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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.[1]
TypeWholly owned subsidiary[1] of a public corporation
Founded1971; 53 years ago (1971)
United States
Key people
Bob Chapek (Chairman)[2]
  • Theme parks
  • Hotel lodging
  • Cruises
  • Timeshares
  • Guided tours
  • Travel packages
  • Attraction design
Number of employees
130,000 (2015)[3]
ParentThe Walt Disney Company
DivisionsDisneyland Resort

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.,[1] also known informally as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts or Disney Parks, is one of The Walt Disney Company's four major business segments and a subsidiary. Originally known as Walt Disney Outdoor Recreation Division then 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, which opened in 1955. In 2014, the company's theme parks hosted approximately 134 million guests, making Disney Parks the world's most visited theme park company,[4] 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[3] of Disney's total number of 180,000[5] employees as of 2015.

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


Main article: Disneyland, Inc.

In 1949, Ice Capades added a Disney segment to its performances. Costumes from those shows were used at the opening of Disneyland in 1955 with some performers hired away for Disney.[6]

Originally, entry into the theme park and travel business was a side project of Walt Disney himself. As the Disneylandia project started to become a reality, Walt Disney Productions at Walt's request set up Disneyland, Inc. (DLI) in 1951 and agreed to a design deal in March 1953 with WED Enterprises (WED), Walt's personal corporation, which then included what would now be called Disney Imagineering.[7][CDL 1] With the WED concept designs and prospectus for Disneylandia, Roy Disney in September 1953 met with TV networks in a deal for Disney-produced TV show and Disneyland investment. American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres (AB-PT) agreed to the Disneyland, Inc. investment.[7] Joining AB-PT as Disneyland investors were Walt Disney Productions (WDP), Western Publishing and Walt Disney.[CDL 2] Walt Disney Productions had the option to repurchase the Walt Disney, WED and Western Publishing shares (31%) by May 1, 1959 for $562,500.[8]

With a need for the Disneyland Hotel nearby and no funding available for Disney to build it, Walt Disney approached Jack Wrather to build the hotel who agreed.[9]

Disneyland, changed from Disneylandia, was announced in by Walt to be opened in .[CDL 3][CDL 4] On , the Disneyland park with five themed "lands" containing eighteen attractions with double the expected guests.[CDL 5] WED owned Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad opened, too.[10]

On , Disney Production exercised its options to purchase all but AB-PT's common stock outstanding. This allowed WDP to consolidate DLI into its 1957 annual accounting statements adding four months worth of net profits, $511K.[11] In June 1960, Walt Disney Productions completed the purchase of AB-PT's share of the company for nearly $7.5 million and its TV contract, and the theme park became a fully owned subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions.[CDL 6] The first Audio-Animatronic attraction, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, opened at Disneyland in 1963.[12]


Beginning in 1958 with the contracting of Economics Research Associates (ERA) to find a location for another Disney resort, Disney Productions moved beyond a single park. ERA recommended Florida; another study in 1961 named Ocala or Orlando in Florida as possible locations. In , Walt Disney made a trip to Florida for final site selection.[CDW 1]:333, 334 In 1962, Disney Productions purchased Celebrity Sports Center (opened on September 17, 1960 in Denver, Colorado) from its owners, including Walt Disney, Art Linkletter, and John Payne, to use as a staff training center for its second resort.[13] In 1963, Roy made plans to buy from 5,000 to 10,000 acres (2,000 to 4,000 ha), which was carried out in 1964, amassing 27,443 acres (11,106 ha) by .[CDW 2][CDW 3] Plans for the Florida project that would eventually become Walt Disney World were announced to the public in .[CDW 3] Legislation forming the Reedy Creek Improvement District was signed into law by Florida Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. on May 12, 1967, allowing Disney to build the infrastructure for the second park.[CDW 4] Ground breaking followed for the future Reedy Creek park on May 30.[CDW 5] In Roy O. Disney's last act as CEO in 1968, he officially named the second park Walt Disney World.[CDW 1]:357

