Walt Disney was a genius at creating fantasy worlds full of fun and magic, and this is the theme that the he could created at the first Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California. There was little magic though when it first opened in 1955 since on opening day it was grossly overcrowded, far too hot, the plumbers were on strike so there was a water shortage and many of the guests shouldn't have been there anyway because they had counterfeit tickets! However Walt was not only a great showman but also a superb organiser and the resort is now the second most visited one in the world with nearly 15 million visitors every year.
Sadly Disney died five years before Disney World at Orlando opened but it has now grown to be the biggest and most visited resort in the world, containing no less than four theme, and three water parks; 23 hotels and many, many other facilities for eating and shopping! It is little wonder that when the resort was first begun it could have sparked a huge building boom right across the county so the land was bought up piece by piece by the Disney Corporation using a number of shell companies so as to obscure the ultimate ownership. Since much of the land was pretty swampy to start with the prices that the companies had to pay was not terribly great and after it had been drained the original resort covered more than 46 square miles, although a lot of land has since been sold off for development.
The theme parks include the Magic Kingdom; Disney's Hollywood Studios; Disney's Animal Kingdom; And Spaceship Earth. There is a bewildering list of other attractions which include Disney's Boardwalk, Blizzard Beach, Richard Petty Driving Experience, And Disney's Wedding Pavilion and originally the resort had its own runway, until the nearby McCoy Air Force Base became Orlando International Airport. Visitors can be picked up from the airport and then transported straight to their hotels using the Magical Express Bus Service whilst watching it a video to familiarise them with the resort.
Another Disneyland was opened near to Tokyo is under licence from the Disney Corporation and then in 1992 Disney World Paris (formerly known as Euro Disney Resort) opened its doors for the first time to a less than rapturous reception. Many prominent French leaders had opposed the project from the start, and attendances were well down on expectation but within three years it was showing a profit and it is now one of the leading tourist destinations in Europe, with around 15 million visitors annually.