Disney Park History Archived Content
Current website: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/
For a number of years the Disney Park History website welcomed their visitors with: You're at the Happiest Place for Attraction and Park History Explore our pages to learn about the attractions, theme parks and resorts of Disney World and Disneyland.
Content is from the site's archived pages.
The current website for Disney Parks is found at: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/ where you will find the most up to date information.
Lifetime Disney Lover: Margarie Wilson
I have visited every one of the Disney Theme Parks, including some that you may not know about. But I remember best a lesson I learned about myself. I was in Orlando with my fam wandering around enjoying the excitement and the crowds. A woman walked up to me and showed me a small box of what looked like diamond rings. She said they were not diamonds, that this box held a small collection of gorgeous cz rings worth way more than the $25 bucks she was selling them for. My wife and kids wanted me to do it, but I did not know what a cz ring was and didn't trust the seller. Several days later, when I got home I looked up "cz rings" and "cubic zirconia rings" to see what they were. I was shocked at how much those rings I turned down were worth. I found a webstore that carried some of the same rings and the small collection of rings was worth ten times the $25! So my wife and kids are reminding me of my financial folly. But money is not the best measure of wisdom. In fact buying that box of rings could have me contributing to a crime - were the rings stolen and would I have been told so if they were? I learned a reinforcing lesson in Disney World on that day - trust my instincts.
Walt's original theme park opened in the summer of 1955 in Anaheim, California to an over crowded, crazy day. It is said Walt conceived of the idea for the park while sitting on a park bench watching his daughters ride a carousel. Walt then envisioned an amusement park where both parents and children to could play, ride and explore together. So one year after purchasing and leveling an orange grove, and employing all the movie magic know how possible Disneyland came to life. Each area of Disneyland celebrated something Walt enjoyed: Main Street U.S.A. hearkened back to the small town U.S.A. Walt grew up in; Tomorrowland imbodied Walt's love of innovation and future possibilty; Fantasyland brought his animated films to life; Frontierland celebrated the Western Frontier and its many legends; while Adventureland represented jungle exploration.
Walt said,"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."
Not only has Disneyland expanded to include lands such as New Orleans Square and ToonTown, but currently there are five Disneyland-style theme parks throughout the world: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Park Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland.
Walt's dedication speech sums it up well, "To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
Disney Park History
Walt Disney--The Man
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 to Elias Disney, of Irish-Canadian descent, and Flora Call Disney, of German-American descent, in Chicago's Hermosa community area at 2156 N. Tripp Ave. Walt Disney's ancestors had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny in Ireland. Arundel Elias Disney, great-grandfather of Walt Disney, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1801 and was a descendant of Robert d'Isigny, originally of France but who travelled to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. The d'Isigny name became Anglicised as 'Disney' and the family settled in the village now known as Norton Disney, south of the city of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire.
His father Elias Disney moved from Huron County, Ontario to the United States in 1878, seeking first for gold in California but finally farming with his parents near Ellis, Kansas until 1884. He worked for Union Pacific Railroad and married Flora Call on January 1, 1888 in Acron, Florida. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1890, where his brother Robert lived. For most of his early life, Robert helped Elias financially. In 1906, when Walt was four, Elias and his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where his brother Roy had recently purchased farmland. While in Marceline, Disney developed his love for drawing. One of their neighbors, a retired doctor named "Doc" Sherwood, paid him to draw pictures of Sherwood's horse, Rupert. He also developed his love for trains in Marceline, which owed its existence to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which ran through town. Walt would put his ear to the tracks in anticipation of the coming train. Then he would look for his uncle, engineer Michael Martin, running the train.
The Disneys remained in Marceline for four years, before moving to Kansas City in 1911. (Its is said that Main Street USA is Walt's version of the town of Maracline.) There, Walt and his younger sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School where he met Walter Pfeiffer. The Pfeiffers were theatre aficionados, and introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Soon, Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers' than at home. During this time he attended Saturday courses as a child at the Kansas City Art Institute While they were living in Kansas City, Walt and Ruth Disney were also regular visitors of Electric Park, 15 blocks from their home (Disney would later acknowledge the amusement park as a major influence of his design of Disneyland).
In 1917, Elias acquired shares in the O-Zell jelly factory in Chicago and moved his family back there. In the fall, Disney began his freshman year at McKinley High School and began taking night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. Disney became the cartoonist for the school newspaper. His cartoons were very patriotic, focusing on World War I. Disney dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen to join the Army, but the army rejected him because he was underage.