Disneyland International was incorporated on .[14] The next year, The Oriental Land Company contacted Disney about building a theme park.[15]

In , the WED-owned Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System was installed at Disneyland.[10][16] Disneyland's first new themed land, New Orleans Square, opened in . Tomorrowland was revamped in 1967 with seven new attractions.[16] The design and architectural group and the WED Enterprise name was purchased from Walt's corporation, renamed as Retlaw Enterprise.[10]

Disney expanded into attractions at the 1964 New York World's Fair with It's a Small World[17] and costumed character appearances. When the characters proved a hit at the 1964 World's Fair, Walt wanted another outlet for "live" characters; thus, Disneyland put on Disney on Parade, a self-produced live arena show starting in 1969.[6][18] Small World and its famous song lasted two years at the fair; it was then moved to Disneyland as an expanded major attraction in 1966 and later duplicated in the other Disney theme parks.[17]

In 1965, Walt Disney won a bid with the US Forest Service to develop Mineral King as a ski resort. The Sierra Club sued in to stop the development, which was granted by the federal district judge. The Forest Service appealed and won at the appeal and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling left open to the Club the possibility of refiling. In the next round of lawsuits, the same district judge blocked the redevelopment. The injunction and the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act led to Disney backing out.[19]

$40 million worth of Walt Disney Productions Convertible Debentures were sold in to fund Disney World (WDW). The next year in February, an agreement was made with multiple labor unions, in which the unions exchanged the right to strike for regular pay increases during the first building phase.[CDW 6] By 1971, chairman of the Park Operations Committee and vice president of park operations Dick Nunis was appointed executive vice president of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.[20]

Walt Disney World began operation on , with the Magic Kingdom park at a cost of $400 million. The Magic Kingdom had seven themed lands: Main Street, Adventureland, Bear Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland.[CDW 7] Additionally, Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort campground and two hotels, Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, also opened.[CDW 8]

Disneyland expanded in 1972 with a seventh themed land, Bear Country, replacing the Indian Village of Frontierland, and later renamed Critter Country. In 1979, the Disneyland crafts and maintenance union workers went on strike for 15 days, at first rejecting and then accepting the park's contract.[16] Space Mountain opens at Disneyland in 1975.[16]

Two more hotels opened in 1973 at Disney World, The Golf Resort[21] and The Gold Resort;[CDW 9] Disney's Village Resort hotel opened in 1974.[citation needed] Disney opened the Buena Vista Club golf club in Lake Buena Vista on .[CDW0 1]:71 Lake Buena Vista Village, the shopping area, opened on [CDW0 1] and was renamed Walt Disney World Village in 1977.[22]:280 Celebrity Sports Center, Disney World's training center, was sold on March 29, 1979.[13]

At Walt Disney World, the Treasure Island nature preserve pens opened on April 8, 1974,[CDW0 2]:569 renamed Discovery Island in 1977.[CDW0 1]:126 On , the WEDway PeopleMover opened in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland.[CDW0 3] The first water park, River Country, opened on at Disney World.[CDW0 4]:22 EPCOT Center's groundbreaking occurred at Walt Disney World in May 1979.[CDW0 5]

In 1979, Oriental Land and Disney agreed to build a Japanese theme park.[15] Tokyo Disneyland opened on on 200 acres (80 ha) in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan.[23]

Walt Disney Outdoor Recreation Division[]

With the June 3, 1980 retirement of Donn Tatum as Walt Disney Productions' Chairman and CEO, three divisions were formed, including the Walt Disney Outdoor Recreation Division, of which Nunis was named division president.[CDW0 6] Disneyland started using Disney Dollars on May 5, 1987,[CDL4 1] while Disney World parks started with Epcot on October 2.[CDW1 1] A renegotiated Disneyland Japan royalty agreement in April 1988 by Chief Financial Officer Gary L. Wilson netted Disney US$723 million in cash in exchange for lower royalty payments.[CDW0 7]

