How Many Acres Is Disney World In Florida?
- Patrick Hunter
When tourists arrive at Walt Disney World® Resort, it is difficult to comprehend exactly how vast the park is. Walt Disney World® Resort is officially the largest theme park, with a total size of 27,000 acres. The four theme parks include around 950 acres, with Disney’s Animal Kingdom covering 405 acres to be the biggest single theme park in the world.
How many Florida acres does Disney own?
|Slogan: The Most Magical Place on Earth|
|Industry||Theme parks Resorts|
|Founded||October 1, 1971 ; 51 years ago|
|Founders||Walt Disney Roy Disney WED Enterprises|
|Headquarters||Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida, U.S.|
|Key people||Jeff Vahle (President)|
|Number of employees||77,000+|
|Parent||Disney Parks, Experiences and Products ( The Walt Disney Company )|
The Walt Disney World Resort, usually known as Disney World or Walt Disney World, is an entertainment resort complex in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States, between Orlando and Kissimmee. The resort, which opened on October 1, 1971, is managed by The Walt Disney Company’s Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division.
Half of the almost 25,000-acre (39 sq mi; 101 km 2) land has been developed. The resort includes four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon), 31 themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues, such as the outdoor shopping center Disney Springs.
The 50th anniversary celebrations of Walt Disney began on October 1, 2021 and will continue for 18 continuous months until March 31, 2023. Walt Disney constructed the complex in the 1960s with the intent of complementing Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955.
The objective of “The Florida Project,” as it was called, was to provide a distinct vision with its own unique attractions. The original Walt Disney designs also included a ” Experimental Prototype Town of Tomorrow ” (EPCOT), a planned community intended to serve as a testbed for innovative city-living features.
Walt Disney passed away on December 15, 1966, during the complex’s first development stages. Walt Disney’s older brother, Roy O. Disney, stepped out of retirement to ensure that Walt’s greatest goal was achieved after his death, as the corporation debated whether to move through with the Disney World project.
- In lieu of the experimental plans for the planned town, the corporation began construction in 1967 on a Disneyland-like resort, forsaking the experimental conceptions for the planned community.
- The Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, followed by Epcot in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998.
(1998). Roy requested that the name of the whole complex be changed from Disney World to Walt Disney World so that people would remember that it was Walt’s vision. In 2018, Walt Disney World was the most visited holiday destination in the world, with an average of 58 million visitors each year.
- The resort is the flagship destination of Disney’s global business organization and has become a cultural icon in the United States.
- Walt Disney World will host the NBA Bubble in 2020, with the 2019–20 National Basketball Association season resuming at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
- This level of protection is otherwise only provided to American critical infrastructure (such as the Pantex nuclear weapons plant), military bases, the Washington Metropolitan Area Special Flight Rules Area, official presidential travels, and Camp David.
During the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, Disney World lay off 6,500 employees and operated at just 25% capacity after reopening. By June 2023, a statute approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on April 22, 2022, would effectively strip the Walt Disney Company of its longstanding autonomy in the region around Walt Disney World.
The Magic Kingdom’s structure and attractions are separated into six themed “lands.” The center is in front of Cinderella Castle. The park’s 107 acres (43 hectares) were interconnected by paths that led to these six regions. The Walt Disney World Railroad makes stops at Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland, and Fantasyland as it circuits the full 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) circumference of the park.
- Territories of Magic Kingdom
How many worldwide acres does Disney own?
From the October 18th, 1971 edition of TIME Actually, the majority of people are unaware of how much territory Walt Disney World contains. In reality, it is 80 times the size of Monaco, twice as large as Manhattan, and the same size as San Francisco, California! When you say that Walt Disney World is enormous, you are not exaggerating.
The Walt Disney World Resort encompasses approximately 30,000 acres, or 47 square miles, of land. Only around 1100 acres are dedicated to the four theme parks. With just 7,100 acres developed, there is a great deal of possibility for growth! But how and why did Disney acquire so much land? In the early 1950s, the current location of Disneyland, Anaheim, was a sleepy village surrounded by orange orchards.
Walt Disney initially planned to construct his new 8-acre theme park near his Burbank studios, but soon recognized that this amount of area would not suffice. Therefore, he acquired over 160 acres of orange orchards and walnut trees in Anaheim between the Santa Ana Freeway and Harbor Boulevard and constructed his “Magic Kingdom” within its boundaries (while moving 15 existing houses in the process).
- Today, Disneyland covers less than 300 acres, including Disney’s California Adventure and more lodging buildings.
- The entirety of Disneyland could fit into Epcot, according to its size.
- Unfortunately, Walt Disney did not purchase enough property surrounding Disneyland, and shortly after the park’s opening, it was surrounded by gaudy hotels, tourist souvenir stores, and eateries.
