News report | | 16/05/2022 | ±3 minutes reading time

Until March 2023, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was the second Disney park to open after the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. To visit the Disney parks in the United States, travellers from outside America need an ESTA. This is an electronic travel authorisation that is linked to a passport.

Disney World 50The Cinderella castle in Disney World decorated for the 50th anniversary.

Origins of Walt Disney World

Walt Disney had created Disneyland with the idea of a magical place where both children and adults would enjoy themselves. In 1960, Walt Disney started his plans for Disney World in Florida, but when he died in 1966, his brother stepped forward to realise Walt’s dream. With the help of Roy O. Disney, the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) in 1982, Hollywood Studios in 1989 and Animal Kingdom in 1998. With an average number of visitors of 58 million, Walt Disney World was the most visited holiday resort in 2018.

The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom park consists of four large themed areas, each decorated in such a way that you really feel as if you’re part of that world. Tomorrowland paints a futuristic picture as conceived in the 70s and 80s. This is where, among others, the Space Mountain rollercoaster and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin can be found. In Fantasyland, the Disney fairytales come to life. You will find a lot of family attractions here, such as a water ride leading you through the story of The Little Mermaid and a train that takes you through the mines of The Seven Dwarfs. The most famous attraction here is It’s a Small World. Passing Liberty Square, you arrive in Frontierland. The stories of the Wild West with Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion are connected with each other. The last one is Adventureland. Here you can find the more quiet attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise, that was made into a film by Disney in 2021.

At the end of the day, there is a big end-of-day show at Cinderella’s castle to mark the 50th anniversary. This can be seen from the large square at the end of Main Street., the festivities include fireworks, projections on the castle, and music from all the well known Disney films. In this square, several parades take place during the day, with Disney characters passing by in floats.

EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom

EPCOT is twice as big as Magic Kingdom and has changed a lot over the years. The park was always supposed to paint a picture of the future, but due to the fast developments in the world, it was soon no longer up to date. The purpose of this park is, apart from providing entertainment, largely educational. Here, young and old can learn about technology, science, space, travel, nature and much more. The largest part of the park is the World Showcase, where 11 countries are exhibited in miniature with their culture, cuisine, and architecture.

Hollywood Studios is packed with attractions for young and old. Children have plenty of rollercoasters to choose from in Toy Story Land and can enjoy several live shows featuring their favourite Disney/Pixar characters. Two well-known attractions are the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. There is also a whole area dedicated to Star Wars with various attractions.

In the Animal Kingdom, there are numerous attractions to be found in between the animals. From Asia to Africa and from the jungle to the land of Avatar, Pandora. In the centre of the park, you can find the large Tree of Life, which in the evening is illuminated in many colours.

Visa for America

For a tourist trip to America, travellers need to apply for an ESTA. This electronic travel authorisation can easily be applied for online. In most cases, the ESTA will be approved within three days. In case of an urgent application, it can usually get approved within an hour.