After his rejection from the army, Walt and one of his friends decided to join the Red Cross. Soon after he joined The Red Cross, Walt was sent to France for a year, where he drove an ambulance, but not before the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.
In 1919, Walt, hoping to find work outside the Chicago O-Zell factory, left home and moved back to Kansas City to begin his artistic career. After considering becoming an actor or a newspaper artist, he decided he wanted to create a career in the newspaper, drawing political caricatures or comic strips. But when nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or even as an ambulance driver, his brother Roy, who worked at a bank in the area, got a temporary job for him at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio through a bank colleague . At Pesmen-Rubin, Disney created ads for newspapers, magazines, and movie theaters. It was here that he met a cartoonist named Ubbe Iwerks. When their time at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio expired, they were both without a job, and they decided to start their own commercial company.
In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called, "Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists". However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at Kansas City Film Ad Company, and was soon joined by Iwerks who was not able to run the business alone. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation, Disney took up an interest in the field of animation, and decided to become an animator. He was allowed by the owner of the Ad Company, A.V. Cauger, to borrow a camera from work, which he could use to experiment with at home. After reading a book by Edwin G. Lutz, called Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, he found cel animation to be much more promising than the cutout animation he was doing for Cauger. Walt eventually decided to open his own animation business, and recruited a fellow co-worker at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, Fred Harman, as his first employee. Walt and Harman then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman — arguably the most popular "showman" in the Kansas City area at the time — to screen their cartoons — which they titled "Laugh-O-Grams" — at his local theater.
Laugh-O Grams Studio
Presented as "Newman Laugh-O-Grams", Disney's cartoons became widely popular in the Kansas City area. Through their success, Disney was able to acquire his own studio, also called Laugh-O-Gram, and hire a vast number of additional animators, including Fred Harman's brother Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, and his close friend Ubbe Iwerks. Unfortunately, with all his high employee salaries unable to make up for studio profits, Walt was unable to successfully manage money. As a result, the studio became loaded with debt and wound up bankrupt. Disney then set his sights on establishing a studio in the movie industry's capital city, Hollywood, California.
Outside of the Disney Brothers Studio on Kingswell Ave. in Los Angeles in 1925. Left to right: Lillian Bounds Disney (Walt's wife); Walt Disney; Ruth Disney (Walt and Roy's sister); Roy Disney; and Roy's wife Edna.
Disney and his brother pooled their money to set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood. The Kingswell studio was two blocks west of the boys' Uncle Robert's home where both were staying. They produced the "Alice in Cartoonland" series and some of the "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" series here. This is where the Walt Disney Company officially began on October 16, 1923.
Needing to find a distributor for his new Alice Comedies — which he started making while in Kansas City, but never got to distribute — Disney sent an unfinished print to New York distributor Margaret Winkler, who promptly wrote back to him. She was keen on a distribution deal with Disney for more live-action/animated shorts based upon Alice's Wonderland.
Virginia Davis (the live-action star of Alice’s Wonderland) and her family were relocated at Disney's request from Kansas City to Hollywood, as were Iwerks and his family. This was the beginning of the Disney Brothers' Studio. It was located on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district, where the studio remained until 1939. In 1925, Disney hired a young woman named Lillian Bounds to ink and paint celluloid. After a brief period of dating her, the two got married the same year.
The new series, Alice Comedies, was reasonably successful, and featured both Dawn O'Day and Margie Gay as Alice. Lois Hardwick also briefly assumed the role of Alice. By the time the series ended in 1927, the focus was more on the animated characters, in particular a cat named Julius who resembled Felix the Cat, rather than the live-action Alice.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
By 1927, Charles Mintz had married Margaret Winkler (distributor of the Alice Comedies) and assumed control of her business, and ordered a new all-animated series to be put into production for distribution through Universal Pictures. The new series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was an almost instant success, and the character, Oswald — drawn and created by Ubbe Iwerks — became a popular figure. The Disney studio expanded, and Walt hired back Harman, Rudolph Ising, Carman Maxwell, and Friz Freleng from Kansas City.
In February 1928, Disney went to New York to negotiate a higher fee per short from Mintz. Disney was shocked when Mintz announced that not only did he want to reduce the fee he paid Disney per short but also that he had most of his main animators, including Harman, Ising, Maxwell, and Freleng (notably, except Iwerks, who refused to leave Disney) under contract and would start his own studio if Disney did not accept the reduced production budgets. Universal, not Disney, owned the Oswald trademark, and could make the films without Disney. Disney declined Mintz's offer and lost most of his animation staff. With most of his staff gone Disney now found himself on his own again.
