was to build a theme park where kids of all ages would have fun. His dream came to life when Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Since 1971, Walt Disney World has evolved into a major tourist attraction with an annual attendance of 48 million guests each year. Walt Disney said, The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt’s dream became a reality when announcements of the park began in 1965. Walt bought approximately 27,000 acres of land in central Florida for just over $5 million. The growing project suffered a dilemma when Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966. Walt’s brother, Roy Disney, took over the Florida project and stepped in to manage Walt’s company, WED Enterprises. On May 30, 1967, construction started for Magic Kingdom. The Florida project was renamed Walt Disney World to honor its founder, Walt Disney. By October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World was ready for its first guests. On opening day, tickets were only $1.00 for ages 3 to 11 and $2.50 for ages 12 to 17.
The original 3 attractions were Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary resort, and the Polynesian Village resort. Unfortunately, just a couple months after opening, Roy Disney died due to a cerebral hemorrhage. Walt Disney World currently consists of 4 major parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. There are also 2 water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, and is considered to be the most popular park. Its inspiration comes from Walt Disney’s first animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Imagineers also took inspiration from the original fairy tales and folk stories collected by Brothers Grimm. They modified the tales to fit the people’s interests. When you first enter Magic Kingdom, you arrive at Main Street U.S.A. You won’t miss Cinderella’s Castle, directly in front of you, which is just one of the very popular tourist attractions featured in Magic Kingdom. Many of the most well known attractions were opened between 1973-2012, such as Pirates of the Caribbean in 1973, Space Mountain in 1975, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in 1979, and Splash Mountain in 1989. On December 29, 1974, there was a record number of day guests totaling 74,597. Magic Kingdom celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 1981. The 1990s are considered to be the Disney Decade due to exceptional progress, growth and completion.
In October 1966, Walt dreamed about Epcot. His dream didn’t become a reality until October 1, 1982, when Epcot opened. Epcot cost $1.4 billion and took 3 years to build. Some of the main attractions were opened between 1982-2014, such as Spaceship Earth in 1982, Test Track in 1999, Mission: Space in 2003, and Soarin’ in 2005. Epcot went through 3 name changes. It was originally called Epcot, but was changed to Epcot ’94 in 1994, Epcot ’95 in 1995, and finally back to Epcot in 1996.
In April 1985, plans were announced for Hollywood Studios, but it didn’t open until May 1, 1989. Hollywood Studios cost $500 million and took about 3 years to build. Many of the main attractions opened between 1989-2014, such as The Great Movie Ride in 1989, Tower of Terror in 1994, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith in 1999, and Toy Story Mania! in 2008. There are also many well known shows to see, such as Fantasmic Show, The Muppets, and High School Musical 3: Senior Year Right Here! Hollywood Studios was originally called Disney-MGM, but was renamed in 2008. On April 22, 1998, the last major park, Animal Kingdom, opened. Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney park and includes 1,700 animals. Many well known attractions opened between 1998-2017, such as Dinosaur in 1998, Expedition Everest in 2006, Avatar Flight of Passage in 2017, and Na’vi River Journey in 2017. You can also journey on a safari adventure or a walking trail to see just a few of Animal Kingdom’s many animals.
Walt Disney said, All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. What was originally just a dream, is now the popular tourist attraction that everyone has come to love. The prosperous park dedicated to Walter Elias Disney features the magic of Walt’s imagination. Walt Disney World is truly a place Where dreams come true.
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