You can have fun at many Disney parks around the world. The Imagineering team at Disney is constantly innovating and coming up with amazing new attractions at the various Disney properties. Every Disney park is unique and incorporates local culture while remaining true to beloved Disney traditions. Fans will never feel out of place at any Disney park – the iconic Cinderella Castle is always there to welcome guests. It’s a bucket list item for many Disney fans to visit every Disney theme park on earth. If you’ve got any such ambitions, you might want to start with the biggest (and best?). So, what is the biggest Disney Park?
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is the largest Disney park in the world. It has four theme parks within it – Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. There are also two water parks, entertainment, dining, and shopping locations, and much, much more.
Keep reading to learn some interesting facts about Disney’s biggest park, Walt Disney World in Florida. And if you are a WDW veteran and want to visit some of the other Disney parks around the world, we’ve got some interesting info on all of them!
Which is the largest Disney theme park in the world?
The largest Disney theme park in the world is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, which has been around since the 1970s. Speculation was rife in the mid-1960s when an unknown person or corporation began buying vast lots of land in Central Florida at staggeringly high prices. Some thought it was NASA expanding the space program, while others believed it was Howard Hughes. In 1965, Walt Disney made a grand announcement to build a magnificent theme park in Orlando that would be considerably bigger than the existing Disney park, Disneyland California. Walt Disney World Florida, the largest Disney theme park globally, opened on October 1, 1971.
The cost of building WDW was $400 million at the time. The park employed 13,000 people and drew 20 million visitors in the first two years. Starting with Magic Kingdom in 1971, Walt Disney World grew by leaps and bounds, adding Epcot in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) in 1989, and Typhoon Lagoon in 1989. Next came Blizzard Beach in the mid-1990s, followed by Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998. Here are 5 fun facts about Walt Disney World, the biggest Disney theme park in the world:
25,000 acres or 110 square kilometers (that’s bigger than some countries).
Time it took to build Disney World
Number of visitors
10,000 on the first day; 400,000 the first month; currently Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world with an annual attendance estimated at 40-60 million.
Number of attractions
26 on opening day in 1971, 49 rides currently
Number of hotel rooms on Disney World properties
More than 30,000 rooms in 25+ resort hotels (it would take over 80 years to sleep in every room!).
Which is the biggest theme park in Disney World?
The biggest theme park in Disney World is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are a total of four theme parks, two water parks, and an amazing array of entertainment areas in Disney World. Here’s how they score size-wise:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 630 acres
Epcot: 299 acres
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 136 acres
Disney Springs: 120 acres
Magic Kingdom: 106 acres
Blizzard Beach: 66 acres
Typhoon Lagoon: 56 acres
Which is the biggest Disney park after Disney World?
Shanghai Disneyland comes in at #2 on the list of biggest Disney parks. As mentioned, Disney World Florida is by far the biggest Disney park anywhere on the planet. Here’s how the other Disney parks fare in terms of size (plus some interesting info if you’re planning on visiting).
Shanghai Disneyland, China
At 963 acres, Shanghai Disneyland in China is the second biggest Disney park in the world (the Magic Kingdom-like area at this park is 225 acres, which is double the size of Magic Kingdom in Orlando).
Shanghai Disneyland is also the newest Disney park (as of 2021), having opened in the summer of 2016. The park has a distinctly Chinese theme but is authentically Disney with seven themed areas, namely Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, and Toy Story Land.
Shanghai Disneyland features the biggest Cinderella Castle of all the Disney parks with all the princesses in attendance. Interestingly, Pepsi is served at Shanghai Disneyland instead of Coca-Cola like the rest of the Disney parks. Also, it’s the only park with the Tron roller coaster, the fastest coaster on Disney property (Tron is set to debut at Walt Disney World Florida in time for the park’s 50th anniversary in October 2021).
Disneyland Resort, California
Next on our list (#3) is the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, coming in at 500 acres (this means WDW in Florida can fit 50 Disneylands!). When it opened in 1955, Disneyland was a fraction of its size today with only 18 attractions (there are currently more than 60 attractions in Disneyland California, the most of any other Disney theme park). In 2019, before the Covid pandemic hit, the park had an annual attendance of nearly 19 million visitors.
A bit of interesting trivia about Disneyland California – both Michelle Pfeiffer and Steve Martin have worked here – Pfeiffer was a princess and Martin a magician.
Disneyland Paris, France
The 4th biggest Disney theme park in the world is spread across 140 acres and is located about 20 miles from Paris city center. Disneyland Paris opened in 1992 under the name Euro Disney. Disney chose this location (rather than some place warmer in Europe) because Paris is 4 hours by road and 2 hours by flight for more than 300 million Europeans.
The Cinderella Castle at Disneyland Paris is unique in that it is inspired by the Mont Saint-Michel. Also, the castle has a distinctly pink hue to appear bright and cheery against the Paris skies which are often grey and overcast. Another fun fact – Disneyland Paris is home to a retinue of cats that keep the rodent population under control!
Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan
Coming in at #5 is Tokyo Disneyland in Japan with 113 acres of land area. When it opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was Disney’s first international theme park. Given Japan’s excellent public transportation system, it featured the smallest parking lot on any Disney property.
There’s no Liberty Square in Tokyo Disneyland, but fans of The Haunted Mansion can find this attraction in Fantasyland. Another unique thing about Tokyo Disneyland – because there’s a World Bazaar at the entrance, the Western River Railroad doesn’t encircle the park – instead it takes guests into the wilderness, chugging through the jungles of Adventureland.
Hong Kong Disneyland, China
At 68 acres, Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disney park in the world. It opened in 2005 and welcomes some 6 million guests each year. The Cinderella Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland is the only one in the world with a real mountain as a backdrop. And while it may not be the biggest Disney park in the world, it’s the most botanically diverse. There are with more than 400 types of shrubs and trees here. Hong Kong Disneyland park celebrates the unique culture of Hong Kong. But it also has many iconic features that Disney fans love, including Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Toy Story Land, Tomorrowland, and attractions like Space Mountain and Slinky Dog Spin.
Can’t wait to tick off every Disney park from your bucket list? Where do you want to start – from the smallest or the biggest Disney park in the world? Wherever you decide to go, each Disney park has a unique charm and as Disney fans you will not be disappointed.