The steam railroad and monorail at Disneyland were purchased from Retlaw Enterprises, formerly WED Enterprises, in 1982.[16] Bear Country was renamed Critter Country on November 23, 1988.[CDL4 2]

Tishman Company's plans for two Walt Disney World hotels were rejected by new CEO Michael Eisner on September 30, 1984, marking a change in Disney architecture. New plans for the Dolphin and Swan hotels were submitted by Michael Graves in July 1986;[CDW1 2] ground breaking took place on January 28, 1988.[CDW1 3] The first non-Disney owned hotel, Pickett Suite Resort, opened in Disney World Village on March 15, 1987.[CDW1 4]

On June 1, 1982, the Disney World monorail line was extended to EPCOT Center from the Ticket and Transportation Center.[CDW0 1]:338 The EPCOT Center theme park opened on October 1, 1982 at a building cost of US$1.2 billion, with two areas, Future World and World Showcase.[CDW0 8]:272

Plans for a Hollywood-style theme park were announced in April 1985 for the World resort at a project cost of US$300 million.[CDW1 5] In April 1985, Disney signed a licensing agreement with MGM, giving Disney the right to use the MGM name, logo and movie library for this third park.[24] Construction of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park began in 1986.[CDW1 6] Disney-MGM Studios opened on May 1, 1989[CDW1 7] along with a Pleasure Island entertainment area;[CDW1 8] its second water park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, opened on June 1.[CDW1 9] In 1983, Walt Disney World Village's name was changed to the Disney Village Marketplace.[CDW1 10] A new themed area, Mickey's Birthdayland, opened in the Magic Kingdom near Fantasyland on June 18, 1988.[CDW1 11]

In 1987, Disney and Ron Brierley's Industrial Equity (Pacific) Ltd., already a 28% owner of the Wrather Corporation, agreed to purchase the remaining Wrather Corporation stock with a 50% share each.[25][26] Wrather Corporation owned the Disneyland Hotel and operated the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose tourist attractions.[25] In , Disney purchased Industrial Equity's half of Wrather Corporation.[26]

In 1985, Premier Cruise Line became the licensed partner cruise line with Disney. This allowed Disney characters on their ships and combined cruise, hotel, and theme park packages.[27]

Walt Disney Attractions[]

The Walt Disney Outdoor Recreation Division was incorporated as Walt Disney Attractions, Inc. on August 10, 1989.[28] In January 1990, Disney CEO Eisner announced plans to expand both Disneyland (by 20% in 10 years)[CDC 1] and Disney World (WDW). The plan would have WDW add another theme park and 16 new attractions in Disney-MGM Studios.[CDW2 1] Disney and The Coca-Cola Company agreed to a 15-year marketing contract on January 25: Coca-Cola products would be exclusive in Disney theme parks, and Coca-Cola would use some Disney characters in their ads.[CDC 2] On March 16, 1990, Attractions president Nunis announced a 25-year plan for a 4,400-acre (1,800 ha) development in Osceola, Florida, with homes, shopping malls and industrial buildings.[CDC 3]

In 1990, the possibility of a West Coast version of Epcot Center was placed in development.[CDC 4] This was announced as WestCOT in 1991, to be placed at the Disneyland Resort.[16] On July 31, 1990, a new 350-acre (140 ha) ocean-themed park and resort, Port Disney, was announced for Long Island. Port was to have a cruise-ship terminal, five hotels, restaurants, and shopping area, costing $2 billion to build.[CDC 5] On December 12, 1991, Disney selected only one California project to go forward with, Disneyland Resort, which was to include the WestCOT Center, hotels, a shopping mall and a lake. [CDL5 1] Port Disney was abandoned in March 1992, and Disney canceled its leases on the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose attractions picked up from the Wrather Corporation.[CDC 6] Mickey's Toontown, a new themed land at Disneyland, opened on January 24, 1993.[CDL5 2] Disney canceled its plans for WestCOT in mid-1995 due to financial issues at Disneyland Paris and the park's projected high cost. That park was then replaced by plans for the California Adventure park, hotels and a retail district.[29]

