The Walt Disney World Resort, informally known as Walt Disney World or simply Disney World or shortly WDW, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida (mailing address is Lake Buena Vista, Florida), near Kissimmee, Florida and is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide theme park empire. The resort opened on October 1, 1971 and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually.
Disney World is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The property covers 27,258 acres (11,031 ha; 43 sq mi), in which it houses 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers (no electric carts allowed), two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, one downtown like shopping area, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2014 Disney World’s 4 theme parks all ranked in the top 8 on the list of the 25 most visited theme parks in the world; (1st) Magic Kingdom – 19,332,000 visitors, (6th) Epcot – 11,454,000 visitors, (7th) Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 10,402,000 visitors, and (8th) Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 10,312,000 visitors.
Transportation to Disney World
Designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. “The Florida Project”, as he called it, was originally to be built in hopes of differential in design and scheme from Disneyland with its own diverse set of rides. Walt Disney’s original plans also called for the inclusion of an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, a planned community that would serve as a test bed for new innovations for city living. After extensive lobbying, the Government of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special government district that essentially gave The Walt Disney Company the standard powers and autonomy of an incorporated city. However, Disney died on December 15, 1966, before construction began. Without the mind of Disney spearheading the construction of Walt Disney World, the Disney Company instead created the resort very similar to Disneyland, just on a much larger scale, along with abandoning his concept of an experimental planned community.
Coincidentally, Disneyland is in Orange County in California and Walt Disney World is in Orange County in Florida.