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Walt Disney World

But it comprises a mere few dozen acres among WDW’s 37,718 acres. That’s 47 + square miles, roughly the size of two Manhattan islands, filled with five theme parks, two waterparks, 30 resort hotels, six golf courses, two shopping-dining-entertainment complexes and–are you still with me?–enough other diversions to keep over 54,000 “cast members” (Disney-speak for employees) busy catering to 124.7  of millions of guests annually.

Disneyland was dedicated as a single park by Walt Disney on July 17, 1955, and opened to the public on July 18, 1955 in Anaheim, California.

In 2001 the site expanded significantly and was renamed the Disneyland Resort with the opening of Disney’s California Adventure Park (now Disney California Adventure Park); two hotels, one new and one rethemed; and the Downtown Disney retail, dining and entertainment district. The resort occupies 500 acres (2.0 km2), and consists of:

Theme parks:

  • Disneyland Park
  • Disney California Adventure Park

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

  • Downtown Disney

Resort hotels:

  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

The Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971, with the Magic Kingdom theme park and three resort hotels. Today it is the largest (by area) and most-visited vacation resort in the world, with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, 20 resort hotels, eight golf courses and several additional recreational activities.

Theme parks:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Water parks:

  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

Other parks:

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney Quest

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

  • Downtown Disney


  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort (Includes Disney’s Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary)
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Walt Disney World Swan
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin

Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983. On Sept. 4, 2001, the resort expanded with Tokyo DisneySea. There are several resort hotels on site, but only three are actually owned by the resort, which boasts the largest parking structure in the world. Tokyo Disney Resort is fully owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company and is licensed by the Walt Disney Company. The resort was built by Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney maintains a degree of control; Nick Franklin leads the Walt Disney Attractions Japan team at the Walt Disney Company, which communicates with the Oriental Land Company over all aspects of the Resort, and assigns Imagineers to the Resort. Its properties, listed below, are divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts:


  • Tokyo Disneyland
  • Tokyo DisneySea

Shopping centers:

  • Ikspiari shopping, dining and entertainment complex


  • Disney’s Ambassador Hotel
  • Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta
  • Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Paris, Disney’s second resort complex outside the United States, opened on April 12, 1992, as the Euro Disney Resort. Located in Marne-la-Vallée in the suburbs of Paris, France, it features two theme parks, a golf course, an entertainment complex and six Disney resort hotels. It is maintained and managed by Euro Disney S.C.A., a company partially owned by the Walt Disney Company whose stock is traded on Euronext. Its properties sit on 4,940 acres (20.0 km2), listed below, and are divided into parks, shopping centers, and resorts:


  • Disneyland Park (previously named Euro Disneyland)
  • Walt Disney Studios Park
  • Golf Disneyland

Shopping and entertainment complex:

  • Disney Village (previously named Festival Disney)


  • Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Hotel New York
  • Disney’s Newport Bay Club
  • Disney’s Sequoia Lodge
  • Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne
  • Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe
  • Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch

Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney’s fifth resort and its second in Asia, opened September 12, 2005. The resort is located in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Currently, the resort consists of one theme park and two hotels, with land reserved for future expansion. It is owned and operated by Hong Kong International Theme Parks, an incorporated company jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and the Government of Hong Kong. The first phase of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort occupies 320 acres (1.3 km2).


  • Hong Kong Disneyland

Other parks:

  • Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre


  • Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
  • Disney’s Hollywood Hotel

Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1995; its three ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, began operation in 1998 and 1999 and the Disney Dream began operation in 2011, respectively, and were designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering. The ships offer three-, four- and seven-night Caribbean cruises, each with a stop at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. One additional ship will join Disney’s fleet in 2012.


  • Disney Wonder
  • Disney Magic
  • Disney Dream
  • Disney Fantasy (2012)


  • Castaway Cay

Shanghai Disneyland Resort

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the central government of China to build a Disney theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai. “China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world and this approval marks a very significant milestone for Walt Disney Co in mainland China,” said Robert Iger, president and CEO of Disney.The resort is expected to open in 2014.

