Since the original Disneyland in Florida swung open its gates way back in 1971, its been a success story on an unprecedented scale. Disney paved the way for the mega-parks that followed and although many of its ideas have been mimicked, no other franchise has come close to perfecting the Disney recipe for success.
As if to ram home the Disney World of dominance, 2014 theme park visitor numbers show Disney's Magic Kingdom topping the table with a whopping 19,332,000 visitors for the year. But it's not until you continue down the list that you get a real sense of Disney's domination. In second place is Tokyo Disneyland, third is California Disneyland, in fourth it's Tokyo Disney Sea. It's not until Universal Studios Japan chimes in, in fifth place that the Disney straight flush of the top ten is denied. In case you're wondering, places six through ten are filled by Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris and Disneyland California Adventure Park.
So what is the Disney recipe for success?
Well for starters, Disney's popular cast of characters have not only endured but thrived. New additions to the ever-growing Disney family — since Mickey, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and co. first welcomed visitors back in the seventies — include characters from mega-hit movie franchises such as Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Frozen and Finding Nemo. None have done any harm to the Disney dynasty. But it's generations of Disney marketing on the back of its big screen successes that has kept the franchise ahead of the pack.
Ask any five year old where they'd like to holiday this summer and I'm betting seven out of ten would scream "Disneyland" at the top of their lungs. And it's been that way for decades.
Unless you've visited, it's difficult to understand the scale and magnitude of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. So let's break it all down a little. Lay down some Disney definitions and paint a picture with some Disney facts and figures.
In effect Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is not one theme park but four — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The Disney World Resort covers some 27,258 acres, that's 43 square miles or 111 square kilometres. As well as the four theme parks, that space also plays home to 27 themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney affiliated chain hotels, a couple of water parks, four 18 hole and one nine hole golf courses.
Now I'm not claiming to have dined at even a small percentage of them, but across the four resorts there's 318 dining options available not to mention a plethora of watering holes.
So you can see a Disney ticket serves up a lot of bang for your buck. Keep in mind there's a bunch of different Disneyland Florida entry tickets available. When you've squared away the dates for your Disney adventure, it's well worth sitting down with your family and plotting a basic itinerary. Remain flexible and be prepared to change things last minute but at least you'll have an idea of what it is you definitely must see. With so much on offer, good luck with choosing.