At Disney World, Mickey's Birthdayland closed on April 22, 1991 then reopened on May 26 as Mickey's Starland.[CDW2 2]324, 329, 333 In order to expand Disney World on wetland, on April 23, 1993, the company agreed to form a 8,500-acre (3,400 ha) wilderness preserve in Florida.[CDW2 3] The Disney Inn hotel was leased starting February 1, 1994 by the US Army, then purchased on January 12, 1996, and later renamed Shades of Green.[CDW2 2]130 Planet Hollywood opened a location in Pleasure Island on December 17, 1994.[CDW1 12] The third water park at Walt Disney World, Disney's Blizzard Beach, opened on April 1, 1995.[CDW3 1] In June 1995, the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland was completely refurbished and reopened in June 1995.[CDW3 2] Taking up a corner of the Magic Kingdom parking lot, the Walt Disney World Speedway opened on November 28, 1995.[CDW3 3] In 1996, the Disney Institute opened on February 9,[CDW3 4] and the Boardwalk resort area opened on July 1.[CDW3 5] The first of the World of Disney stores opened in the Disney Village Marketplace on October 3.[CDW3 6] The Downtown Disney district opened in November 1997, combining Disney Village Marketplace and Pleasure Island.[CDW3 7] A fourth theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, opened at Disney World the week of April 20, 1998.[30]

The first Disney Vacation Club Resorts, Vacation Club Resort, opened on October 1, 1991 and was renamed Disney’s Old Key West Resort in January 1996. These vacation club hotels were operated by Disney Vacation Developments, Inc. as vacation timeshares.[CDW2 4] The first off-resort vacation club hotel was Vacation Club Resort, which opened on October 1, 1995 in Vero Beach, Florida.[CDC 7]

In 1993, Premier Cruises discontinued its partnership with Disney for one with Warner Bros. After failing to reach agreements with Carnival or Royal Caribbean, Disney announced in 1994 the formation of its own cruise line. The Disney Cruise Line launched with the Disney Magic ship in 1998 along with its exclusive resort island port of Castaway Cay.[27]

Disney reportedly had plans to build a park named Disney's America. The park was to have been located in Haymarket, Virginia; 2,300 acres (930 ha) of property were purchased from Exxon in 1993.[CDC 8] The history-themed park was announced on November 11, 1993. The plans for the 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) called for a 150-acre (61 ha) amusement park, a campground, a golf course, 2 million square feet (190,000 m2) of office/commercial space, and 2500 homes.[CDC 9] With projections indicating that the park would operate at a loss and with opposition in the press, Disney canceled the project on September 15, 1994.[CDC 10]

Walt Disney Imagineering created Disney Fair, a U.S. traveling attraction, which premiered in September 1996. The fair was poorly attended and was pulled after a few stops. Disney Entertainment Projects (Asia Pacific) Inc., a new Disney Asian Pacific subsidiary, selected a renamed fair called DisneyFest as its first project, taking it to Singapore to open there on October 30, 1997.[31]

In November 1995, Disney announced the building of Tokyo DisneySea, to be owned by Oriental along with Tokyo Disneyland.[23] Oriental and Disney signed the DisneySea licensing agreement in November 1997; the theme park was scheduled to open in 2001 at a cost of $2.6 billion.[32]

In December 1998, Walt Disney Attractions added Disneyland Paris, Disney Regional Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering to its portfolio, which already held Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland. Chairman Dick Nunis retired at the same time.[33] On October 31, 1999, Walt Disney Attractions, Inc. was merged into Walt Disney Attractions, LLC.[34]

On June 19, 1998, Disney Regional Entertainment opened its first DisneyQuest, a location-based entertainment venue, at Downtown Disney West Side in Walt Disney World.[35] The first DisneyQuest outside of a resort was opened in Chicago on June 16, 1999 with plans for more locations worldwide.[36]

In 1999, plans were announced for a new resort in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland, as a joint venture, Hong Kong International Theme Parks Ltd., between the Hong Kong Government and Disney Resorts.[37] The Disney Wonder cruise ship began operation on August 15.[38]

