When Was Disney World Built?

Disney World opened for the first time in 1971.
Disney World opened for the first time in 1971.

Fans of all things Disney enjoy knowing the answers to Disney trivia such as when was Disney World built?

1971: When Was Disney World Built?

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1955, he introduced the world to the most magical place on Earth. By 1959, however, he was already looking for another location for his second theme park. He would learn a lot from his first experience, including the fact that he wanted to own more of the land around his next theme park so he could control what, if any businesses, could build up right next to him. Disney's people began searching for the ideal location, settling on Florida because like California, the park could be open year round.

In 1964, The Walt Disney Corporation began purchasing land in central Florida. They carefully kept who was purchasing the land under wraps. Eventually, a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel did his homework leading to a published story of Disney purchasing 27,000 acres of Florida real estate. The land around the purchase skyrocketed in price, making all the future investments there a costly effort. By 1968, construction was underway. Sadly, Walt would not live to see the first of the Walt Disney World theme parks open in 1971.

Disney World Vision

Walt's vision of Disney World would be more in keeping with his original vision for Disneyland. Because he planned ahead and purchased all of the surrounding land, Walt could be assured that sleaze and porn would not populate the area where families came to play. In 1982, Epcot opened to join the Magic Kingdom. Epcot married Walt's visions of the future and innovation with the fantasies and playfulness of the original park.

Disney's Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney MGM Studios) joined the Walt Disney World family of parks in 1989. Nearly a decade later, Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in 1998. As of 2009, Walt Disney World is comprised of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World Speedway and the two water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. The Disney Cruise Line also sails out of Florida making Disney cruises a part of many Disney World package deals.

Disney World Influence

Since Disney World opened in 1971, many other theme parks have moved into the Orlando area including: Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Sea World. The rapid growth of the entertainment industry makes tourism one of the biggest boons to the local economy.

Walt Disney World remains one of the most sought after destinations for families from all over the world despite the openings of Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Tokyo. Destination weddings are a huge feature of the Disney World guest services, with an entire wedding pavilion and multiple guest resorts available for locations. Receptions can be hosted in and outside of the parks.


Walt Disney envisioned a playground theme park that powered the imagination and let people run away from their troubles. Visitors to Disney World who stay in property resorts never need to leave Disney property for the duration of their vacation. For Walt, Disney World is a dream come true.

When Was Disney World Built?