Once upon a time in the swamps of central Florida, one man saw more than just pine trees and oranges. Walt Disney had a vision of building a family friendly place where moms and dads could bring their families to in order to have memories that would last forever. He also wanted it to be a place that was affordable and accessible to everyone while at the same time having beautiful weather year round.
Unfortunately Walt did not live long enough to see his vision come to fruition here in Florida but his brother Roy did make sure that his vision was completed. Walt came to Florida in the 60’s and bought 25000 acres (40 square miles) under the name M.T. Lott. He had the smarts to buy up as much land as he could without drawing to much attention to the land grab. The stage was now set to start building what Walt described as his “Florida Project”.
Magic Kingdom was the first to go up in 1971 followed by Epcot in 1982, Hollywood Studios in 1989 and lastly Animal Kingdom in 1998. In addition to the theme parks Resorts were built for Disney’s guests to stay at. To date there are 34 resorts on property and 28 of those are owned and operated by Disney. This however is ever changing and a few more resorts are now in the works to accommodate even more visitors.
Hollywood Studios for example is currently building their Star Wars themed resort which will sit just in the back outside of their park. This will be a great addition to people wanting something new and for travelers who have been to Disney World several times. There is so much empty property on their 40 square miles that they could build another 100 resorts and 20 additional theme parks but where does it end.
With the parks at capacity now and lines averaging over 3 hours for some of their latest attractions, where does one begin to contemplate building bigger parks to accommodate all of their guests better or does one just keep building smaller parks but having more to choose from? What seems to be happening is current park expansion!
If you take a current park that suffers from overcrowding and make it bigger, this would seem to solve your issue you would think right? Well this would make sense if every park had popular rides and attractions equally. Unfortunately this is not the case. For example, Animal Kingdom rolled out Pandora: Avatar and for the first year until now lines have been steady at 3 hours and drawing business away from their other parks.
Now Hollywood Studios rolled out Toy Story Land and drew visitors away from the other parks sometimes leaving Epcot like a ghost town. Each park I hope one day will be equal in their rides, shows and resorts but currently there is some lag and it’s affecting the attendance levels at all four parks as a whole. With all of their land, I would like to see much bigger parks, more activities for guests to overcome overcrowding and most importantly lower costs to the consumers.