His concept of a totally enclosed family theme park was now marred by advertisements and fast-food eateries. Walt swore that if he ever constructed another theme park, he would not repeat the same error. He would be certain that they could govern the environment, which would include campsites and first-rate recreation and lodging amenities.
- At the early 1960s, Walt Disney and a team of Imagineers, including his brother Roy and General Joe Potter (can you find his name someplace in Walt Disney World? ), began a top-secret mission codenamed “Project X” (later renamed “Project Florida”) to locate a new site for a second theme park.
- First and foremost, they want a large quantity of inexpensive land! Second, they want a location near a big city with favorable weather, excellent transportation, and a well-developed infrastructure.
When Walt’s jet flew over the crossroads of I-4 and Route 192 in Florida, he reportedly knew he had reached his destination. How can Walt Disney acquire tens of thousands of acres of property without the sellers demanding outrageous prices? He doesn’t.
Ind of. Walt Disney established scores of “dummy” firms, including “M.T. Lott” (get it? Empty Lot? ), the “Latin-American Development and Managers Corporation,” and the “Reedy Creek Ranch Corporation” in order to acquire seemingly worthless pieces of land ranging from swampland to cow pastures. By May of 1965, significant land transactions were documented in Osceola and Orange Counties (just southwest of Orlando), but no one recognized (or initially assumed) that Disney was involved.
Irlo Bronson, a state legislator from Florida, controlled 8,500 acres during one of the initial acquisitions. In late June of the same year, the Orlando Sentinel published an article stating that more than 27,000 acres had lately changed ownership. Large firms like as Ford, McDonnell-Douglas, Hughes Aircraft, and Boeing, (since Kennedy Space Center was close), and yes, even Walt Disney, were said to be involved.
- In October, however, Orlando Sentinel writer Emily Bavar, whose suspicions were verified by different unresponsive responses from Disney personnel, published a piece claiming that Walt Disney was covertly behind the acquisition of all of this land.
- Once it was disclosed that Disney was behind the transactions, land values increased by more than one thousand percent! This is largely the reason why Walt purchased his first acre of property in Florida for Walt Disney World for $80 and his last for $80,000! Disney organized a news conference immediately and verified the report.
Walt, accompanied by the governor of Florida and his brother Roy, explained the $400 million project that would become Walt Disney World. Disney was granted authority to form its own independent government, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, in exchange for boosting the local economy, creating thousands of employment, and improving the ecology and infrastructure of central Florida.
This quasi-government allowed Disney, among other privileges, to adopt its own construction rules, plan its own roads and bridges, and develop its own residential neighborhood. When Walt Disney acquired the 47 square miles that would eventually become the Walt Disney World Resort, it consisted of a bleak marsh, scrub woodlands, and groves.
Massive amounts of earth have to be moved in order to make this location into the most popular tourist attraction on the planet. In addition, as much of central Florida “floats” on a body of water, a formidable obstacle presented itself. Disney had to convert this property while balancing environmental and ecological considerations.
If any portion of the water supply had been damaged or eliminated, the region would have experienced a severe ecological imbalance. The first thing Disney did in 1970 was designate a 7,500-acre Conservation Area that would never be developed. This would maintain cypress trees and provide habitat for the area’s native species.
Second, they created a system of more than 55 miles of canals and levees to regulate water levels, a feat of engineering. Instead of being created in straight lines, John Hench, a Disney Imagineer, planned this network of canals to complement the natural terrain.
- The device that regulates water levels is fully automated, requiring little oversight and minimal maintenance.
- Impressive, given that the land is about twice the size of Manhattan! Currently, Walt Disney World resides in the towns of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista.
- These two communities are administered by Disney personnel who reside “backstage” in a tiny cluster of residences on the site.
Although the permanent residential population of these communities is fairly tiny (20 in 2003), they welcome millions of families that call Bay Lake “home” for brief periods of time. Disney has acquired an additional 3,000 acres throughout the years, bringing the overall area of the Walt Disney World Resort to nearly 30,000 acres.
Disney is hardly the first amusement park operator to contest tax levies in court. What is the worth of the most popular amusement park in the world? According to a dozen lawsuits filed last month in Orange Circuit Court for the 2020 tax year, Disney contends its property tax assessments are too high for the Magic Kingdom and the other three Orlando theme parks, its hotels, and other facilities that make up the company’s sprawling Central Florida real estate portfolio.
For Disney, fighting the assessments, which the business deems “excessive,” has been an annual occurrence since Disney began seeking to reduce its property taxes for the 2015 tax year. According to the most recent round of litigation, the property assessor estimated the 2020 worth of the Magic Kingdom at $507 million, Epcot at $553 million, Hollywood Studios at $540 million, and Animal Kingdom at $437 million.
Disney produced receipts for property tax bills of $7,2 million for Epcot and $6,6 million for the Magic Kingdom in court records. In 2020, Disney paid $7 million and $5.9 million in property taxes for Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, respectively.