It took Walt Disney's company 78 years to get rights to the Oswald character back. The Walt Disney Company reacquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC Universal in 2006, through a trade for longtime ABC sports commentator Al Michaels.
The Walt Disney Company began construction on the Magic Kingdom in 1967 shortly after the death of Walt Disney. Walt had been highly involved in planning The Florida Project in the years prior to his death. (To read more about Walt's Florida Project
The park itself was built similar to the existing Disneyland in California, however Magic Kingdom was built in a larger area allowing for some improvement over Disneyland's design.
One of the most intriguing park improvements are the Utilidors. According to a story, Walt Disney once saw a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Walt found this to be an intrusion on the futuristic setting, and wanted to avoid situations like this in the new park. Therefore, Magic Kingdom was built over a series of tunnels called Utilidors, a combination of the words utility and corridor. These tunnels allow cast members to move through the park, out of sight from guests thereby preserving 'the show'.
(Pic: Base of Castle with Utilidor in foreground.)
Because of Florida's high water table the tunnels could not be put underground, so they were built at the existing grade. Which means the Utilidors reside at ground level and Magic Kingdom Park is actually built on the second story. The tunnels are only found in areas built in the initial construction and were not extended with additions to the park.
(Pic: Castle with Utilidor tunnel openings.)
The area around the Utilitdors was filled in with dirt removed from the Seven Seas Lagoon which was being constructed at the same time. Yes, constructed. Seven Seas Lagoon is a man made lake that connects to Bay Lake via a man made waterway/bridge—a bridge that WDW buses and Contemporary guests cross under as they travel toward Magic Kingdom. (Seven Seas Lagoon fun fact—At it's opening in October 1971 the Lagoon featured a wave machine capable of making waves large enough to surf as part of the Polynesian, but waves were discontinued shortly after because they were washing away the shoreline.)
(Pic: Land clearing for Magic Kingdom with Bay Lake in the background [looking from present-day Frontierland toward Tomorrowland]; note the Seven Seas Lagoon has not yet been dug.)
Although it was intended that tunnels be built all through Walt Disney World, only two other areas have similar Utilidors: Future World in EPCOT and Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney; this is most likely because of financial constraints.
Magic Kingdom opened as the first part of Walt Disney's planned Florida Project on October 1, 1971, with 10,000 visitors. It was the only theme park on the resort at the time and opened concurrently with two hotels on the property: Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. However the park was not officially dedicated until October 25, 1971, allowing time for any problems to be worked out prior to official opening (this was a precaution taken to avoid any of the problems encountered on Disneyland's opening day.)
Magic Kingdom opened with 6 themed lands: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Each land was similar to its counterpart at Disneyland except Liberty Square—of course—which celebrated America's Independence and was unique to Magic Kingdom.
The park opened with 23 attractions, three unique to the park--The Hall of Presidents, Mickey Mouse Revue,and Country Bear Jamboree. The other 20 were copies of attractions at Disneyland. Disney promised to increase this number with more attractions similar to Disneyland as well as unique ones.
Since opening day, Magic Kingdom has only been closed for five incidents: Hurricane Floyd, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Charley, & Hurricane Wilma.
Magic Kingdom was dedicated on October 25, 1971 by Roy O. Disney. The dedication reads:
“Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together.”
Main Street U.S.A.
The first land inside the Magic Kingdom gates is Main Street U.S.A. It is said to be Walt's homage to his small town child-hood home of Marcaline, Missouri; and a celebration of Turn-of-the-Century small town U.S.A. Main Street U.S.A. Employs the movie making magic of forced perspective (where each story of the buildings is smaller than the last) to help create its great ambiance.
While there are only four actual buildings that make up the stores and restaurants of Main Street U.S.A., each building has several different facades. Each facade is very detailed and ornate creating a beautiful turn of the century street. Restaurants including Tony's Town Square themed after Tony's restaurant in Lady and the Tramp, and The Plaza Restaurant. Recently Main Street U.S.A.'s Town Square Exposition Hall became the home of Mickey and his Pals. A relocation from Mickey's Toontown Fair after its closed to make way for Storybook Circus. This is where guests can meet and greet with the classic Disney Pals.
Main Street starts with the Walt Disney World Railroad, Main Street, U.S.A. train station and ends with Cinderella's Castle. It is the central viewing location for the Magic Kingdom parades--such as the Main Street Electrical Parade--and fireworks shows. Main Street U.S.A. is also home to turn-of-the-century vehicles including a horse drawn trolley, double decker bus, and fire engine.
