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Walt Disney World Resort Over 40 Years!

  • Mr. Disney Announces Park Plans

    Mr. Disney Announces Park Plans
    Mr. Disney went to a meeting to discuss the "Florida Project" which would eventually become Disney Land. He unveiled his plans to create an amusement/theme park in the middle of Florida.
  • Magic Kingdom Theme Park Opens in Orlando

    Magic Kingdom Theme Park Opens in Orlando
    There was a huge grand celebration for the grand opening of the park with about 10,000 excited visitors. The celebration included a huge parade of the released Disney characters and a huge band. Some of the attractions opened were the Haunted Mansion, Mad Tea Cups, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction Opens

    Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction Opens
    Pirates of the Caribbean is added to Adventureland in Disneyland. It was one of Mr. Disney's last projects, and he died about 3-4 months before it was opened to the public. This exciting ride included a band of pirates, their journeys, and the dangers they encountered. This inspired the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
  • The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Debuts

    The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Debuts
    The musical opens at Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds as a dinner show that lasted 90 minutes long with only 6 performers! It is written by Ron Miziker along with other people. The show is said to be "the longest, continuously running musicals in American theatre history." It is performed now 3 times a night all week long with over 35,000 accumulated performances and 10 million guests.
  • Space Mountain Ride Launches

    Space Mountain Ride Launches
    This exciting indoor, space-themed roller coaster opened in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom Park. Space Mountain is listed as one of the oldest roller coasters (still active) in all of Florida. This is the first version of Space Mountain and has been replicated in all of the other Magic Kingdoms all around the world. The construction and actual ride was funded by RCA from when it first opened to 1993 (beginning renovations).
  • "America on Parade" at Magic Kingdom

    "America on Parade" at Magic Kingdom
    Magic Kingdom Park started the parade procession, called "America On Parade," to celebrate the US Bicentennial Celebration. The parade incorporated American historic milestones such as the first airplane flight, moon land, etc. It was held daily from the day it opened to September 6, 1976 and was the largest procession since the park had opened. "America on Parade" featured over 150 performers and 50 floats. It was performed 668 times at the park with a special soundtrack!
  • Disney Opens its First Water Park

    Disney Opens its First Water Park
    River Country, Disney's first water park, debuted at Magic Kingdom (Florida) in Fort Wilderness. It was commonly called, "The Ol' Swimmin' Hole" and placed next to Bay Lake (to be the water supply in the park). It featured a lot of extensive detailed rock work and slides (never seen before at the time). When it opened, there were about 4,700 guests that visited per day. However, the park closed in 2001/2002 due to safety and competition.
  • Disney Debuts its 1st Nighttime Parade

    Disney Debuts its 1st Nighttime Parade
    The Main Street Electrical Parade was the first nighttime parade that took place on Main Street of Magic Kingdom. It was inspired by a night-time lake show, but Disney wanted to replicate it on land. There were over a thousand lights on all of the diverse floats (Cinderella, Blue Fairy, etc). It is the first time at Disney that they also used sensors to trigger music specific for each float. The debut was a success, and many visitors hoped to view it on their visit to Orlando.
  • Disney's EPCOT Center Opens

    Disney's EPCOT Center Opens
    Epcot Center (soft) opened as Disney's second theme park on Friday. It held the record of being the Disney's biggest theme park (260 acres) in the world at that point. EPCOT stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and was themed futuristic. It costed about $1.2 billion and (at the time) had the Spaceship Earth, Future World and World Showcase, etc.
  • "Journey into Imagination with Figment" Launches

    "Journey into Imagination with Figment" Launches
    This attraction, "Journey into Imagination with Figment," launched at Epcot May 5th near the Imagination Pavilion. Its goal was to hopefully boost the park's visitors since it didn't feature classic characters like Magic Kingdom did. It was immediately successful and gained many excited guests including children and adults. The futuristic attraction consisted of 2 new characters named Dreamfinder and Figment, a purple dragon.
  • Disney World Debuts First 4D Film

    Disney World Debuts First 4D Film
    The name of the 1st Disney 4D film was Captain EO featuring lasers, smoke effects, star fields, etc. Captain EO essentially was a science fiction film with the iconic Michael Jackson. The plot detailed Captain EO and his spaceship team trying to deliver a gift to a different planet. It was directed by a man named Francis Ford Coppola. Of course, being one of the first 4D films, it attracted many viewers, and the show eventually came back after Jackson's death.
  • Magic Kingdom Opens New Attraction: Mickey's Birthdayland

