Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Wholly owned subsidiary
Industry Travel
Founded 1971
Headquarters Lake Buena Vista, Florida[1], US
Key people
Bob Chapek (Chairman)[2]
  • theme parks
  • hotels
  • cruises
  • timeshares
  • guided tours
  • travel packager
  • design
Parent The Walt Disney Company
Website disneyparks.disney.go.com

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, also known as Disney Parks, is one of The Walt Disney Company's five major business segments. Originally known as Walt Disney Attractions, it is responsible for the conception, building, and managing of the company's theme parks and vacation resorts, as well as a variety of additional family-oriented leisure enterprises. It was founded in 1971 after the opening of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, joining the original Disneyland in California. In 2013, the company's theme parks hosted approximately 132.5 million guests, making Disney Parks the world's most visited theme park company,[3] ahead of the second-most visited rival Merlin Entertainments.

The chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is Bob Chapek, formerly president of Disney Consumer Products. Chapek reports to Disney CEO Bob Iger and COO Thomas O. Staggs.









On February 5, 2015, it was announced that Tom Staggs had been promoted to COO but would continue as chairman of Parks and Resorts until his successor was named.[5] On February 23, 2015, Robert Chapek was named chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts effective that day.[2]

Disney resorts[edit]

Disneyland Resort[edit]

Main article: Disneyland Resort

Disneyland was founded as a single park by Walt Disney and opened on July 17, 1955 in Anaheim, California. Disneyland Hotel opened to the public on October 5, 1955. In 2001, the site expanded significantly and was renamed the Disneyland Resort with the opening of Disney California Adventure Park on February 8, 2001, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa on January 2, 2001, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel on December 15, 2000, and Downtown Disney on January 12, 2001. Disneyland was rebranded Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the larger resort complex. The resort focuses on Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters and occupies 500 acres (2.0 km2).


Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

Resort hotels:

Walt Disney World Resort[edit]

Main article: Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Resort opened October 1, 1971 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, with the Magic Kingdom theme park and three resort hotels. It expanded with the opening of Epcot in 1982, Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon in 1989, Disney's Blizzard Beach in 1995, Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1998, Downtown Disney retail, dining, and entertainment complex, eight golf courses, and 18 new resort hotels. The resort 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, 21 resort hotels, eight golf courses and several additional recreational activities, and covers 30,080 acres of land.


Water parks:

Other venues:

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

Resort hotels:

Tokyo Disney Resort[edit]

Main article: Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983. On September 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 lodging.


Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

Resort hotels:

Disneyland Paris[edit]

Main article: Disneyland Paris

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 lodging:


Other parks:

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:

Resort hotels:

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort[edit]

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, 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. 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).


Other park:

Resort hotels:

Shanghai Disney Resort[edit]

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the central government of China to build a Disney theme park in Shanghai's Pudong district. "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.[6] The resort is expected to open in 2015. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 7, 2011.[7]


Disney Cruise Line[edit]

Main article: Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1995. Its fleet comprises four ships: Disney Magic (launched 1998)(re-imagined 2013), Disney Wonder (1999), Disney Dream (2011), and Disney Fantasy (2012). Each ship was designed and built in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Disney Cruise Line offers three, four and five-night cruises in the Bahamas; seven-night Alaskan cruises; seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises; and seven-night Caribbean cruises. The Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries include a stop at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. In 2012, Disney Cruises would depart from Port Canaveral, Los Angeles, Seattle, Galveston and New York.



Disney Regional Entertainment[edit]

Disney Regional Entertainment was the division of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts which developed and operated unique concepts. It previously operated the Club Disney, DisneyQuest and ESPN Zone concepts. The only remaining DisneyQuest, in Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort, is now operated directly by the resort. The only two remaining ESPN Zone restaurants in Los Angeles and Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort are operated by third parties.


  • ESPN Zone, a chain of sports-themed restaurants.
  • Club Disney, a now-closed chain of children's entertainment centers.
  • DisneyQuest, an indoor arcade with traditional and virtual reality experiences.

Other ventures[edit]

Abandoned concepts[edit]

Disney had plans to build Walt Disney's Riverfront Square in St. Louis. In July 1965, Disney cancelled the project.

In the 1960s, Disney initiated a plan for a ski resort at Mineral King in California. Opposition from environmental groups led by the Sierra Club led to a temporary court injunction in 1969 and legal battles through the 1970s. The project's planning and scale changed multiple times, and in 1978 Mineral King was annexed into Sequoia National Park, ending any possibility of developing a ski resort.[8]

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 persuaded Disney to abandon the idea in 1994. On September 28, 1994, Michael Eisner announced that Disney was cancelling its plans to build Disney's America after a bruising national media fight with Protect Historic America and aggressive local opposition in Virginia from Protect Prince William and other citizen groups.