Main Street U.S.A.'s City Hall houses the parks Guest Relations. The Main Street Fire Station became home to the new--park wide--interactive game Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Guests pick up game cards with things like magic powers or characters on them from the Fire Station and then use the cards at portals throughout Magic Kingdom; guests are working to rid the Magic Kingdom of Villains.
Fun note: Nearly every Main Street window has business names on it, each of which is a tribute to someone or thing connected to Disney.
In the words of Walt Disney: "Fantasyland is dedicated to the young at heart and to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true."
Fantasyland is home to Cinderella's Castle, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Small World, Philharmagic, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, the Carousel, teacups. Three notable rides that are no longer in Fantasyland: 20,000 Leagues under the sea (submarines), the Skyway, and Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Fantasyland occupies the courtyard of Cinderella Castle and is made to resemble a Renaissance era fair.
In September 2009, it was announced at the D23 Expo that Fantasyland would be expanded to incorporate more Disney Princesses in a new area called Enchanted Forest. A castle wall will separate Old Fantasyland's Renaissance Fair area from the new, intriguing adventure beyond the wall titled The Enchanted Forest. New attractions include Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Belle's Cottage, Beast's Castle with Be Our Guest Restaurant, and Seven Dwarf's Mine Train. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast themed areas of Fantasyland Forest opened December 6, 2012, with the Mine Train opening in 2014.
Beginning in September of 2012, some guests where able to take part in technical rehearsals for Enchanted Tales with Belle.
Another part of the expansion,completed in 2012, is Storybook Circus. It was built where Mickey's Toontown Fair used to be, and includes a new 3-ring circus version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant with two carousels, The Great Goofini (essentially Goofy's Barnstormer) , Casey Jr. Splash and Soak and the Storybook Circus Train-station.
Start Exploring Fantasyland attractions.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
It's a Small World
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Snow White's Scary Adventures
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Mad Tea Party
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Walt's said, “To create a land that would make this dream reality we pictured ourselves far from civilization, in the remote jungles of Asia and Africa." Thus we find a remote jungle, waiting to be explored, as we turn left out of 'the hub'. The large amounts of foliage and tribal artifacts create the adventurous atmosphere. That, along with the village architecture, places guests on an exotic, early 20th century, exploration trip
As with many other lands, Adventureland today is a different from the Adventureland of 1971. In 1971 Adventureland had three attractions: Swiss Family Tree House, Jungle Cruise, and Tropical Serenade (Tiki Room). The remainder of the land was made up of stores filled with exotic wares (Oriental Imports, Ltd., Tropic Toppers, Traders of Tiimbuktu) and restaurants including the now closed Adventureland Veranda housed in the buildings of Adventureland's entrance. Water pools stretched out from Sunshine Pavilion, home to the Tropical Serenade and Sunshine Tree Terrace Restaurant. Guests could enjoy the atmosphere or a tropical treat as they sat in the land's open plaza area between the attractions and shops.
Changes came slowly to Adventureland. Shops changed names and goods. Planters and bench seating would change. The first big change was the addition of Pirates of the Caribbean in 1973, with its own Caribbean plaza of shops and restaurants. In 1997, there were more big changes with the transformation of Tropical Serenade into The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management. In 2001 Adventureland's most dramatic atmosphere change came with addition of The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which took the place of the plaza area.
So, Magic Kingdom's Adventureland has two distinct areas; one themed to an Arabian Village—with The Magic Carpets of Aladdin; the other themed to the Caribbean—with Pirates of the Caribbean. Start exploring Adventureland's attractions.
Swiss Family Treehouse
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Enchanted Tiki Room
Pirates of the Caribbean
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Frontierland had three attractions: the Frontierland Train Station, Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes (which closed in 1994), and the brand new attraction Country Bear Jamboree. In 1973 Tom Sawyer Island opened. Disney planned to build a large pavilion-style attraction called Western River Expedition, but this was never built (see below for more on Western River Expedition). Instead the land was later used for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which opened in 1980, and then Splash Mountain, which opened in 1992.
Of note: The original Frontierland Train Station (above) was replaced by a new second story train station (below) with the building of Splash Mountain.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Tom Sawyer Island
Country Bear Jamboree
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
After Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966, plans were moving ahead for the (still under construction) Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Since there was going to be another Disneyland-style theme park, this time officially known as the Magic Kingdom, Imagineers felt that one of the changes that would differ between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom should be in one of the themed lands. The Imagineers decided that since Florida was close to the real New Orleans in Louisiana, having a New Orleans Square in the Magic Kingdom was a bit much. The old designs and concepts for Disney's Liberty Street at Edison Square (a proposed extension of Main Street U.S.A. At Disneyland) were reviewed and revised, and what became of it was the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, that served as the alternative to New Orleans Square.
