Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
|Wholly owned subsidiary|
|Headquarters||Lake Buena Vista, Florida, US|
|Bob Chapek (Chairman)|
Number of employees
|Parent||The Walt Disney Company|
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, ahead of the second-most visited rival Merlin Entertainments. It is by far the largest Disney business segment by employee headcount, with about 130,000 of Disney's total number of 180,000 employees as of 2015.
- 1 History
- 2 Disney resorts
- 3 Disney Cruise Line
- 4 Disney Regional Entertainment
- 5 Other ventures
- 6 Abandoned and misreported concepts
- 7 Past projects
- 8 Future projects
- 9 Properties outside Disney parks
- 10 References
- 11 External links
- 1953 – Company founder and namesake Walt Disney retains economist Harrison Price of the Stanford Research Institute to analyze sites for an amusement park.
- 1954 – Plans for Disneyland in Anaheim, California are released to the public.
- 1955 – Disneyland is dedicated by Walt Disney on July 17 and opens on July 18. Disneyland Hotel opens on October 5 in Anaheim, California.
- 1958 - Alice in Wonderland opens at Disneyland.
- 1959 – Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, and the Disneyland Monorail System, the first major expansion of Disneyland, opens on June 14.
- 1963 – Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room opens at Disneyland.
- 1965 – Plans for the Florida Project (what would become Walt Disney World) are released to the public in November. Plans for Disney World and EPCOT
- 1966 – It's a Small World opens at Disneyland on May 28. New Orleans Square opens at Disneyland on July 24. Walt Disney dies on December 15.
- 1967 – Pirates of the Caribbean opens at Disneyland on March 18. Construction on Walt Disney World begins.
- 1969 – The Haunted Mansion opens at Disneyland on August 9.
- 1971 – Walt Disney World begins operation on October 1 with Magic Kingdom, two resort hotels, and a campground. The complex is dedicated on October 25 by Roy O. Disney.
- 1972 – At Disneyland, Bear Country opens March 4 and the Main Street Electrical Parade debuts June 17.
- 1974 – Discovery Island opens at Walt Disney World.
- 1975 – Space Mountain opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
- 1976 – The first water park at Walt Disney World, Disney's River Country, opens on June 20.
- 1978 – Plans for Walt Disney World's second theme park, Epcot, are released to the public.
- 1979 – Construction begins on EPCOT Center.
- 1982 – EPCOT Center opens October 1.
- 1983 – The first international Disney resort and theme park, Tokyo Disney Resort and Tokyo Disneyland, open in Urayasu, Japan, on April 15.
- 1984 – Michael Eisner is named Disney's CEO and begins an aggressive expansion of Disney's theme parks division.
- 1985 – Disney begins a licensing agreement with MGM, giving Disney the right to use the MGM name and logo for the third park at Walt Disney World.
- 1987 – Star Tours debuts at Disneyland.
- 1988 – Construction on Euro Disney Resort begins. Bear Country is renamed Critter Country at Disneyland. Norway and Morocco are added to the World Showcase in Epcot. Disney acquired the Disneyland Hotel, previously owned by Wrather Corporation.
- 1989 – Walt Disney World's third theme park, Disney-MGM Studios, opens on May 1, and its second water park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, opens on June 1. Splash Mountain opens on July 17 at Disneyland.
- 1990 – Espace Euro Disney opens to show the public a preview of Euro Disney.
- 1991 – Disney announces plans for a second park at Disneyland Resort called WestCOT, which would be a park modeled after EPCOT at Walt Disney World
- 1992 – The second international Disney theme park, Euro Disneyland, opens as part of Euro Disney Resort in Marne-la-Vallée, France on April 12. Fantasmic! opens at Disneyland on May 13.
- 1993 – Mickey's Toontown opens at Disneyland on January 24.
- 1994 – Euro Disney Resort and its theme park, Euro Disneyland, are both renamed Euro Disneyland Paris in June, and then Disneyland Paris in October.
- 1995 – Disney announces plans for Walt Disney World's fourth theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom. The third water park at Walt Disney World, Disney's Blizzard Beach, opens on April 1. Disney cancels plan for WestCOT due to financial issues at Disneyland Paris.
- 1996 – Walt Disney World celebrates its 25th anniversary on October 1.
- 1997 – Disney announces Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort.
- 1997 – Festival Disney, the shopping, dining and entertainment complex at Disneyland Paris, is renamed Disney Village.
- 1998 – Disney announces a five-year plan to open a new theme park at each of its resorts across the globe, beginning with the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom on April 22. Submarine Voyage closes at Disneyland on September 9. The Disney Magic begins operation on July 8.
- 1999 – Plans are announced for a new resort in Hong Kong. The Disney Wonder cruise ship begins operation on August 15.
- 2000 – Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel opens at the Disneyland Resort on December 15.
- 2001 – Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa opens at the Disneyland Resort on January 2. Downtown Disney opens at the Disneyland Resort on January 12. Disney California Adventure Park opens at the Disneyland Resort on February 8. Tokyo DisneySea opens at Tokyo Disney Resort on September 4. River Country closes on November 2. "100 Years of Magic" Celebration begins to commemorate Walt Disney's 100th Birthday.