Other ventures

  • ESPN Zone, a chain of sports-themed restaurants operated by Disney Regional Entertainment.
  • Club Disney, a now-closed chain of children’s entertainment centers developed by Disney Regional Entertainment.
  • DisneyQuest, an indoor arcade with traditional video games and virtual reality experiences, initially developed and managed by Disney Regional Entertainment. (Last one is at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida)
  • Three World of Disney retail stores managed by the Parks and Resorts merchandise division.
  • Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program that includes several themed resorts within Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort Anaheim plus Disney’s Aluani Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.
  • Adventures by Disney, a program of all-inclusive, guided vacation tour packages offered at predominantly non-Disney sites around the world.

Abandoned concepts

Disney reportedly had plans to build a park named Disney’s America. The park was to have been located in Haymarket, Virginia, but local opposition to the idea appears to have persuaded Disney not to go forward with it in 1994.[4]

Before Disney’s California Adventure, Disney originally had announced plans for a West Coast version of Epcot, WestCOT, which was deemed too ambitious after the rocky financial performance of Euro Disney in France as well as protests by residents of Anaheim. Another concept for a Disney park in California was Disneysea, a contrasting park to Disneyland, to be built in Long Beach next to the RMS Queen Mary which Disney owned at the time. The park was to have led to a permanent West Coast ship in the Disney Cruise Line, which would dock at the park. The concept, although quickly scrapped, inspired the Imagineers to create Tokyo DisneySea, which has recently been deemed the second best-loved Disney park in the world, after Disneyland. Tokyo DisneySea is currently open at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

Disney-MGM Studios Europe was intended to be a European copy of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Florida, to have opened in 1996 at the Euro Disney Resort (now Disneyland Paris). Imagineers had been working on plans for six months before they were told to stop by management after the resort was drastically underperforming financially. The Walt Disney Studios Park opened in 2002 after the resort started to make a profit, though was ultimately very different from the original plans for Disney-MGM Studios Europe.

Hong Kong Disneyland expansion

Rita Lau, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development for Hong Kong, announced that the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland had been approved by the Executive Council on June 30, 2009, and also approved by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong on July 10, 2009. The park will receive three new lands; Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. Construction began in late 2009 and will take 5 years to complete. The park will feature a total of seven themed lands after the completion of all the new additions.

American projects

Disney has made no announcements regarding plans for another American theme park and CEO Robert Iger frequently has cited international expansion as one of the company’s three strategic priorities.

The only site that is extremely short on land is Disneyland Resort in California. Although the company has acquired enough real estate to build a potential third theme park on a former strawberry farm near the existing resort, Robert Iger has stated that the company’s focus in Anaheim is to improve its second park, Disney’s California Adventure, before building a third. The strawberry fields were purchased in 2004 for $99.9 million with a requirement to harvest them until 2009. The remainder of the original Disneyland parking lot, southeast of Disney’s California Adventure, was designated as a future growth space for the park. Since the park’s opening in 2001, three small projects have been built into that space (A Bug’s Land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and a backstage warehouse) while a third, much larger project known as Cars Land is currently being built.

In October 2007, Disney announced plans to build a resort at Ko Olina Resort & Marina in Kapolei, Hawaii, featuring both a hotel and Disney Vacation Club timeshare units. Scheduled to open in 2011, the 800-unit property to be named Aulani will join the other resorts not associated with a theme park, such as Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.

Universal Parks & Resorts

Universal Parks and Resorts is the theme park division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group and General Electric. The division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the various Universal Studios resort properties around the world. The division is headquartered in Orlando, Florida, United States.

In 2006, approximately 25.8 million guests visited the Universal Studios theme parks, making it the third-largest amusement park operator in the world.



o    Universal Studios Hollywood

o    Universal Studios Florida

o    Islands of Adventure

o    Universal CityWalk

o    Wet ‘n Wild

o    Universal Studios Japan

Theme Park Attractions & Lands

Universal Studios incorporates many replicas of attractions and lands in multiple parks around the world. The pages linked to above contain comprehensive list of the attractions and lands at Universal theme parks.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (abbreviated SeaWorld) is a family entertainment company owned by The Blackstone Group. SeaWorld is responsible for the operation and maintenance of ten theme parks located throughout the United States. Formerly a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch since 1959, under which it was known as Busch Entertainment Corporation, SeaWorld Parks is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

In 2009, SeaWorld’s properties hosted a combined total of approximately 23.5 million guests, making it the fifth-largest amusement park operator in the world. However, company officials have disputed this estimate in the past, as internal attendance figures, which they choose not to make public, reflect higher attendance than does the cited estimate. For the 2008 study, SeaWorld officials singled out the company’s most-visited park, SeaWorld Orlando. The 2008 report estimated that 5.9 million people visited the park, a decrease of almost three percent year-over-year. However, if the 2007 report’s original estimates are used, attendance actually rose by 100,000 visitors. After the release of the 2008 study, a spokesperson for SeaWorld voiced the company’s continued displeasure with the study, saying, “They are wrong across the board.”

