Today celebrates both the Grand Opening of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, the Magic Kingdom turns 48 and Epcot turns 37.
Here are some fun facts about both theme parks you might not have known about.
The Magic Kingdom, the first Walt Disney World Resort theme park, debuted in 1971 – 16 years after Walt Disney’s first park, Disneyland, opened in Anaheim, Calif. Magic Kingdom Park’s blue- and gold-turreted, 18-tower icon, Cinderella Castle, rises 189 feet above the park’s 142 acres.
Following the success of Disneyland, which opened in 1955, entertainment pioneer Walt Disney (1901-66) set his sights on what he called his company’s “most exciting and challenging assignment” — the creation of a vast vacation paradise known today as Walt Disney World Resort. Walt’s dream was realized when Magic Kingdom, the first of four theme parks at the sprawling Florida site, opened Oct. 1, 1971. Walt’s older brother and lifelong business partner, Roy O. Disney, inaugurated the park. And the magic began.
Epcot, the second Walt Disney World Resort theme park, opened Oct. 1, 1982 — 11 years after the Magic Kingdom debuted. The 305-acre park, identified by its iconic Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere, features two distinct areas.
Future World is a showcase of discovery filled with new ideas and technology, plus an exploration of planet Earth from land and sea to air and space.
World Showcase is a kaleidoscope of nations featuring architecturally authentic buildings and backdrops that celebrate their cultural heritage, arts and entertainment. The 11 nations plus an African-themed Outpost are situated along a 1.3-mile promenade encircling the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon.
Walt Disney envisioned a showcase for innovation, a place to celebrate human achievement and where people could experience the cutting edge of technology.
On Oct. 1, 1978, Card Walker — then president of Walt Disney Productions — revealed plans for Epcot, a theme park inspired by Walt’s philosophies. A groundbreaking ceremony was held one year later and Epcot opened in 1982. The debut of Innoventions in 1994 marked an exciting addition to the Epcot experience. This evolving technology exposition gives Epcot guests an opportunity to explore the latest inventions and innovations that may change the way they live their lives.
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