Happy birthday, Walt Disney World! The Vacation Kingdom opened its gates to the public exactly 40 years ago today, on October 1, 1971. The “Florida Project,” as it was initially known, fulfilled Walt Disney’s dream of bringing the magic and entertainment of Disneyland to the East Coast, this time with the blessing of size. Acres of Central Florida swampland were transformed into one of the most magical places on Earth, delighting guests for years to come. Although Walt Disney passed away before the park’s completion, his brother Roy O. Disney oversaw construction of the new park, making sure Walt’s vision was realized.
When the Walt Disney World Resort opened its gates 40 years ago, it had a single park, Magic Kingdom. Guests staying at the resort could stay at one of three resort hotels on property: the Polynesian, Contemporary, and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Since then, Walt Disney World’s offerings have more than quadrupled in size. Today, the Resort contains four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment district, 23 resort hotels, five golf courses, and more. With some major new expansions coming to Walt Disney World in the upcoming years, including the Fantasyland Expansion and the new Avatar land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the resort will soon offer more fantastic experiences to guests than ever before.
As we previously announced, Magic Kingdom is celebrating the anniversary today with a special presentation, merchandise signings, a special fireworks presentation, and more. Walt Disney World has continually been a source of joy, entertainment, and treasured memories for families and individuals from all over the world, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Resort in the future. Here’s to another 40 years!