Where else do you find an annual attendance of 52.5 million visitors? Yes, The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited tourist attraction in the world right from the day it opened. This entertainment complex is owned by the Walt Disney company and is situated in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The complex is fun filled with four theme parks, two water theme parks, 24 themed resorts and many other entertainment and recreational venues. The property covers around 42,000 acres of land. The Disney World resort at Orlando was actually designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California which was opened in 1955. Surveys conducted on Disneyland and its visitors states that out of the complete annual visitors only 5 percent of Disneyland’s visitors came from the east of the Mississippi river, where almost 75 percent of the population of the United states lived.
Orlando has a well developed network of roads, an International Airport thus making transportation for the tourists at ease. This was the major driving factor for fixing Orlando as the site for the Disneyland resort by Walt Disney. Walt Disney faced many initial obstacles in setting up his resort and he used various dummy corporations to acquire the entire planned area for the construction of his project. The truth about the ownership and few other details was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper which in turn resulted in setting up a press conference where Walt Disney explained the plans for the site. But until then almost all of the issues associated with the land was settled by him including the minerals rights to the land which was negotiated with the Tufts University for $15,000.
Walt Disney envisioned the plan of a futuristic planned city also called as progress city in his project EPCOT, The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. He visualised new ideas and concepts for urban living within a working city consisting of commercial and residential areas.
Walt Disney died from lung cancer in 1966 much before his idea was realized. And then it was his brother and business partner Roy O. Disney who continued with this dream project.
At the Park’ opening ceremony Roy O. Disney paid tribute to his brothers dream by declaring that the park would be known as “Walt Disney World” in his brothers honour who started it all.
Contrary to the popular misconceptions The Disney world resort is not situated within Orlando city limits. It is actually about 34 km towards the southwest of downtown Orlando. Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake which are governed by the Reedy Creek Improvement District are also a part of the Disneyland’s property. The Disneyland property covers a huge mass of land which is about the size of entire San Francisco or more than twice the size of Manhattan to be precise.
Disney world hosts quite a lot of attractions to quench our thirst for entertainment. The Typhoon lagoon, Disney’s river country, Discovery Island, watercraft rentals, firework cruises, Cane-pole fishing, golf courses and lot others take us to a different sublime level.
There are totally thirty four resorts and hotels on the Walt Disney world property out of which twenty four are owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and resorts. The Disney world has a wide class of resorts ranging from Deluxe, Moderate, Value, and Disney Vacation club resorts. Some of the most famous and preferred resorts are –
THE GRAND FLORIDAN RESORT AND SPA
This is a four diamond Victorian themed resort containing more than 850 rooms which are really spacious measuring 400 square feet and accommodates up to five people per room. This resort was opened on June 28, 1988.
This is a deluxe level resort located towards the west of the Grand Floridan resort. The main differentiating feature about this resort when compared to other resorts is that this resort is structured around a central building by name “The Great Ceremonial House”. No rooms are present in this Great Ceremonial house, it features several waterfalls and a hefty tropical rain forest in its foyer with more than 75 plant species.
ALL STAR MOVIE RESORT
Disney’s All Star Movie Resort is one of the resorts in the value category and is located in the southern portion of the property. The main attraction of this resort is its theme, The property is decorated with Disney film icons like The Love Bug, Mighty Ducks, Toy Story, Robin Hood etc. All the rooms in this resort are royally furnished and are pooled with accessories such as Irons, cribs, hair dryers, in room safes etc.
THE WALT DISNEY WORLD DOLPHIN AND SWAN
The Dolphin and swan have their own distinctive appearance even though they share similar elements and they are the only resorts to carry the Disney tag and receive special Disney benefits despite being completely owned by The Walt Disney Company.
Disney Magical Express is the first standout factor when it comes to the transportation. The complimentary Disney Magical Express service transports the visitors with a Disney reservation from the airport to the resort. A large convoy of cruise line buses equipped with GPS systems, park tips and other general announcements with musical ambience branded as Disney transport is also complimentary for the guests. Watercrafts ranging from the size of mini water taxis to large ferries are also provided for the convenience of the guests.
MAINTANENCE AND EMPLOYMENT
The Walt Disney complex is well known all over the world for its maintenance. More than 7,000 members are employed for maintenance and engineering aspects. More than $100 million is spent annually for maintenance. There is a tree farm in the complex which is exclusively dedicated for replacing mature trees. The antique items are regularly painted, more than 600 painters are hired for this purpose.
The Disney complex being the largest single-site employer in the United States employs more than 66,000 workers spending more than $1.2 billion on payroll every year. It has more than 3,700 job classifications and also offers internship to college students.