Prior to building Disney's California Adventure, Disney proposed Westcot Center for an expansion of Disneyland. When Anaheim and local leaders balked at the ambitious expansion, Disney briefly looked to nearby Long Beach, California with a concept called Port Disney. Eventually, Anaheim lured Disney back and Disney's California Adventure was built. Many of the Port Disney concepts went on to be part of Tokyo DisneySea.

Disney had plans to build a Disneyland in Sydney, Australia with the proposed name "Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour", but the concept was abandoned due to mixed responses in the NSW Government.[9]

Future projects[edit]

Asian and European projects[edit]

Both Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris have room for future expansion.[10]

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the Chinese government to build a Disneyland resort in Shanghai's Pudong district.[11] The resort is expected to open in Fall 2015.[7]

In early January 2011, conflicting reports emerged regarding Disney's involvement in a proposed entertainment complex in Haifa, Israel, whose plans include a small (30,000 square meter) amusement park scheduled to open in 2013. The project will be partially funded by Shamrock Holdings, a Disney-affiliated investment firm. In the wake of reports from Israeli business newspaper Globes and industry newswire Amusement Management that Disney itself would be involved in the project's development, a spokesperson for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts clarified to Fast Company that Disney did not have any plans to involve itself in the building of the park.[12]

Hong Kong Disneyland expansion[edit]

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 has received three new lands: Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. Construction began in late 2009 and took 5 years to complete. The park features a total of seven themed lands after the completion of all the new additions.[13]

American projects[edit]

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.[14]

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. The 800-unit property, named Aulani, opened in 2011 and joins the other resorts not associated with a theme park, such as Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.[15]

In September 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans to partner with filmmaker James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company, along with 20th Century Fox, to develop theme park attractions based on Cameron's Avatar film franchise, with the first installation planned for Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in the form of an Avatar-based section of the park. While no specific plans or attractions were announced, construction on the new area is expected to begin by 2013.[16] Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise.[17]

It was reported in March 2013 that Disney will transform Downtown Disney, at Walt Disney World, into a re-imagined shopping district called Disney Springs. This project will open in phases and is expected to be completed by 2016.[18]

It was reported in August 2014 that beginning in 2015, Disney plans to expand the presence of Star Wars throughout their theme parks (also it is unclear which ones) and it could also include an entire theme park area dedicated to the film franchise. Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger indicated that plans were to match what Universal Studios Florida did when they expanded and added a Harry Potter themed section to their park. In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm, which includes the rights to the Star Wars franchise and Indiana Jones franchise (which is also expected to see an increase in presence at the theme parks) and in December 2015 Disney will release Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of a new trilogy of films.[19]

Properties outside Disney parks[edit]

Due to its acquisitions of Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, some Disney-owned franchises are represented in its competitors' parks. Marvel Super Hero Island, a themed land featuring characters and settings from Marvel Comics, has operated at Universal Orlando Resort's Islands of Adventure park since 1999. A Star Wars-themed section of Legoland California's Miniland USA opened in 2011, with a similar version set to open at Legoland Florida in November 2012, just weeks after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.


  1. ^ "Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Company Profile". Yahoo Finance. Yahoo. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Barnes, Brooks (February 23, 2015). "Disney Names Robert Chapek Chairman for Theme Parks". New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.teaconnect.org/pdf/TEAAECOM2013.pdf
  4. ^ Richter, Paul (July 8, 1990). "Disney's Tough Tactics". Los Angeles Times. p. 3. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Disney Promotes Tom Staggs to No. 2 Post, Positioning Him as Iger’s Successor". Variety.com. Variety Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ "UPDATE 4-Disney takes China stride as Shanghai park gets nod". Reuters. November 4, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Disney To Bring Magic Kingdom To Shanghai". Sky News. November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2010. .
  8. ^ Dilsaver, L.M.; Tweed, W.C. (1990). "New Directions and a Second Century (1972–1990)". Challenge of the Big Trees. Sequoia Natural History Association. 
  9. ^ "Walt Disney Company proposed a Disney Resort in Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Disney in talks to open theme park in Shanghai – report". AFX News Limited. February 7, 2006. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Shanghai Disneyland Project Gets Approval". Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ Ungerleider, Neal. "Disney to Open Theme Park in Israel?" Fast Company. January 5, 2011.
  13. ^ "Announcing Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Portfolio.com, Top Executive Profiles, Robert A. Iger http://www.portfolio.com/resources/executive-profiles/39787
  15. ^ Schaefers, Allison (October 4, 2007). "Aloha, Disney". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  16. ^ "AVATAR Coming To Disney Parks « Disney Parks Blog". Disneyparks.disney.go.com. September 20, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ "'Avatar' Land Coming To Disney World | WESH Home – WESH Home". Wesh.com. October 18, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Announcing Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks Blog. 
  19. ^ "Disney to bring more 'Star Wars' attractions to its theme parks". Yahoo.com. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]