At over 20,000 acres, Walt Disney World is by far the largest of the six Disney Resort Parks around the globe. It is made up of four theme parks, two water parks, one outdoor mall area (Disney Springs), a sports complex (ESPN), two mini golf areas, over thirty on-site hotels, and over 300 dining and beverage options. With the most expansive offering of separate theme parks and lands out of all the Disney Parks around the globe, Florida’s version certainly lives up to its title of “World”.
The entirety of Walt Disney World is technically referred to as a Resort (Walt Disney World Resort), but you may also hear it called Walt Disney World Theme Park or just simply, Disney World. Within Walt Disney World Resort, there are four main parks, and each of these parks have their own areas or “lands” within them (see below). There are also two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach – on property, as well at the Disney Springs shopping and dining area and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Disney hotels located onsite are also referred to as Resorts, and each have different theming and Disney-related benefits (Extra Magic Hours, free bus transportation to the parks, etc.).
Due to the global health crisis, some of the experiences and features listed below are currently unavailable. For more info on the current changes to the parks and which attractions and entertainment are currently operating, see our post about Walt Disney World’s reopening phase.
The Walt Disney World Parks
There are currently four parks in Walt Disney World:
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
Magic Kingdom was the first to open in 1971, followed by EPCOT in 1982, Hollywood Studios (originally know as “Disney–MGM Studios”) in 1989, and Animal Kingdom in 1998.
Though it is the smallest of the four parks in acreage, Magic Kingdom is the biggest park in the amount of “lands” and attractions it offers. Magic Kingdom is comprised of six main areas or lands, which are placed in a wheel spoke pattern around Cinderella Castle. These six lands are:
- Main Street USA
- Liberty Square
Magic Kingdom is home to some of Walt Disney World’s most famous rides, including “it’s a small world”, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Space Mountain.
See our Guide to Magic Kingdom page to learn more about this park!
The second largest park in Walt Disney World is EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and is loosely based off of an idea that Walt himself had for an ever-growing community. EPCOT is currently divided into two main sections, which are Future World and World Showcase.
Future World, which is located at the front of the park near the entrance, will soon be replaced by three new “neighborhoods” once EPCOT’s reimagining is complete. These three new future sections will be:
- World Discovery
- World Nature
- World Celebration
Disney has not yet announced when this transformation of Future World to these three neighborhoods will be completed, but construction has already begun.
World Showcase circles the World Showcase Lagoon, and this entire area will more or less remain the same after the reimagining of the park is complete. This area features eleven specially themed pavilions that represent various countries from around the world and are located around the lagoon in a circular pattern:
- America (The American Adventure)
- United Kingdom
There are two entrances to World Showcase – one is located in Future World at the front of the park and the other is located at the International Gateway near the France Pavilion in World Showcase. The International Gateway is connected to Disney’s Boardwalk and it also the location of Epcot’s Skyliner station.
See our Guide to EPCOT page to learn more about this park!
Disney’s MGM Studios opened in 1989, and in 2008 its name was officially changed to Hollywood Studios (not to be confused with Universal Studios, which is not a Disney Park and not owned by Disney). Hollywood Studios is currently divided into nine main areas:
- Hollywood Boulevard
- Sunset Boulevard
- Animation Courtyard
- Echo Lake
- Commissary Lane
- Grand Avenue
- Pixar Place
- Toy Story Land
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Hollywood Studios is home to two of Walt Disney World’s newest and most popular lands – Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – and several of the newest attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
See our Guide to Hollywood Studios to learn more about this park!
Opening in 1998 at around 500 acres, Animal Kingdom is the largest of the all the Disney Parks and features the most unique design. While it is not a traditional zoo, this park does feature numerous animal exhibits alongside rollercoasters and full musical productions.
Animal Kingdom is currently divided into seven main areas:
- Discovery Island
- DinoLand U.S.A.
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Pandora – The World of Avatar
Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in 2017 and continues to be one of Walt Disney World’s most popular lands. It features two popular rides, Navi River Journey and Pandora Flight of Passage.
See our Guide to Animal Kingdom to learn more about this park!
Take a look at our individual Park Guides for more detailed overviews of each of Walt Disney World’s four parks!
We try to update the information on this page as often as possible, but Disney frequently makes changes and updates to their parks and offerings. Because of this, the information in this post was current at the time of publishing and is subject to change at any moment. We always recommend double checking the official Walt Disney World website before planning your trip.Last Updated October 24, 2020