Disney Spreads Magic Across the Globe

Mickey and Minnie World Disney
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Most Disney fans know how the magic started years ago with Walt Disney and a dream. Many Disney fans don’t know how the magic has grown from 1923 to today. As the Disney Company celebrates 100 years of magic, we will look at Disney magic worldwide.

The magic of Disney isn’t just found in California at Disneyland or in Florida at Walt Disney World, but it can be found throughout the world. With numerous different theme parks worldwide, Disney fans have a variety of places where they can be transformed by Disney magic.

mickey outside sleeping beauty castle in disneyland park

Credit: Disney

Disneyland Park: July 17, 1955

The magic all began in 1955 when Walt Disney welcomed guests to Disneyland. In his dedication speech, Disney said, “To all who come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land.”

Located in the middle of Anaheim, California, Disneyland, on the opening day, five themed lands and 20 attractions were available to guests. Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street USA were the original five open-day lands.

What we now see as iconic, classic attractions welcomed guests on the first day. King Arthur Carrousel, Disneyland Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Jungle Cruise are just a few of the twenty rides that were available for guests to experience on the opening day.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World: October 1, 1971

The next Disney park to open was Walt Disney World in Florida. On opening day, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Transportation and Ticket Center all opened along with this iconic Disney monorail system.

In honor of his brother, Roy Disney and Mickey Mouse, he dedicated the park a few weeks later. Like the original Disney park, Magic Kingdom features well-themed lands that transported guests to new adventures.

Some rides from Disneyland made their way to Walt Disney World; however, new experiences such as The Hall of Presidents and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room showed the progress of the Disney Company and Disney Imagineering.

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Credit: Becky Burkett

EPCOT: October 1, 1982

Walt Disney inspired EPCOT and became the second theme park at Walt Disney World. EPCOT became the biggest Disney theme park yet. EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a utopian idea of future city planning.

Walt Disney had dreamed of a community that would be a test for city organization in the future. Although his true vision never came to be, EPCOT became a theme park that brought education and entertainment together. In Future World, guests learned about motion, energy, and the Earth. Throughout the World Showcase, guests could travel the world without leaving Walt Disney World. It brought new cultures to guests in a brand-new way.

Exterior of Castle at Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Tokyo Disneyland: April 15, 1983

A few years after EPCOT, the first international Disney park opened in Tokyo, Japan. Although the discussion for an international park began with Walt himself, an agreement wasn’t made between Disney and The Oriental Land Company until 1978.

When Toyko Disneyland opened in 1983, it featured many of the same attractions throughout Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Since opening, Tokyo Disneyland has undergone fantastic updates.

disney+ movie dinsye company

A Theatrical Journey – Walt Disney World Resort guests can take a ride through the most famous film sets in silver screen history at The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Housed in a full-scale reproduction of Hollywood’s world-famous Chinese Theater, the ride-through attraction travels through a soundstage tour of such memorable movie scenes as the “Casablanca” airport farewell, the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City from “Wizard of Oz,” the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” Well of Souls and many more. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Scott Miller, photographer)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: May 1, 1989

Expansion and success continued in Walt Disney World with the opening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here, guests could live out the adventure as they became part of the movies and stories they loved so much.

Exciting, never-experienced attractions such as The Great Movie Ride and Studio Backlot Tour allowed guests to experience the Disney magic in a new way.

Disneyland Paris drone show

Credit: Disney

Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Park: April 12, 1992

The second international Disney park to open was outside Paris, France. In 1992, Disneyland Paris opened, giving Europeans the Disney magic they were searching for. Disneyland Paris included one park, several resorts, and an entertainment district with Disney Village.

Disneyland Paris quickly became one of the top vacation destinations in Europe, being only 35 minutes from Paris with its train station.

animal kingdom barbie walt disney world animal barbie doll magical world greta gerwig barbie movie tree of life animal expert

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom: April 22, 1998

The most recent theme park to be added to Walt Disney World was Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Bringing Walt’s love for animals to guests, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is where the wonder of nature meets the magic of Disney. Guests now could experience nature in a whole new way.

san fransokyo square disneyland resort theme park disney california adventure aunt cass cafe big hero 6 opening guests disney park hamada bot shop san francisco

Credit: Scott Gustin/ X, Disney

Disney’s California Adventure Park: February 8, 2001

California and Disneyland Park got a massive upgrade in 2001 with the opening of Disney’s California Adventure. New stories were brought to guests in a whole new way, and this fantastic park continues to do so today.

Here, guests can experience Avengers Campus, Cars Land, Pixar Pier, and San Fransokyo Square. Guests can step into these stories like never before in Disneyland.

Tokyo DisneySea

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Tokyo DisneySea: September 4, 2021

As Tokyo Disneyland continued to do exceptionally well, a new park was added to this international Disney park. Tokyo DisneySea created a whole second park where adventure and imagination set sail.

Completely themed around water, this new park features unique new experiences, including fantastic shows.

Walt Disney Studios

Credit: DLP

Walt Disney Studios Park: March 16, 2002

As Disneyland Park continued to do well, a second theme park was added next door. Walt Disney Studios opened in 2002, allowing guests to dive into the action. Now featuring Avengers Campus, popular rides such as Remy’s Ratotulie Adeventure and Crushes Coaster, Walt Disney Studios continues to bring the movies and stories to guests.

Disneyland Hong Kong

Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Park: September 12, 2005

The third international Disney park and the first to open in China is the Hong Kong Disneyland Park and Resort. Currently, Disney fans anxiously await the massive addition of World of Frozen to open.

Scheduled to open this next month, Disney fans look forward to stepping into Arendelle and experiencing the magic of the beloved movie Frozen (2013). The opening of this new land will be a significant update to this international Disney park.

Shanghai Disneyland

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Shanghai Disney Resort and Shanghai Disneyland: June 16, 2016

The newest Disney park to open was Shanghai Disneyland. The second Disney park to open in China, Shanghai Disneyland, focuses on Disney’s magic and Chinese culture.

When it opened, Shanghai Disneyland included six themed areas, two hotels, a shopping district, 99 acres of gardens, lakes, and a park area.

Disney magic started in 1923 with the Walt Disney Company, now spans the globe. Guests can experience the Disney magic throughout the world in each of these theme parks that bring the magic and stories of Disney to them every day.




About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.