Thursday, December 27, 2007
Walt Disney World Resort is the largest and most visited recreational resort in the world, containing four theme parks, many themed hotels and numerous shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation venues. Owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment of The Walt Disney Company, it is located in Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida, outside the city limits of Orlando. The property often is abbreviated Walt Disney World, Disney World or WDW.
Construction began in 1967, less than a year after Walt Disney's death. It opened on October 1, 1971, with the Magic Kingdom theme park, and has since opened Epcot (on October 1, 1982), Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) on May 1, 1989), and Disney's Animal Kingdom (on April 22, 1998).
The 25,000 acre (101 km²) property is the world's largest theme park resort, although significant land has been sold off for housing and other developments, including land now occupied by the Disney-built (but not owned) community of Celebration. It once covered approximately 30,000 acres or 47 square miles (120 km²), about the size of San Francisco or Manchester, or twice the size of Manhattan.
It is accessible from Central Florida's Interstate 4 via Exits 62B (World Drive), 64B (US 192 West), 65B (Osceola Parkway West), 67B (SR 536 West), and 68 (SR 535 North). In addition, in 2006 a new western entrance opened from Exit 8 on State Road 429 (Florida), the Western Expressway. It also runs a bus line that connects the resort to Orlando International Airport and the Disney Cruise Line terminal in Port Canaveral.
Meg Crofton was named president of the resort in August 2006, replacing Al Weiss, who had overseen the site since 1994.
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