The Walt Disney World Resort, usually known as Walt Disney World or just Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida. It opened on October 1, 1971 and, according to Forbes, is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with roughly 52.5 million visitors every year.
Disney World houses 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, four theme parks and two water parks. Other facilities include four golf courses, a camping resort and a residential area, along with other recreational and entertainment venues. Covering 27,258 acres, it is twice the size of Manhattan.
Disney World was designed and developed by Walt Disney himself in the 1960s in order to supplement Disneyland, a similar complex located in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Despite marketing claims and popular misconceptions, the Florida resort is not within Orlando city limits, but is actually about 34 km southwest of downtown Orlando. The property does include the cities of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake.
When visiting Disney World, guests with a Disney Resort reservation can be transported to their resort from Orlando International Airport using the complimentary Disney Magical Express service.
It has been known that Disney spends more than $100 million every year on maintenance at the Magic Kingdom. In 2003, $6 million were spent on renovating its Crystal Palace restaurant. The streets in the parks are steam cleaned every night and there is even a tree farm on site so that when a mature tree needs to be replaced, a thirty-year-old tree will be available to replace it.