- Amy Mercado, the new Orange County Property Appraiser, declined to comment on the Disney lawsuits when approached for comment on Monday.
- Ana Torres, Mercado’s chief deputy property appraiser and general lawyer, stated that the office of Mercado has not yet been served.
- Not just Disney is contesting the 2020 evaluations in court.
The property appraiser’s office estimated the value of SeaWorld Orlando at $196 million, Aquatica Orlando at $49 million, and Discovery Cove at $44 million last month, prompting SeaWorld to file a lawsuit against its three Orlando attractions. UCF Hotel Venture, a collaboration between Universal and Loews Hotels, is also contesting the assessments for the Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, and Portofino Bay hotels.
- Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal stated that the assessments were high and that the appraiser did not adhere to generally accepted valuation methods, although none of the cases gave any more information about the claims.
- Monday, when contacted by Florida Politics, all three firms declined to comment.
- In the past, the then-Orange County Property Appraiser, Rick Singh, who was first elected in 2012, fought with the theme parks over the valuation of their assets.
In 2015, Singh even took SeaWorld to court when an independent board decreased the company’s taxable worth by around $10 million. Singh pledged to sue The Mouse in court, since his representative had previously told the media that Disney World was routinely underestimated by prior appraisers.
Singh stated to the Orlando Sentinel in 2016: “We hold their feet to the fire.” In the meanwhile, a Disney spokesperson said that the resort thought its property assessments were unfair and that the corporation was contesting them in order to correct the faults, as would any Orange County property owner.
Singh was a controversial politician who later faced whistleblower accusations and an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into claims of unethical conduct while in office. Singh was not indicted following the FDLE investigation, but he was defeated in the 2020 election by voters.
How much of Disney World’s land is unused?
Conservation – In the early years of Disney World, thousands of acres were designated as conservation zones, and conservation initiatives remain essential to Disney’s overall construction and improvement plans. The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) released its 2020 comprehensive plan some years ago.
- Reedy Creek is the governing body for the area comprising the Walt Disney World Resort.
- The Disney World Resort According to the RCID’s plan, 62 percent of the District’s land area is currently undeveloped or categorized as open space.
- In terms of “open space,” the plan specifies the following: “Open space land uses include Conservation (wetlands and uplands with conservation easements), Resource Management/Recreation (jurisdictional wetlands and other environmentally sensitive lands), and Water (lakes, ponds, and canals larger than ten acres).” This indicates that a SIGNIFICANT portion of the land in the district has been set aside for conservation reasons.
The figure below provides a breakdown of the existing land uses (as of 2009). Look at how much of the land is truly committed solely to conservation – 32.1%. ©Reedy Creek Improvement District Actually, the RCID mandates that “30% of the land area inside the District, outside of Wildlife Management Conservation Areas (WMCA),” remain undeveloped.
According to RCID, “This successfully protects wetlands that are not covered by conservation easements.” However, “landscaped areas within theme parks, resorts, and rights-of-way, golf courses (save for fairways), sports fields, retention ponds and water bodies under 10 acres, and the District’s quick infiltration basins” are excluded from the open space computation.
According to the existing plan, about a third of the land at Walt Disney World cannot be developed and will not be built. The picture below illustrates how much of the land is deemed “open space.” Observe how every dark green region belongs to the Conservation WMCA (wildlife management conservation area).
©Reedy Creek Improvement District As part of its efforts to protect open spaces, the RCID noted that “62,5 percent of the total land area inside the District will remain uncovered by pavement or structures.” That’s an ENORMOUS amount of land! The RCID plan also examines the District’s natural vegetative communities, which fall into two categories: wooded uplands and wetlands.
The plan then specifies that these regions constitute around 45 percent of the district. While certain wetlands in the RCID have been granted for impact and mitigation through long-term licenses, the District will safeguard from development any wetlands not covered by these permits.
Sunrise at Bay Lake The plan also includes a whole section titled “The Conservation Element.” “The Conservation Element tackles the management of the District’s natural resources, including groundwater and surface water, soil and minerals, air, and plant and animal life,” states the plan. The plan has a range of regulations outlining what Disney will undertake to conserve the wetland habitats.
The designs include references to the utilization of conservation easements, wildlife management/conservation zones, and other features. Gorilla Falls According to the plan, multiple forms of wetland exist on Disney World property, including Class I and Class II wetland types.
- Construction is forbidden inside Class I wetlands.
- In addition, the removal, invasion, or modification of Class II wetland areas is only permitted when considered “appropriate and essential” and other conditions are satisfied.
- The graphic below displays the proportion of area categorized as Class I and Class II wetland.
(Class I is dark green, Class II is light green) ©Reedy Creek Improvement District All of this indicates that a substantial amount of land in Disney World is classified as part of the Wildlife Management Conservation Area or as property that will not be developed for conservation-related reasons.