Before visiting Florida for the first time, many people believe that Walt Disney World is a theme park - in reality it is an area the size of San Francisco (over 40 square miles!) located around 20 miles from the city of Orlando.
Walt Disney World is made up of theme parks, water parks, hotels, restaurants and many other attractions, and is the largest single-site employer in the United States, with over 60,000 employees.
Walt Disney had first created 'Disneyland' in Anaheim, California which opened in 1955. When Disney came to look for possible locations for his new project - 'DisneyWorld' - he needed an area with plenty of land, and with good weather all year round. Florida was the perfect choice, but after having selected the location unfortunately Walt Disney died in 1966, the year before construction started. To recognise his personal contribution to the new venture, the planned name of DisneyWorld was changed to Walt Disney World.
In the video below, Walt Disney talks about Disneyland and sets out his plans for Walt Disney World (scroll in to the 5:00 point to hear him talk about the 'DisneyWorld Project'.
There are many iconic images of Walt Disney World, but perhaps the most famous is Cinderella's Castle (below) which forms the centrepiece of one of the Disney theme parks - the Magic Kingdom.
Each of the theme parks is now famous in its own right - Magic Kingdom came first in 1971, with it's fairytale castle and fabulous themed areas.
Epcot followed in 1982, bringing to life Walt Disney's vision of a community of the future. Disney's Hollywood Studios opened in 1989 recreating the magic of Hollywood's golden era, and Animal Kingdom came along in 1998 with amazing experiences and incredible themeing.
Downtown Disney provides a wide range of shopping opportunities, along with dining and entertainment options which become a focal point for visitors every evening.
There are more than 20 Walt Disney World hotels, catering to different budgets and offering facilities to make the most of your holiday experience, including the Disney Dining Plan and transportation to and from the parks and attractions. In addition there are further non-Disney hotels located in and around Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney's vision was of a place where visitors of all ages could have an amazing experience. With its huge range of attractions, and not forgetting the magical firework displays to end the day, Walt Disney World certainly delivers.
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