    Magic Kingdom Opens New Attraction: Mickey's Birthdayland
    Disney World opened a new attraction: Mickey's Birthdayland at Magic Kingdom to hugely celebrate Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday! It was constructed near the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. For guests, it was a surprise attraction when it was first released, being announced in the parks by Minnie Mouse. It featured a surprise birthday party, shows, shops, etc. Its popularity increased so rapidly that it became a permanent land, the first one to be added since the park's grand opening.
  • Disney-MGM Studios Open

    Disney-MGM Studios Open
    Disney MGM Studios opened as a large division of Disney's Animation Studios and the third park to Disney World. At the time, it was the largest and most crowded opening day ever seen by Disney (had to close parking after 1 hr). It was separately located near Epcot. It featured many tours and rides dealing with the process (television, sound, backstage, etc) of creating Disney films and animation. Other than that, the place also had multiple restaurants and shops.
  • Feature Animation Florida Opens

    Feature Animation Florida Opens
    Feature Animation Florida was one of the new divisions of Walt Disney Animation Studios. It was built as a satellite behind MGM studios and employed about 40 people. Its purpose was to make short movies and hopefully act as another attraction for those into animation. Surprisingly, they managed to also create Mula, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear (full movies) other than its shorts. They also helped with other Disney classics such as Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.
  • Disney MGM Studios Holds its 1st Nighttime Fireworks Show

    Disney MGM Studios Holds its 1st Nighttime Fireworks Show
    Disney MGM Studios held its 1st Nighttime Fireworks Show called Sorcery in the Sky on May 29th (not long after its opening). There were over hundreds of guests because the show was one of its firsts at the time. It featured a director, a 55-ft. inflatable Mickey Mouse on top of the Chinese Theater. Effects made it seem as though he was shooting the fireworks from his fingers. The show lasted only about 10 minutes, but used over 300 firework shells and music from Disney classics.
  • Disney Resort Celebrates 20 Years with Parade

    Disney Resort Celebrates 20 Years with Parade
    At Magic Kingdom's 20th anniversary, the grand celebration included a new parade named "The Surprise Celebration Parade." The daily parade would continue for several years. Again, it was held on Main Street, and attracted many of the park's guests (100s). This parade featured huge balloons (40 ft) that resembled Disney characters (Mickey/Minnie Mouse, etc) celebrating parties along with other floats and costumes. Other participants would be encouraged to hold red Mickey balloons.
  • The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror Ride Opens

    The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror Ride Opens
    This exciting ride (freefall drop tower) debuted at Disney's MGM Studios in Florida. Its creators based it on a TV series called The Twilight Zone, and it was one of the first rides to have been adapted from a film (simulated from free falling elevators). It is about 199 feet tall (13 stories). The ride attracted much more guests than expected due to the element of excitement and terror.
  • Disney Opens its Blizzard Beach

    Disney Opens its Blizzard Beach
    Disney opened another water park called Blizzard Beach at its World Resort themed both as a ski resort and beachy playground. The park featured lots of chances for thrills (free-fall slides) and relaxation, mainly the causes of its popularity. It was about 60 acres large, and also contained Mount Gushmore (a 90ft. artificial snowy mountain) which led to a 120-ft slide down a plummet (60 mph). The opening date, April Fools, also attracted many curious visitors.
  • Magic Kingdom Changes Cinderella Castle for 25th Anniversary

    Magic Kingdom Changes Cinderella Castle for 25th Anniversary
    Magic Kingdom celebrated its huge 25th anniversary by completely morphing Cinderella Castle into a 18-story (185 ft) birthday cake. It caused a lot of controversy because some guests wanted the original castle back sooner than 15 months. The workers covered the original castle and then painted the castle pink (400 gallons)! It featured inflatable icing, and large models of candy (lollipops, gum drops, etc) and, of course, giant birthday candles.
  • Animal Kingdom Theme Park Opens in Orlando

    Animal Kingdom Theme Park Opens in Orlando
    Disney celebrates the grand opening of the 4th new theme park, Animal Kingdom on Earth day. The purpose of the park was to help guests view, enjoy, and interact with different species of animals. The park took over as the largest theme park so far (500 acres) to provide the animals enough room. The grand opening was attended by at least 2,000 visitors and featured a huge ceremony with animals, inflatables, costumes, floats, etc.
  • Animal Kingdom Adds a New Land: Asia

