The Walt Disney World Resort, located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, is a holiday world theme park destination resort owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment of The Walt Disney Company. It is the most popular place by tourist.
It opened on October 1, 1971 with the Magic Kingdom, and has since added Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. In addition to these four main theme parks, the resort contains two water parks, six golf courses, a sports complex, an auto race track, more than twenty resort hotels, and numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings. The 47-square-mile (122km2) property is the largest theme park resort in the world. However once completed, the yet-to-open Dubai Land in Dubai, UAE is expected to become the largest entertainment complex in the world.
A popular misconception is that the resort exists in Orlando, Florida. In fact, the entire Walt Disney World property is outside Orlando city limits; the majority sits within southwestern Orange County, with the remainder in adjacent Osceola County to the south.Most of Walt Disney World's Central Florida land, and all of the public areas, are located in the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, located southwest of Orlando and a few miles northwest of Kissimmee. The land within Walt Disney World Resort is part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District which allows the Disney corporation to exercise quasi-governmental powers over the area.
Holiday Disney World Resort's claim to being the largest theme park resort in the world will be passed on to Dubai Land, which will be twice its size, in 2006.Walt Disney World Resort features four major theme parks, each with a main attraction that serves as its symbol:
The Magic Kingdom (Cinderella Castle)
Epcot (Spaceship Earth, the geodesic sphere.)
Disney-MGM Studios (The Sorcerer's Hat, though formerly the 'Earful Tower' water tower represented it)
Disney's Animal Kingdom (the Tree of Life)
There are also two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach (a third, River Country, is permanently closed), as well as the Disney's Wide World of Sports athletic complex.
The Downtown Disney area contains many shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.Another notable aspect is the large number of hotel resort complexes on the Holiday Disney World property. Holiday Disney World also includes five world-class golf courses. Walt Disney World paved the way for many other theme parks and attractions in the area, including SeaWorld and Universal Studios, and helped make Orlando a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world.
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the Holiday Disney World employed about 5,500 cast members. Today it employs more than 57,000 cast members, spending more than $1.1 billion on payroll and $478 million on benefits each year. The largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World Resort has more than three thousand job classifications.