Happy birthday to Walt Disney World

October 1, 2018, 11:54 AM · Today is the 47th birthday of the Walt Disney World Resort, which opened October 1, 1971 with the debut of the Magic Kingdom, Disney's second-ever theme park after the original Disneyland in California.

Built on 30,000 acres of land secretly acquired by the Walt Disney Company after consultant Harrison "Buzz" Price identified Central Florida as the most feasible location for Walt's planned vacation kingdom and "experimental prototype community of tomorrow," Walt Disney World expanded eleven years later with the October 1, 1982 opening of Epcot, modeled as a permanent world's fair and inspired by the experimental community that Walt had envisioned for his Florida project.

The opening of Walt Disney World sparked Orlando's growth from a sometimes-overlooked community in Florida's interior, with a metro population of about 500,000 people, to one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, with more than two and a half million residents in its metropolitan area today. Disney World now includes two more theme parks — Disney's Hollywood Studios (opened as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989) and Disney's Animal Kingdom, which opened in 1998 — as well as two water parks, dozens of hotels, and the Disney Springs shopping district.

In addition to our reader ratings and reviews for all four Disney World theme parks, we offer several pages of advice for planning a Walt Disney World vacation, including tips on using the resort's Fastpass+ ride reservation system, making advance dining reservations, using the optional Disney Dining Plan for on-site hotel guests, and taking advantage of Disney's Photopass system, where Disney will take all your vacation photos for you. We also have a section of our Discussion Forum devoted exclusively to Walt Disney World.

For more about the rich history of the Walt Disney World and planning a trip to the world's most popular theme park resort, please enjoy two of our top articles about Disney World. Happy birthday, Disney World!

Replies (10)

October 1, 2018 at 12:18 PM

Happy birthday to my all-time favorite theme park!!!

October 1, 2018 at 2:28 PM

A Happy Birthday to WDW.

Also, 36th birthday to Epcot!

October 1, 2018 at 8:05 PM

a happy birthday to my childhood nostalgic place. i love u disney world

October 1, 2018 at 4:14 PM

Happy birthday to Walt Disney World! With many more magical years to come

October 2, 2018 at 7:21 AM

Happy Birthday Disney World...A magical place to go...

October 2, 2018 at 7:53 AM

I'm at the resort right now. There was no mention of the birthday yesterday at Epcot except for a few CMs from World Showcase who said they were given some cake. The CMs from Future World I spoke with knew nothing about cake. I guess there will always be the "haves and the have nots".

October 2, 2018 at 9:49 AM

I shared my birthday with Disney world my happy place.

October 2, 2018 at 10:12 AM

Happy Birthday Disney October is my Birthday month as well.

October 2, 2018 at 5:37 PM

When I worked Disney on Oct. 1, if I worked an opening shift, I got a cupcake. But by mid- to closing shifts, the free CM cupcakes were long gone.

October 8, 2018 at 7:30 AM

Three years from the 50th.

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