|Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse|
Although he did not live long enough to see it open, Walt Disney bought the land and created the plan for what would become Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It opened in 1971 and grew to become the world's most visited theme parks. This Disney park is also the largest single employer in the United States. The park includes the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. It has served as a model for innovation and growth with an army of 'imagineers' constantly creating new rides and other attractions which encourage people who have visited the park to want to return.
In the 1980s Disney took their theme park contest overseas. Tokyo Disneyland was opened in 1983. It was built by the Disney Imagineers and features the Magic Kingdom. Tokyo Disneyland has Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Westernland and Adventureland, four longtime Disney concepts, along with the World Bazaar, Critter Country and Mickey's Toontown. Tokyo Disneyland is the third most visited theme park on the planet. In 2010 over 14 million people passed through its gates. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disneyland's sister park, was opened on September 4, 2001. It was the most expensive theme park ever built costing over $4 billion.
Disneyland Paris was the second Disney theme park to be built outside the United States. Located in the suburbs of Paris, France, Disneyland Paris opened in 1992. After a few setbacks, Disneyland Paris is now the most visited theme park in Europe. In March 2002 the park added Walt Disney Studios Park, a concept similar to Disney-MGM Studios. The complex contains 7 Disney themed hotels. Three of them surround Lake Disney. The parks had a combined 15 million visitors in 2010.
The Disney brand continues to grow and provide unparalleled fun and excitement for millions of people around the world.
Image credit goes to Michael Sult of St. Petersburg, FL