Thanks to a Disney blogger friend, Lisa at Babes in Disneyland, I was asked to help a young girl learn a little more about Walt Disney World! I love Disney trivia and learning more, so I enjoyed the challenge and wanted to share it with you!
The original looked something like this:
My daughter is working on a Disney project for her 3rd grade class. She is working on a 3 month long research study and part of it is asking some questions to an expert! She chose Disney after we toured the history of Walt Disney at Disney World/Universal Studios.I love it! A 3 month long research study on Walt Disney World? What a great topic!!
1. How long did Disney World take to be built?
Planning for Walt Disney World (FL) started in 1963, 8 years after the 1955 opening of Disneyland (LA). Walt Disney himself scouted the country to find a perfect place of land to make an East Coast version of his theme park. Unfortunately, Walt Disney passed away of lung cancer in 1966 and the project was put on hold for a few years. His older brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney took over changing the name “Disney World” to “Walt Disney World (WDW).” Construction took two years – starting in 1969 and the park opened October 1st, 1971 (Just celebrated 40 years!)
I found a cool website with a ton of info about this http://www.generalcontractor.com/resources/articles/disneyland-disney-world-construction.asp
2. What inspired you to be a part of Disney?
I became a Disney blogger (http://www.disneybabiesblog.com) because I felt insane planning a trip to Walt Disney World with my 6 month old. Most everything I read said “wait until they’re older.” So, instead of following that advice and missing out on all the fun myself, I decided to figure it out and started sharing my stories. At 2 years old, my son has had 4 trips and the park has become even more special!
3. Why is Disney important to you?
I grew up visiting WDW on a regular basis thanks to having family in Florida. Starting in college, I began visiting often on school breaks with friends and it began to feel like “my” park. I felt like I was at home – I no longer needed a map of the Magic Kingdom. And, the Disney magic that took over as soon as we crossed into the resort and especially when walking down Main Street USA has made it a place I love to visit as often as possible!
4. What was the first Disney movie ever made?
Snow White was Walt Disney’s first full length animated feature. It premiered in 1937.
5. What is the most popular ride in Disney
While I don’t know any official stats – I would guess that Toy Story Midway Mania located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be one of the most popular ride. It regularly has the longest lines in any of the parks and the fast passes are usually distributed for the entire day before lunch time! I do believe based on numbers that Spaceship Earth in Epcot (Inside the Epcot Geosphere!) sees more passengers than any other attraction at the park. Thanks to the fact that it’s constantly moving and loading/unloading, it rarely gets the lines that other attractions get!
6. What is the least popular ride at Disneyland?
I’ll have to answer for Walt Disney World, as I’ve never been to the Disneyland Resort in LA! I would say the one attraction that I always hear the most “redo this ride” is Stitch’s Great Escape in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. It was originally known as “Alien Encounter” and was changed to be less scary/more family friendly while incorporating a Disney character. Another ride that many people ride once and use the phrase “never again” is Mission: Space at Epcot! It’s a great idea – you literally feel like you’re on your way out of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy ride and most people seem to feel sick after riding it (myself included!)
7. About how many people visit Disneyland/Walt Disney World each year?
I found this chart for park attendance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amusement_park_attendance_figures It lists the parks individually – remember that WDW includes: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot while Disneyland has Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure!
8. How come EPCOT is in Disney World?
EPCOT stands for the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” and was Walt Disney’s dream at what cities would be in the future. He had a vision of a wonderful society that everyone worked and contributed and public transportation via the Wedway (Did you visit the Wedway Peoplemover/Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction in Tomorrowland? That!) or underground roads and parking garages. The Magic Kingdom was actually planned to help fund this Future City. Unfortunately, after Walt’s death, his ideas and creative genius was literally unparalleled and what came about was EPCOT Center, which opened in 1982 – celebrating 30 years this October 1st. The original model is shown https://sites.google.com/site/theoriginalepcot/progress-city-model and actually, you can see a portion of it while riding on the Wedway Peoplemover! I think much of my true respect for Walt Disney came when I watched his videos, recorded only months before he passed away from lung cancer. His ideas are amazing and I think you should check them out!
9. Is there anything else about Disney that you think I should know?
There is too much to write about it one essay! I’ve been visiting my whole life, but didn’t start learning until a couple of years ago. Disney is all about details – the parks, the movies – there are hidden Mickey’s all over the parks and other hidden trivia everywhere you look at the resorts. One of my favorite stories – Walt had a house keeper that helped him, his wife, and two daughters for years. There were times he couldn’t pay her as much as he needed, but always gave her gifts of Disney stock before it was worth anything. She held on to the stock and when she passed away, had over 9 million dollars!! That’s a lot better than a $50 bonus! http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19941028&id=Lk1WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2-sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5647,6917837