Liberty Square also serves as the alternative location for the Magic Kingdom's version of the Haunted Mansion, which is located at New Orleans Square in Disneyland. The Imagineers also thought that, as a follow-up to "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", they could finally create Walt Disney's concept of "One Nation Under God"; and so we get the Hall of Presidents. Other Liberty Square attractions include the Liberty Belle steam boat, and the ever popular Haunted Mansion. Also housed in the colonial America themed square, a replica of the Liberty Bell and Liberty Tree and a central plaza where the state flags of the original 13 states fly.
One Nation Under God
Walt Disney had originally wanted an attraction similar to the Hall of Presidents called “One Nation Under God.” After Disneyland become a huge success, Walt proposed an extension of Main Street, U.S.A. called Liberty Street at Edison Square (an idea pitched to the Edison company for sponsorship). Walt originally wanted wax figures of all the U.S. Presidents, and later decided to try to make them animated figures. But the technology that Walt Disney wanted for this attraction did not exist or fully meet his desire. Instead Walt Disney worked with fellow Imagineers to make the first Audio-Animatronic figure in a human form. The figure would be of Walt Disney's hero: Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. This became Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at the World's Fair (1964-1965, for the State of Illinois Pavillian); after the world's fair a better/newer animatronic figure was created and the show was put into Disneyland.
Liberty Square Attractions
Hall of Presidents
Walt always loved exploring what the future could hold, what improvements and innovations could come to the world through scientific discoveries. Tomorrowland has changed many times over the years. Many past and present Tomorrowland attractions have centered around space and man's fascination with the idea of exploring space and what one might find in space.
Many Tomorrowland attractions that have closed in Disneyland still live on at the Magic Kingdom Park including the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and the Carousel of Progress—which was moved from Disneyland to Walt Disney World in 1975.
When Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 attractions included the Grand Prix Raceway, Circle Vision 360—America the Beautiful, and the Skyway to Fantasyland. The year 1975 brought both brand new attractions and beloved Disneyland attractions to Tomorrowland; among them were Space Mountain, the WEDway Peoplemover, Star Jets, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, and Mission to Mars. In the years since attraction areas have been re-purposed for newer attractions or have been renamed and refurbished. The attractions list below explores both past and present attractions of Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Walt's Disney's Carousel of Progress
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Stitch's Great Escape
Skyway to Fantasyland
The Walt Disney Company's original concept of the Disney-MGM Studios was to operate it as a full fledged television and motion picture production facility, not just a theme park. In 1988, among the first feature-length movies filmed at the facility, prior to its completion and opening as a theme park, were Ernest Saves Christmas and Newsies.
When the park opened in 1989, the studio/production facilities housed two major components, the first of which was Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, where Disney produced a number of projects, including Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, and sequences from other 1990s-early 2000s Disney animated features.
The second, larger, component was Walt Disney Studios Florida, which consisted of three sound stages used for various Disney projects including The Disney Channel's Mickey Mouse Club, Teen Win, Lose or Draw and Adventures in Wonderland. Several third party productions also used the Studios.
In 1989, the theme park opened adjacent to the production facilities as the Disney-MGM Studios. The only affiliation MGM had to the park was the original licensing agreement that allowed Disney to use the MGM brand name and lion logo in marketing, plus separate contracts that allowed specific MGM content to be used in The Great Movie Ride.
Today the park is called Disney's Hollywood Studio. WDW President, Meg Crofton said, "the new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today's Hollywood has to offer--in music, television, movies and theater."
Streets of Disney's Hollywood Studio
Streets of America
Disney World Resorts
When the Magic Kingdom opened in October 1971 two Walt Disney World resorts open also; Disney's Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village, both of which are connected to the Magic Kingdom via monorail. Now Walt Disney World has over 20 resort hotels, varying in type from the basic Value Resorts (Pop Century, All Star), to 2 bedroom Disney Vacation Club condo style accommodations (Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk).
Disney's current aim for resort hotels, seems to be, to be able to provide something for everyone and every budget. Disney categorizes their hotels, from highest class--with large rooms and extensive amenities--to basic family fun resorts, as follows:
Deluxe Resort Hotels
Moderate Resort Hotels
Value Resort Hotels
Walt Disney World Resorts
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Beach Club Villas
Disney's BoardWalk Villas
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Deluxe Resort Hotels
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Moderate Resort Hotels
The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
Value Resort Hotels
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 Pop Century Resort
The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort