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10 Impressive Facts About Walt Disney World

If you’ve ever been a guest at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida, you’ve probably been impressed by the sheer size of the resort, the number of people who visit and the variety of experiences offered. But what you might not know is that Disney World boasts hundreds (probably even thousands) of wildly impressive facts, statistics and tidbits when it comes to how it came to be, what it takes to operate daily and even when it comes to day to day goings-on inside the Most Magical and Most Memorable Place on Earth. How many of these things did you know?

10. It takes a village . . .

Credit: Disney

There are more than 75,000 Cast Members employed throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. That’s more than all the employees at every other Disney Park in the world combined, and it makes Disney World the largest single-site employer in all of the United States. Shout out to all the wonderful Cast Members who share the magic with guests on a daily basis in the parks!

9. Visiting Walt Disney World makes Guests very hungry.

You can tell that by the 7 million hamburgers eaten in the parks annually. And if that’s not enough, there are also 5 million hotdogs eaten at Disney World each year. And you know those wonderful Mickey Mouse ice cream bars we love so much? Nearly 3.5 million of those treats are sold in the parks yearly. At Flame Tree Barbecue inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 1,200 pounds of ribs are smoked at one time for hungry guests of the park. And all of this food “magic” is thanks to the hard work of about 350 chefs who keep the kitchens across the resort running smoothly.

8. When it all began . . .

Disney World was first announced on November 15, 1965. It originally cost about $400 million to build Disney World. When the Most Magical Place on Earth first opened on October 1, 1971, 10,422 people visited. Adult tickets cost $3.50 each. Today, a one-day ticket to Magic Kingdom can cost more than $135, depending on the season and the date of your visit.

 

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7. Disney’s Magic Band system cost a pretty penny.

Or should we say “pennies?” Many, many pennies. In fact, the implementation of Disney World’s Magic Band system cost the entertainment giant a cool $1 billion.

6. Instagram-worthiness counts.

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World is the second most-Instagrammed tourist attraction in the entire world. Some of the most Instagram-worthy spots around Disney World for those follow-worthy posts? The walls: the Purple Wall (Magic Kingdom near Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor), the Candy Stripe Wall (Magic Kingdom near Main Street Confectionery), the Bubblegum Wall (near exit doors at Spaceship Earth at Epcot), the Blueberry Wall (near Spaceship Earth at Epcot), the Rose Gold Wall (at Mission: SPACE at Epcot) and the Toothpaste Wall (at the Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion at Epcot).

5. Cinderella Castle functions like an actual fortress.

Well, kind of—especially when you consider that its exterior is made of fiberglass, in an effort to withstand hurricane winds of up to 125 miles per hour. And just like an actual fortress (and contrary to myths about the structure) the castle cannot, in fact, be disassembled in the event of a major weather system—or any other event for that matter.

4. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Disney’s bottom line.

Credit: Disney

In March 2020, when Walt Disney World and Disneyland closed their gates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knew how long our beloved American parks would be off-limits to its millions of adoring fans. Neither could anyone have known the extent of the financial impact these closings would have on the Disney Empire’s bottom line. But in May of this year, on an earnings report call to investors, after taking into account the pandemic leading to the closure of Disney Parks around the world, the halting of its cruise line operations and the prevention of new movie releases at the box office, Disney’s leadership revealed that its profits dropped more than 90 percent during the second quarter of 2020. As of May 2020, the theme parks division alone saw a loss of more than $1 billion in sales.

3. You could spend a lifetime staying at Disney World Resort hotels. . . literally.

There are so many rooms at all of the Walt Disney World hotels and resorts, that it would take you 68 years to stay in each one of them, assuming you stayed in one guest room each night of the year. That’s right. There are more than 30,000 rooms available to accommodate guests at the Most Magical Place on Earth—and the number just keeps growing!

2. Don’t take your favorite pair of sunglasses to the parks.

Or your favorite camera, your favorite hat or even your favorite cell phone, for that matter. Wait. What? Yes, you read that correctly. That’s because if you’re not careful, your items could end up in the lost and found at Disney World—home to more than 6,000 cell phones, over 3,500 cameras and close to 20,000 hats each year. If you’re going to bring your favorite Oakleys, consider wearing them on a strap—more than 200 pairs of sunglasses are found and turned in each day at Disney World. Don’t let yours become the next unsuspecting victim!

1. As backstories go, the tree at Liberty Square deserves the blue ribbon.

When it was decided that a majestic tree would serve as a centerpiece for Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, Disney’s Imagineers were tasked with finding a tree that would embody the grandeur and honor of our great country. They could have simply purchased an enormous tree and had it delivered. However, Imagineers don’t cut corners—but apparently they do cut down trees. The giant tree at Liberty Square—called the Liberty Tree—is the largest living thing at Magic Kingdom, and the story behind it is just as big! Imagineers decided that only a tree worthy of the title “Liberty Tree” would work, so they began to search Disney’s property for a tree. The Southern Live Oak tree that now stands at Liberty Square was found on the east side of the Disney property—seven miles away from its forever home at Liberty Square. When it was first chosen, the tree was about 60 feet tall and weighed over 35 tons. On June 11, 1970, the huge tree was loaded onto a truck by a 100-ton crane and began its 7-mile journey to where it stands today. The tree was planted and installed on March 6, 1971—before Magic Kingdom opened in October of that year. Today, the Liberty Tree is about 150 years old and just keeps thriving! Both the tree and its story of origin are quite impressive!

About Rebekah Tyndall Burkett

Rebekah grew up in Forney, Texas and lives just outside of Dallas. She’s been a Disney superfan since childhood, experiencing the magic at Walt Disney World for the first time at the age of 11. Journeys to Neverland are at least a yearly occurrence for her, her husband and her four children (the Fab Four). When they go to the parks, they stay in Florida for three weeks at a time. Rebekah loves exploring the history of the parks, the genius behind the Magic in the person of Walt Disney, and she is intrigued by all things Disney World and Disney Imagineering. When in the parks, Rebekah and her husband Scott make the most of their time by enjoying every minute with their Fab Four, by delving deeper into Walt’s vision for the parks and into the history behind the Walt Disney World Resort, and by photographing the many different types of architecture at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on the World Showcase at EPCOT. When she’s not in the parks, Rebekah is excitedly setting travel dates and planning her family’s next adventure to their happy place deep within the Sunshine State. On breaks from planning her next trip, Rebekah is a writer, journalist and children’s author, penning children’s books about kids with special needs that she affectionately calls “believement-achievement” stories. Her hobbies include creative writing, paper crafting and interviewing Imagineers. She is also an advocate for Autism Awareness and for children with developmental disabilities of all kinds.