Disney World's Discovery Island was closed on April 8, 1999.[39]

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts[]

Walt Disney Attractions, LLC changed its name to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, LLC on April 14, 2000 then to Disney Destinations, LLC on April 25, 2006.[40] Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort opened on September 4, 2001.[41] The Walt Disney Company in selling its Japanese and US chains decided to keep the Disney Stores in Europe, along with the store in Manhattan, which was converted into a World of Disney store run by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 2004.[42]

Downtown Disney opened at the Disneyland Resort on January 12, 2001 between Disneyland and the future California Adventure. [CDC 11] Disney California Adventure Park opened at the Disneyland Resort on February 8, 2001 with three major areas: Paradise Pier, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, and the Golden State.[29] In California Adventure on October 6, 2002, A Bug's Land area opened.[CDC 12] Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo announced at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on September 12, 2009 that Walt Disney World's Fantasyland would be overhauled and increased in size by 2013.[CDC 13] A $1 billion expansion/renovation of Disney California Adventure Park was announced in 2007 to be completed by 2012.[43]

River Country water park closed on September 1, 2001.[CDC 14][44] Disney-MGM Studios is renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios in January 2008.[45] Pleasure Island's core remaining six nightclubs were closed down in late 2008 to change the area to match the family friendly make-up of the other two sections of Downtown Disney at Disney World.[46]

Walt Disney Studios Park opened March 16, 2002 as the second theme park at the renamed Disneyland Resort Paris. The first park was renamed Disneyland Park (DLP.[CDC 15] DLP Paris opened in August 2000 Toy Story Playland with three attractions.[47]

Construction on Hong Kong Disneyland began on January 12, 2003[48] then opened September 12, 2005.[CDC 16] Groundbreaking occurred at Hong Kong Disneyland in December 2009 for a three land expansion: Mystic Point, Grizzly Gulch, and Toy Story Land.[CDC 17]

In June 2005, Disney Magic made the first cruise outside of the Caribbean, by moving its port for the summer to Los Angeles with a Mexican Riviera schedule.[38] Disney Cruise Line ordered a new 2 ships class from Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany by February 22, 2007.[38][CDC 18] The Magic in May 2007 transferred its home port to Barcelona, Spain for the lines' first summer Mediterranean itinerary then returned to its permanent port in September.[38]

The Chicago DisneyQuest location was closed in September 2001.[49] Disney Parks started the Adventures by Disney tour vacation business in 2005.[50] Disney entered a float, "The Most Magical Celebration on Earth", into the 2006 Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade.[CDC 19]

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 joined the other resorts not associated with a theme park, such as Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.[51]

With the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration starting on October 1, 2000, sanctioned Disney Pin Trading was started.[CDC 20] In 2001, the Themed Entertainment Association gave Disney Parks and Resorts the Thea Award for Breakthrough Innovation for the park's FastPass system.[CDC 21]

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide[]

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. was incorporated on September 29, 2008[1] and took over the parks and resorts business segment. Disney Parks and Resorts reorganized in early 2009 which included lay offs in all units due to recession induced falling attendance. 600 U.S. managers in January were offered buy out packages. Worldwide Operations was formed under President Al Weiss in 2009. Worldwide Operations would take over various back office functions previously performed by both Disney World and Disneyland including training, procurement, menu planning and merchandise development. While, its Walt Disney Imagineering subsidiary combined its three development units.[52]

California Adventure completed its overhaul in 2012 adding two new lands: Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. The overhaul also included a re-themed of several attractions plus a pair of classic dark rides.[43]

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the Chinese government to build a Disneyland resort in Shanghai's Pudong district.[53] The resort was expected to open on June 16, 2016.[54]

Star Wars Land 14 acres (5.7 ha) themed land for both Disneyland park and Disney's Hollywood Studios announced at the D23 Expo on August 15, 2015.[55] Construction began at both locations on April 14, 2016.[56]