    Animal Kingdom Adds a New Land: Asia
    After so much success with the Animal Kingdom Opening, Disney decides to add its first new expansion land: Asia. It is inspired by Asian culture, landscape (Tiger Tree, bamboo, birds, gibbons, etc), history, architecture and exotic animals. There were many ruins and temples to form a mysterious kingdom called Anandapur, similar to Indonesia's, Cambodia's, Thailand's, and India's. Because it was an opportunity to view Asia's unique culture, Asia has stayed and been expanded to.
  • Disney Implements FastPass Service

    Disney Implements FastPass Service
    At the time, Disney Parks were full of guests waiting in long 1 hr + lines for a single attraction. Disney Co. used a system to reserve certain rides ahead of time called FastPass in late 1999. Once a visitor reserved a spot, they could go through a shorter line to view that certain attraction and have more time for other attractions. This became an instant success (boosted Disney's economy) because so many guests wanted to reserve the free FPs to gain more out of their Disney day.
  • Epcot's Mission: Space Opens As Attraction

    Epcot's Mission: Space Opens As Attraction
    Epcot center opened Mission: Space in Future world. The ride/attraction gave visitors a realistic experience of when a rocket launches and how astronauts are trained. Disney collaborated with NASA and called in actual astronauts to boost the aerospace attraction. It included lots of new technology that connected guests to outer space, one of the reason for its immediate popularity.
  • Magic Kingdom Debuts its First Nighttime Fireworks Show: Wishes

    Magic Kingdom Debuts its First Nighttime Fireworks Show: Wishes
    Magic Kingdom wanted to replace its fireworks show with the first fireworks nighttime show, so the Walt Disney Creative Entertainment came up with Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams. The 12 minute show featured the narration of Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy with songs (When You Wish Upon A Star) about the wishes of classic Disney heroes and villains. The Castle changed lights and a "wishing star" would be shot into the sky along with other fireworks.
  • New Ride: Soarin' Debuts at Epcot

    New Ride: Soarin' Debuts at Epcot
    Epcot was in need of more thrilling rides, so Disney debuted Soarin' in 2005. They built it as a simulator with a mechanical lift system which would imitate flight motion for guests. They added more features such as wind, scents, and a dome screen for presentation (80 ft & 180*) to many different places around the world, starting with CA.
  • New Attraction/Ride: Expedition Everest Opens at Animal Kingdom

    New Attraction/Ride: Expedition Everest Opens at Animal Kingdom
    Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain opened at Epcot as a coaster/train ride a through the "Mt. Everest" that was 200 ft high! The ride had the element of terror and thrill since guests would slowly head up the mountain in a old railroad train. The guests would see pleasant sights at first, including the mountain, bamboo forests, waterfalls, glaciers, etc. They would encounter a train wreck sight and start falling through the mountain to see the legendary Yeti.
  • Disney MGM Studios Gets Rebranded as Hollywood Studios

    Disney MGM Studios Gets Rebranded as Hollywood Studios
    The day before, Disney MGM Studios closed down only to reopen the next morning as Disney's Hollywood Studios. The theme park got renamed because of past conflict about contracts between the MGM Studios and Disney park. Disney's president eventually gave the theme park's name to Hollywood. They officially changed it in 2008 because they wanted to reflect the relationship between the theme park and the world renowned movie capital.
  • Disney Announces New Expansion Plans to Magic Kingdom

    Disney Announces New Expansion Plans to Magic Kingdom
    Disney wanted to drive the competition with Universal Studios by adding a new expansion land: FantasyLand that would also double the size of its theme park. They announced the plans in September of 2009. They planned to add attractions, stores, restaurants, and meet-and-greets stations relating with Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid. The construction would cost over $1 billon. Disney fans responded with excited anticipation.
  • New Attraction, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Opens at Hollywood Studios

    New Attraction, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Opens at Hollywood Studios
    Star Tours: The Adventures Continue opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios as a new attraction based on the highly successful franchise: Star Wars. The attraction would be a 3d-motion simulated space flight to popular places from Star Wars. It would also feature many characters from Episode 1-5 along with new characters. The opening of the attraction was very successful and gained a lot of guests (over 300) in just the first day mainly because they were fans of the movie series.
  • Disney Announces Plans to Create New Land at Animal Kingdom

    Disney Announces Plans to Create New Land at Animal Kingdom
    Disney announced plans to collaborate with Fox to add a new themed land in Animal Kingdom called Pandora: The World of Avatar based on the movie Avatar. The land would include shops, restaurants, attractions, and stunning landscapes including the moon Pandora, its floating mountains, extraterrestrial wildlife and exotic plants. All of the attractions would light up at night once the park opened in nighttime hours. It would be opened in 2017 to the excited reaction of Disney fans.