The Enormous Scale of Disney World Will Blow Your Mind

The mind-blowing scale of Disney World
Credit: Disney

East Coasters who make the pilgrimage to Disneyland in California will find the walkability of the park to be strange compared to Walt Disney World in Central Florida. Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and all the hotels are within one walkable area.

But when you head to Disney World, the property’s sheer size is mindblowing. When Walt Disney bought the area that would become Disney World, he wanted to separate guests from the rest of the world. For the most part, he was successful.

 Kingdom, Disney World;

Credit: Disney

Vox took a deep dive into the numbers behind Disney World, and the scale and magnitude of the parks are impressive. Let’s take a look.

The Size of Disney World

Walt didn’t just want to create a theme park; he wanted a model for future living. Before his death, he wanted EPCOT to be the future of live/work communities. But after his death, EPCOT became the park we know today.

the tree of life during nighttime awakening beacons of magic show

Credit: Disney

Disney World is 39 square miles, nearly a third larger than Manhattan and slightly smaller than Paris. There are four parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), two water parks, four golf courses, 23,000 hotel rooms, and more than 380 places to get food.

But there is still room to grow. Only half of Disney’s land is developed.

Visitors and Cost

On the day Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, 10,000 people entered the Happiest Place on Earth. Today, more than 47 million people go to Walt Disney World every year. The Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world, with more than 17 million visitors.

And, despite what Disney CEO Bob Iger says, the cost of a Disney World vacation is still prohibitive for most families. Since 1989, a four-day Park Hopper pass cost has nearly doubled. The average price for a six-night, seven-day break at a moderate hotel is over $6,000.

Beach Pool Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Disney

To stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort, like the Grand Floridian or Beach Club, a bare room costs $900 a night, with rooms with views costing well over $1,000. This cost has put Disney World Resort out of reach for most families.

Revenues and Cast Members

Disney’s revenues and profits have skyrocketed despite the cost or perhaps because of it. After suffering a drastic downturn in 2020 because of the pandemic, Disney saw $28.7 billion in revenue in 2022. That equates to $7.9 billion in profit.

But these record profits have not trickled down to the cast members. Despite winning wage increases in their last negotiation with Disney, cast members still make below the average cost of living in the Orlando area. To live in a two-bedroom apartment in Orlando, you must make $31 an hour. Cast members earn $17.

Disney Cast Members

Credit: Disney Fanatic

Former Cast Member Jessica told Vox:

There was a significant amount of time when I was employed, working full-time hours and I was actually homeless, living in my car in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. 

When you look at it by the numbers, you can see the mind-blowing scale of Disney World. Perhaps it is why Disney fans keep returning to the Disney Parks year after year. We can’t wait to see what Walt Disney Imagineering has in store for us as the Disney World Resort grows.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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