The New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom opens on December 6, 2012. It is the biggest upgrade to the theme park since its opening in 1971.[57] Announced along with its new Star Wars Land expansion at the D23 Expo on August 15, 2015, Hollywood Studios was slated to have a version of Toy Story Land.[58]

The Disney Dream began service in January 2011 and Disney Cruise Line (DCL) announced the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy to be March 31, 2012. The Dream deployment allowed Disney Wonder to be permanently stationed at Port of Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera cruises,[59] but initial served in the short Alaska cruise season.[27] Magic moved to New York for Canadian or Bahama cruises starting May 25, 2012.[CDC 22] DCL's Magic was refitted in late 2013.[60]

The first of three expansion theme lands at Hong Kong Disneyland, Toy Story Land, opens on November 18, 2011.[61] Grizzly Gulch opens at Hong Kong Disneyland on July 13, 2012.[62] The final land of this expansion, Mystic Point, opened at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17, 2013.[63]

On February 5, 2015, it was announced that Tom Staggs had been promoted to Disney Company Chief operating officer but would continue as chairman of Parks and Resorts until his successor was named.[64] On February 23, 2015, Robert Chapek was named chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts effective that day.[2]

On April 29, 2015, The Walt Disney Company, through subsidiary, Carousel Holdings EAT LLC, has purchased Carousel Inn & Suites hotel in Anaheim, from Good Hope International for $32 million. The purchase was considered a strategic purchase; the hotel would not be considered a part of the Disneyland hotel portfolio and would operate independently.[65]

On August 16, 2016, the Orange County Register reported that Disney would be closing the Carousel Inn in October 2016 in preparation for razing it as part of plans to construct a new parking structure, transit plaza, and pedestrian bridge over Harbor Boulevard.[66]

Disney resorts[]

Disneyland Resort[]

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).

Walt Disney World Resort[]

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, Disney Springs 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 27,258 acres of land.

Other venues:

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Tokyo Disney Resort[]

Main article: Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983, with Tokyo Disneyland. 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: Ikspiari

Disneyland Paris[]

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 seven Disney resort hotels. It is maintained and managed by Euro Disney S.C.A., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (76.71%) whose stock is traded on Euronext. Its properties sit on 4,940 acres (20.0 km2), listed below, and are divided into parks and shopping centers.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort[]

Main article: 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 Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre, 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[]

Main article: Shanghai Disney Resort

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the central government of China to build a Disney theme park, Shanghai Disneyland 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.[67] The resort opened on June 16, 2016.[54] A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 7, 2011.[68]

Other ventures[]

  • Disneyland International, Inc. oversees foreign projects and was previously based (c.1987) at a French Quarter mansion located atop the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland Park which became an art gallery.[69]
  • Three World of Disney retail stores managed by the Parks and Resorts merchandise division.
  • Disney Regional Entertainment, defunct subsidiary that attempted local based entertainment concept chains, DisneyQuest, Club Disney and ESPN Zone.
  • 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.

Disney Cruise Line[]

Main article: Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1995. Its fleet comprises four ships: Disney Magic (launched 1998), Disney Wonder (1999), Disney Dream (2011), and Disney Fantasy (2012).[38] In early 2016, Disney Cruise Line announced two new ships that will be completed in 2021 and 2023. The two ships, as yet unnamed, are described as larger than Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy but with an equivalent number of staterooms. Each ship was designed and built in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering. Disney Cruise Line serves the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, and Alaskan cruises market.

Disney Sports Enterprises[]

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Disney Sports Enterprises
FormerlyDisney Sports Attractions
FounderReggie Williams.[70]
Key people
Maribeth Bisienere (senior vice president)[71]
Servicesroad race
sports events
DivisionsESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disney Sports Enterprises, formerly called Disney Sports Attractions,[72] is the unit of Disney Parks and Resorts for Disney's sports functions and is made up of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the runDisney program.[73]

DSE background[]

Disney Golf facilities date back to the opening of Disney World with two golf course, the Palm and Magnolia courses. At the time, those courses started hosting the Walt Disney World Open Invitational, an annual PGA tour event.[74]

