You're not alone if you are deciding to visit this glorious spot - it is the
countries number one tourist destination. Over 14 million people visit Walt
Disney World in Florida each year. It's also a very popular honeymoon
destination, and in fact, 1400 couples are married each year at Walt Disney
World at their Wedding Pavilion.
Mickey's Walt Disney World consists of 4 major parks, several smaller ones and other interesting villages and shops. The major parks are The Magic Kingdom, The Epcot Center, Disney MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom.
Whether you're newlyweds, old-timers or youngsters, there are ways to make
your visit the best it can be:
Walter Elias Disney was always a dreamer. He envisioned a sparkling clean entertainment park that would be as much fun for adults as for children. He recalled one summer afternoon: "Disneyland really began when my two daughters were very young. Saturday was always Daddy's Day and I would take them to the merry-go-round and sit on a bench waiting and eating peanuts while they rode. And sitting there, alone, I felt there should be something built, some kind of family park, where parents and children could have fun together."
The philosophy from which Walt's idea was conceived is reflected in his beliefs that, "There is a little adult in every child, but ... a lot of child in every adult." His dream became a reality on July 17, 1955 when the "Happiest Place on Earth" opened its gates in Anaheim, CA. Disneyland was an instant success. Amusement parks around the country quickly followed Disney's model and began polishing up their looks.
During the 1964-65 Worlds Fair in New York state the Walt Disney Company displayed their talents for building creative exhibitions with attractions such as, It's a Small World; Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln; and the Carousel of Progress. Headlines in the NY papers read "Walt Disney - GIANT at the Fair."
With this in mind, as well as the growing success of Disneyland, Walt decided to build the ultimate family amusement park. He purchased 29,900 acres (almost 43 square miles) of land near Orlando, Florida, an area 150 times larger than Disneyland itself. To convince the Florida State Legislature to start such an undertaking (which included the right to be self-governing) he created a short film in which he pointed out, "Here in Florida we have something special, the blessing of size. There's enough land to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine." The state listened and granted his request.
Walt's purpose in purchasing such an extensive amount of land was to prevent outside hotels from springing up next to his resort which had occurred with Disneyland. So in Florida, not only would a theme park be constructed but an entire vacation resort complex with hotel and recreational facilities created from a head full of his ideas.
Sadly, he never saw his Florida dream come true. In December of 1966, not long after introducing his plans, Walt Disney passed away. Roy Disney postponed his own retirement and took command of the project in order to make his brother's biggest dream come true. The creation of Disney World became the largest private construction project in the United States. Over 8,000 workers built the Vacation Kingdom. More than eight million cubic yards of earth had to be moved, swamps had to be drained, and canals and lakes had to be dug.
In October 1971, after a lifetime of dreaming and four years of construction, the Vacation Kingdom of Walt Disney World was opened to the public. Roy 0. Disney honored his brother's memory and aspirations in his dedication speech: "Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney ... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true.
May a Walt Disney World Vacation bring Joy and Inspiration, and New Knowledge to all that come to this happy place ... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together. Dedicated this 25th day of October, 1971." This dedication is inscribed on a bronze plaque in the Magic Kingdom. Walt had wanted to call his vacation land "Disney World", but after his death Roy insisted that it be called "Walt Disney World". The resort became an instant success and in one year it had attracted almost 11 million guests.