Busch Gardens parks

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Tampa, Florida
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia

SeaWorld parks

  • SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Florida
  • SeaWorld San Antonio – San Antonio, Texas
  • SeaWorld San Diego – San Diego, California

Water parks

  • Adventure Island – Tampa, Florida
  • Aquatica – Orlando, Florida
  • Water Country USA – Williamsburg, Virginia

Other parks

  • Sesame Place – Langhorne, Pennsylvania
  • Discovery Cove – Orlando, Florida

Future properties

First announced in February 2008, Dubai developer Nakheel planned to license SeaWorld’s properties for its own “Worlds of Discovery,” with the first parks set to open in 2012. However, the global financial crisis of 2008-09 has prompted both Nakheel and Busch Entertainment to suspend development indefinitely, although both sides expect to move forward when the financial climate improves.

First phase (originally planned for December 2012):

  • SeaWorld
  • Aquatica (similar to the facility in Orlando)

Second phase (originally planned for 2015):

  • Busch Gardens
  • Discovery Cove

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is the brand name of two separate entities: a theme park (9 roller coasters and 4 water rides)in Buena Park, California, and a manufacturer of food specialty products (primarily jams and preserves) based in Placentia, California.

Present Day Knott’s Berry Farm – Amusement Park

In modern times, the vicinity of the park has been heavily suburbanized. The landscape and skyline of the park is now dominated by the roller coasters, overwhelming much of the original theming and atmosphere of the park. The park serves as an anchor for other tourist-oriented businesses such as Medieval Times and Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, and the Movieland Wax Museum which was located nearby until it closed in 2005. Buena Park Downtown, a series of shopping centers containing Walmart, Sears and Kohl’s stores, plus a few eateries, such as Portillo’s, is located near Knott’s Berry Farm.

Since being acquired by Cedar Fair, the park has seen an aggressive shift towards thrill rides, with the construction of a number of large roller coasters and the addition of a high-performance Shoot-the-Chutes ride Perilous Plunge.

In the late 1990s Cedar Fair acquired the Buena Park Hotel at the corner of Grand Ave. and Crescent. It was then brought up to Radisson Standards and branded Radisson Resort Hotel as a franchise. In 2004, the park renamed the Radisson Resort Hotel the Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel

Two of Knott’s Berry Farm’s most recent areas of concern are that its parking lot is landlocked and cannot be expanded, and the closest train station was several miles away in Fullerton. Both have made travel to the park something of an inconvenience. That problem is expected to be solved in part by Buena Park’s new Metrolink station which was completed in 2007.

The park gates now enclose six themed areas:

  • Ghost Town
  • Fiesta Village
  • The Boardwalk
  • Camp Snoopy
  • Wild Water Wilderness
  • Indian Trails

Current Boardwalk attractions include:

  • Xcelerator (which replaced the defunct Windjammer Surf Racers)
  • Riptide
  • Perilous Plunge
  • Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars
  • Wipeout
  • Sky Cabin (sky cabin will stay where it is as the windseeker has been moved to fiesta village)
  • Screamin’ Swing
  • Supreme Scream collection of three drop towers, at 312 feet (95 m) in height, Supreme Scream is the tallest structure in Orange County.
  • Boomerang (roller coaster) a launch shuttle of one vertical loop and two halves of dragon curve which, with forward and return trips, invert riders six times. Boomerang replaced the 1975 “Roaring ’20s” Corkscrew roller coaster which was notable for being the first modern-day roller coaster to perform a 360-degree inverting element, with two barrel rolls. The Corkscrew is currently located at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho.

East property

The East side of the property, divided by Beach Blvd., features the main parking lot, Knott’s Soak City a seasonal water park which requires separate admission, the picnic grounds rental areas, complementary admission to Independence Hall and gift shop, and the Church of Reflections which was moved outside the theme park in 2004 continuing to offer Non-Denominational Sunday services. A tunnel and pedestrian underpass beneath Beach Boulevard. connects the main parking lot to the shops, restaurants and theme park.


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