While vacations to Disney Resort properties may seem like a tale as old as time by now, there was once a time when the only venue for the Disney experience was a single theme park in Anaheim, California. Since then, the Walt Disney Company has grown into a worldwide success in entertainment both on and off the silver screen. Today, you can visit either Disneyland or Walt Disney World in the United States, along with comparable parks in Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong. The Walt Disney Company has even taken to the seas with its successful Disney Cruise Line, providing adults and children with entertainment and a classic Disney experience on the open ocean. Take a trip from Disney’s ambitious beginnings to its undeniable status as a global entertainment and hospitality titan today.
Disneyland: The Beginning (1955)
“My hope is that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started with a mouse.”– Walt Disney
The Happiest Place on Earth welcomed its first guests July 17, 1955 in Anaheim, California during a special invite-only, International Press Preview. On opening day Disneyland offered five themed ‘lands’ with a total of 20 attractions. Including some of our favorites even today:
- Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Jungle Cruise
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Mad Tea Party
- Snow White’s Scary Adventure
- Sleeping Beauty Castle
Walt Disney World Resort (1971)
After the success of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney decided to purchase 43 square miles and open another theme park. On October 1, 1971 Walt Disney World Resort opened, five years after Walt Disney’s passing. At opening Walt Disney World included the Magic Kingdom theme park, two resort hotels, and a campground – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.
International Parks (1983)
Throughout the years and as popularity grew, Disney expanded their parks internationally with locations in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Each location combines the magic of Disney with unique cultural and design aspects that pay homage to their respective regions.
Disney Cruise Line (1998)
After its global expansion, Disney set its sights on the sea. In July of 1998, Disney launched its first ship, Disney Magic, with the purpose of creating a genuine family experience. Disney has since introduced four additional ships, with the most recent launch in 2022 – The Disney Wish.
Adventures By Disney (2005)
In 2005, Disney launched Adventures by Disney which provides group-guided tours through both domestic and international destinations. These tours are perfect for any adventurer and provide the world class hospitality we now associate with Disney. Today, Adventures by Disney offer excursions across six continents of the world.
In 2011, Disney opened the Aulani Resort in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. Walt Disney Imagineers worked hand in hand with local artisans and cultural experts to create Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Inspired by the natural wonders and rich traditions of Hawai‘i, Aulani Resort is the ultimate family getaway—celebrating the beauty, history and welcoming spirit of the island.