In 1994, Disney held the Walt Disney World Marathon, its first road race added addition races later.[71] Disneyland Marathon and 5K were run in 1995 three weeks after the LA Marathon on March 26, 1995.[75]

In 1995, Disney World had IMS Events, Inc. build the Walt Disney World Speedway.[76] Disney's Wide World of Sports opened in 1997 under executive Reggie Williams.[70]

DSE history[]

By 1998, Williams was named Vice President of Disney Sports Attractions, overseeing a newly created sports & recreation division.[77] The first 10K Disney Classic race on October 3, 1999, kicked off Disney World's 15-month Millennium Celebration.[78] On March 30, 2003, Sports Attractions held the first Disney Inline Marathon.[79]

runDisney races[80][81]
Race weekend month location Inaugurated
Disney World Marathon January Disney World 1994[71]
Princess Half-Marathon February 2009[82]
Star Wars Half Marathon
— The Dark Side
April 2016[82]
Wine & Dine Half-Marathon November
Tinker Bell Half-Marathon May Disneyland
Disneyland Half-Marathon September
(Labor Day weekend)
Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon November 2014[71]
Star Wars Half Marathon
— The Light Side
January 2015[71]
Disneyland Paris Half Marathon September Disneyland Paris 2016[71]

On November 21, 2007, Reggie Williams retired as vice president of Disney Sports Attractions.[70] His replacement was named on January 3, 2008, when Ken Potrock was promoted to Senior Vice President, Disney Sports Enterprises.[72] On February 25, 2010, Disney's Wide World of Sports was renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with some upgrades and new facilities.[83]

On September 25, 2011, Disney started its lease of its five Disney World golf courses (Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge, and Oak Trail) to Arnold Palmer Golf Management to operate for 20 years while splitting the revenue. As part of the deal, Arnold Palmer would redesign the Palm course. The Orlando market for golf had a glut of course from the build boom then bust making profitability a challenge for any golf course. Disney hoped that Palmer's involvement and "Palmer Advantage" membership club would draw more attention to Disney's course. With the Osprey Ridge course sold to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to build a hotel, which was delayed until 2014, the golf management company would run the course until hotel construction begins. While another golf course, the Eagle Pines, was closed several years ago to make way for a residential housing subdivision development called Golden Oak being built in 2011.[74]

In January 2013, Ken Petrock was promoted to Disney Vacation Club and Adventure by Disney Senior VP & GM while Tom Wolber, Disney Cruise Line Senior VP/Operations, was promoted to replace Petrock at Disney Sports.[73] In late June 2015, the Walt Disney World Speedway was shut down.[76]


Founded by Walt Disney in 1955, each new employee at a Disney theme park is trained at a Disney University. Before classes and on-the-job training specific to the job they will be performing in the park, each employee attends the "Disney Traditions" course where they learn of the philosophies and history of Disney's guest services.[84][85]

Abandoned and misreported concepts[]

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.[86]

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.

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 New South Wales Government.[87]

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.[88]

Future projects[]

It was reported in August 2014 that beginning in 2015, Disney planned to expand the presence of Star Wars throughout their theme parks (although unclear which ones) and 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 released Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of a new trilogy of films.[89][better source needed]

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 was expected to begin by 2013. Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise.[90] The expansion is planned to open in 2017.[91]

Both Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris have room for future expansion.[92] 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.[93]

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. Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney are barred from having Marvel characters in its parks, due to contractual obligations to Universal and Universal's use of Marvel characters in the region.[94] However, this only includes characters Universal is currently using, other characters in their "families" (X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc.), the villains associated with said characters, and the Marvel name.[95] This clause has allowed Walt Disney World to have meet and greets, merchandise, attractions and more with other Marvel characters not associated with the characters at Islands of Adventures, such as Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy[96][97] as well as Baymax and Hiro from Big Hero 6.[98]

A Star Wars-themed section of Legoland California's Miniland USA opened in 2011, with a similar version opening at Legoland Florida[99] in November 2012, just weeks after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.


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External links[]

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