Walt Disney World is a 25,000 acre entertainment center in the Orlando, Florida area. WDW consists of four theme parks, 27 themed hotels, 2 water parks, an outdoor mall, golf courses and over 200 restaurants. There are over 74,000 employees and each year Disney World is visited by more than 52 million people!

Disney World History

In 1959, Walt Disney began looking for a supplement to his Disneyland park in California. Surveys revealed that only 5% of Disneyland guests came from east of the Mississippi, where 75% of the population lived. Disney began secretly buying land in the 1960’s to avoid a land grab. Although there were many rumors, Disney was able to use dummy corporations to secretly buy most of the land. On October 25th, 1965, it was officially announced that Disney was building “the greatest attraction in the history of Florida”. The Magic Kingdom was completed in 1971. Epcot opened in 1982. In 1988, MGM Studios (later known as Hollywood Studios) opened. In 1998 the Animal Kingdom opened.

Disney World Theme Parks

Disney World consists of 4 theme parks. All four are among the most visited theme parks in the entire world. Below is a brief overview of these 4 parks.

Magic Kingdom - The Magic Kingdom is the original park built in 1971. It is the most popular theme park in the world. This park contains over 20 attractions and has become the iconic center of Walt Disney World.

Epcot - Epcot was the second park to open. Epcot was originally envisioned as a futuristic center of innovation. The World Showcase is the highlight of Epcot. 11 countries are represented and guests can enjoy food, drinks, architecture, and entertainment from all 11 of these countries.

Hollywood Studios - The original name of this park was Disney-MGM Studios. Originally this park was to be a major production studio. That idea has been scrapped and it’s solely a theme park now. In 2019, Star Wars Land will open in Hollywood Studios, which is forecasted to be one of the most popular expansions in Disney World history.

Animal Kingdom - The Animal Kingdom is the newest of the 4 Disney parks. It includes a 110-acre wildlife refuge that includes over 250 species of animals. This park also has many shows, restaurants, roller coasters, and an entire section of the park devoted to Avatar.

Disney World Dining

Disney World has over 200 restaurants to choose from. Disney Springs and Epcot are the two areas that contain the most restaurants, but great dining experiences can be had at most of the Disney hotels and all of the theme parks. For more information on eating at Disney, please see our article on Disney Dining.

Disney World Rides

There are over 46 rides and countless other entertainment shows, attractions, and events to see at Disney World. To learn about every ride, we have written 4 articles that are broken down by theme park:

Magic Kingdom Rides
Epcot Rides
Hollywood Studios Rides
Animal Kingdom Rides

Disney World Touring Strategy

With over 52 million people visiting each year, Disney World is very crowded! Lines are long, it’s frequently hot, and many guests leave Disney having had a miserable time. As you probably know, Disney World is not cheap so it’s important to take a little bit of time to plan out your strategy for the touring of these theme parks. Don’t spend a lot of money and then wait in lines all week. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! The following four articles will provide free touring guides for each of the four theme parks:

Magic Kingdom touring plan
Epcot touring plan
Hollywood Studios touring plan
Animal Kingdom touring plan

Disney World resorts

Disney World is very unique. Instead of relying on big hotel chains to provide lodging, Disney has built 27 of their own hotels to provide lodging for guests. This allows Disney to have tremendous latitude in theming. Each of the 27 Disney World resorts has a unique theme with unique restaurants, decorations, and experiences. The 27 resorts are separated into 3 different categories:

Deluxe Resorts
Moderate Resorts
Value Resorts

Before you book a vacation to Disney, see our article on Choosing a Disney resort. We’ll break down the differences in the three categories, and help you find the resort that is perfect for you and your family.

Disney World Fastpass Strategy

Disney allows all guests to have 3 fastpasses per day. A fastpass is an electronic ticket built into your Magicband that allows you to go to the front portion of the line. While every guests gets 3, there is definitely a strategy to use when booking your fastpasses. If you aren’t sure what to do, we’ve got your covered. Our article on fastpass tips will help you to stay out of lines and enjoy your Disney vacation!

Disney World Tickets

Ready to go to Disney World? Let’s get you on your way. Head to our Disney World ticket section for an in-depth look at how to buy tickets, how to save money, and how to plan the perfect Disney World vacation!