It's A Jolly Holiday

The Parks

In the mid-1970's, planning a trip to Walt Disney World was a relatively simple matter.  In 1971, Walt Disney World opened with just the Magic Kingdom soon followed by the Contemporary and the Polynesian.  Today, though, Disney World has grown to four huge parks, almost two dozen resorts, over 400 dining options, and sufficient activities to keep any family busy for a week or more without even leaving the parks.  Even if you've been to Disney World before, it changes so frequently that there is always something new.  Recently, the Mouse has added Mickey's Philharmagic Orchestra in the Magic Kingdom, Primeval Whirl in the Animal Kingdom,  and both Mission: Space and Soaring to Epcot.

There have been changes and additions as Walt Disney World has matured, and new rides and attractions periodically enter the mix, including
Primeval Whirl, the twin, carnival-style roller coaster at Animal Kingdom. The two biggest new additions: Epcot's Mission: Space, a NASA-caliber motion simulator, and Magic Kingdom's 3-D show, Mickey's PhilharMagic Orchestra, both of which opened in the fall of 2003.  Click on the park logo you're interested in for detailed information.

Even in an off-year like 2003, the Magic Kingdom is still America's most popular theme park and it's second in the world after Tokyo Disneyland.  With 40 attractions, shops and restaurants, spread over  107-acre package, you can go from the Old West to the future of the old serial sci-fi shows to Mickey and Minnie's houses.  At its center (and the distinct symbol of the Magic Kingdom is Cinderella's Castle, the hub of the Magic Kingdom's seven themed lands.

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Epcot was Walt Disney's dream for a planned city.  After his death, though, it became a theme park in 1982 which aimed to entertain, inform, inspire, and  explore different aspects of the world in which we live and the world into which we're heading.

Disney's fourth major park combines animals, elaborate landscapes, and a handful of rides to create yet another reason why you don't need to venture outside of Walt Disney World. 

"The Hollywood that never was and always will be" has pulse-quickening rides, movie- and TV-themed shows, and a spectacular laser-light show called Fantasmic!  Or you can stroll down Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, where Art Deco movie sets remember the golden age of Hollywood, or New York Street which is lined with miniature renditions of Gotham's landmarks (the Empire State, Flatiron, and Chrysler buildings) and characters peddling knock-off watches.