Today I am going to start a 2 day series breaking down and explaining a little about the four parks individually. I had a friend recently ask me what the difference was between the parks at Disney world, so I thought that I would make sure I explained a bit about each individual park. Even though it’s Walt Disney “World” there are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and many many resorts that make up WDW. When Walt opened Disneyland in 1955, he immediately realized one flaw, there wasn’t enough space. Almost overnight the Anaheim area exploded with restaurants and motels that weren’t Disney owned. When he had the idea for a second park on the eastern side of the country he knew that it would have to be a HUGE land purchase so that everything could be on Disney property. In fact, the land in Orlando that is owned by Disney is bigger than the island of Manhattan. (I will go more into the history of the land purchases at another time)
The Magic Kingdom-
This is the most recognizable park at WDW. When most people think of Disney World, the image of Cinderella Castle comes to mind. This was the first park that was built at WDW, and opened in October of 1971. While it has its similarities to Disneyland in California, there are some differences. It has a castle as a main hub and from the hub it branches off into 6 unique lands. Each land is carefully themed and contains rides and attractions that fit the theme. At the MK you’ll find these areas-
Main Street USA
This park is the most whimsical of the four, and if you’re only going to visit 1 theme park, I would say this is the one to go with. It is great for small children and adults alike. The adults will enjoy the more thrilling attractions like Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Railroad, while the little ones will enjoy It’s a Small World, Flight of Peter Pan, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
This theme park also just finished the largest renovation in the history of the park. They took out a section known as toon town and expanded Fantasyland. With this expansion there are even more ride and attraction options. It is absolutely spectacular.
There is so much more that I could write about the magic kingdom, but I will stop here for today. Sometime soon, I will dive more into specific Magic Kingdom topics.
Here is a scanned copy of the map from our trip (Sorry for the quality, the maps are HUGE and was difficult to scan!)
Magic Kingdom Map
This was the second park was opened in 1982. When Walt was envisioning his “Florida Project” (what it was known as in its early stages), he envisioned a futuristic community that would be housed on the property. He wanted people to live and work in this Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (or EPCOT). While Epcot was never intended to be a theme park in Walt’s vision, it still focuses on a lot of Walt dreamed of. EPCOT is a place where both learning and fun co-exist.
Epcot is divided into two main areas, Future World and The World Showcase.
Future World is home to 7 main pavilions, each with unique theming and attractions.
The Universe of Energy Pavilion
Test Track Pavilion
Mission Space Pavilion
The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion
The Land Pavilion
The Imagination Pavilion
Again, there is so much that I could tell you about all of these different pavilions, and over the course of the next few weeks I will dedicate time to each area of Future World!
The World Showcase is home to 11 different countries (I have written a little bit in the past about how there is room for more countries, but there are no plans to expand). The awesome thing about each individual country is the authenticity that you’ll see in each pavilion. The materials that were used to build each section were sent from that particular country, and built by craftsmen from that country. When you visit a country the cast members working there are from that country! When you purchase something in a gift shop, guess what, it’s from that country! Oh, and don’t even get me started on the food… I could spend DAYS in the world showcase just eating!
Some countries are home to a ride along with their gift shops and restaurants, others have a movie, while some just have the shops, restaurants an other forms of entertainment. There is lots to see and do in the World Showcase, and the night show “Illuminations- Reflections of Earth” is set around the “World Showcase Lagoon” and is a celebration of all of the cultures represented.
Here are the countries you will find in the World Showcase
Again, I could do an individual blog focusing on each country alone and what they have to offer! Watch for future blogs about the world showcase!
Map of Epcot
Tomorrow I will continue to write about the last two Disney Parks, and next week will touch on the water parks at Disney!