- 2002 – Walt Disney Studios Park opens March 16 as the second theme park at the renamed Disneyland Resort Paris. The first park is renamed Disneyland Park.
- 2003 – Construction on Hong Kong Disneyland begins. "100 Years of Magic" Celebration ends and "Where Magic Lives" campaign begins.
- 2004 - In Disney California Adventure Park, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opens on May 5.
- 2005 – "Where Magic Lives" campaign ends. Disneyland celebrates its 50th anniversary as part of a worldwide jubilee among all Disney's theme parks worldwide; Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opens September 12 on Lantau Island, Hong Kong;
- 2006 – The Happiest Homecoming on Earth ends, and the Year of a Million Dreams promotional period at Disneyland and Walt Disney World begins.
- 2007 – The Year of a Million Dreams promotion is extended another year. A $1 billion expansion/renovation of Disney California Adventure Park is announced to be completed by 2012. Disneyland Resort Paris celebrates its 15th anniversary. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opens at Disneyland Park on June 11.
- 2008 – Disneyland Resort Paris' 15th birthday is extended and Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates its 25th anniversary. Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM Studios is renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios. Two new cruise ships are announced for the Disney Cruise Line.
- 2009 – Year of a Million Dreams ends and What Will You Celebrate? promotion begins at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Disney announces a new resort, Shanghai Disneyland, expected to open in 2015 on the Chinese mainland, and announces that the Disney Cruise Line's new ships will be called Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Disney lays off 1,500 cast members. Disney announces plans for a Fantasyland expansion for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom to begin construction January 2010 and finish in phases. Phase 1 is completed in 2012, while Phase 2 is to be completed in 2013.
- 2010 – Give a Day, Get a Disney Day campaign promotes volunteerism in the U.S. Disneyland Resort celebrates its 55th anniversary. Walt Disney World introduces its Summer Magic campaign, and the Main Street Electrical Parade reappears at Magic Kingdom. Disneyland Resort Paris changes its name back to Disneyland Paris and begins construction of a new land in Walt Disney Studios Park: Toy Story Playland, which opened in August 2010. The Disney Dream cruise ship finishes construction ahead of its maiden voyage on January 26, 2011.
- 2011 – What Will You Celebrate? promotion ends. Let the Memories Begin marketing campaign begins, using new enhanced video projection technology to project images of park guests on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and on "It's a small world" at Disneyland Park. Disneyland celebrates Soundsational Summer promotion. The Disney Dream begins service in late January and Disney Cruise Line announces the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy to be March 31, 2012. Groundbreaking for Shanghai Disneyland takes place on April 8. Walt Disney World celebrates its 40th anniversary on October 1. Toy Story Land opens at Hong Kong Disneyland on November 18. World of Color opens in Disney California Adventure.
- 2012 – Cars Land opens at Disney California Adventure on June 15. Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort held "One More Disney Day" where Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park stayed open for 24 hours. On March 2, the Disney Fantasy was opened in New York City. The New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom opens on December 6. It is the biggest upgrade to the theme park since its opening in 1971. On October 1, Epcot celebrates its 30th anniversary. The Test Track attraction reopens after an 8 month reimagining at Epcot. Grizzly Gulch opens at Hong Kong Disneyland on July 14.
- 2013 – Mystic Point opens at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17. Disney Magic undergoes a six week major refurbishment in June and July 2013.
- 2014 – The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy opens at Walt Disney Studios in Paris.
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. On February 23, 2015, Robert Chapek was named chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts effective that day.
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:
Walt Disney World Resort
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.
Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (includes Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas)
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (includes The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
- Disney's Contemporary Resort (includes Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort)
- Disney's Polynesian Village Resort (includes Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows)
- Disney's BoardWalk Inn (includes Disney's BoardWalk Villas)
- Disney's Beach Club Resort (includes Disney's Beach Club Villas)
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge (includes The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge)
- Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Disney's Old Key West Resort
- Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
- Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
- Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney's Pop Century Resort
- Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney's All-Star Music Resort
- Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney's Art of Animation Resort
- Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
- Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort
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:
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:
Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:
- Disneyland Paris Hotel
- Disney's Hotel New York
- Disney's Newport Bay Club
- Disney's Sequoia Lodge
- Disney's Hotel Cheyenne
- Disney's Hotel Santa Fe
- Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
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).
Shanghai Disney Resort
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. The resort is expected to open in 2016. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 7, 2011.
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
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.
- Three World of Disney retail stores managed by the Parks and Resorts merchandise division.
- Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program that includes several themed resorts within Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort plus Disney's Aulani Resort, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
- Adventures by Disney, a program of all-inclusive, guided vacation tour packages offered at predominantly non-Disney sites around the world.
Abandoned and misreported concepts
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.
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 from 1998 to 2001. Many of the Port Disney concepts went on to be part of Tokyo DisneySea.
Disney had plans to build a Disneyland in Sydney, Australia between 2007 and 2008 with the proposed name "Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour", but the concept was abandoned due to mixed responses in the NSW Government.
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.
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.
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.
Announced future projects
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.
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.
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 a themed land. While no specific plans or attractions were announced, construction on the new area is expected to begin by 2013. Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise. The expansion is planned to open in 2017. 
Potential future projects
Both Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris have room for future expansion. 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.
Properties outside Disney parks
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.
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