Skip to Content

What year did Disney World open?

What year did Disney World open?

The official opening of the Walt Disney World Resort occurred on October 1, 1971. On this day, Magic Kingdom opened its gates for the first time, along with the Polynesian Village Resort and the Contemporary Resort.

But, the real answer to the question “What year did Disney World open?” is a little tricky because Walt Disney World consists of theme parks, water parks, resorts, and a shopping district that have all opened up on different dates over the years.

And let’s not forget, since Disney World first opened their doors in 1971, that means that they will celebrate their 50th anniversary on October 1, 2021.

The 50th anniversary celebration, titled “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” is scheduled to last until April of 2023.

Read about what to expect in our Complete Guide to the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Disney World.

Walt Disney World Opening Dates (Timeline)

Want to see when some of your other favorites at Walt Disney World opened up?

Take a look at the timeline below!

Important opening dates at Disney World

1971Magic Kingdom – October 1, 1971
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – October 1, 1971
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – October 1, 1971
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – November 19, 1971
1975Disney Springs (originally called Lake Buena Vista Shopping Area) – 1975
1982Epcot – October 1, 1982
1988Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – June 28, 1988
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – October 1, 1988
1989Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly called MGM Studios) – May 1, 1989
Typhoon Lagoon – June 1, 1989
1990Walt Disney World Swan – January 13, 1990
Walt Disney World Dolphin – June 1, 1990
Disney’s Yacht Club – November 5, 1990
Disney’s Beach Club – November 19, 1990
1991Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter – May 17, 1991
Disney’s Vacation Club (DVC) is launched – December 20, 1991
Disney’s Old Key West Resort (DVC) – December 20, 1991
1992Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside (originally called Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort) – February 2, 1992
1994Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – April 29, 1994
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – May 28, 1994
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – November 22, 1994
1995Blizzard Beach – April 1, 1995
1996Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Boardwalk Villas (DVC) – July 1, 1996
1997Disney’s Wild World of Sports Complex – March 28, 1997
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – August 1, 1997
1998Disney’s Animal Kingdom – April 11, 1998
1999Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort – January 15, 1999
2000Disney’s Boulder Ridge Villas (DVC) (originally called The Villas at Wilderness Lodge) – November 15, 2000
2001Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – April 16, 2001
2002Disney’s Beach Club Villas (DVC) – July 1, 2002
2003Disney’s Pop Century Resort – December 14, 2003
2004Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (DVC) – May 17, 2004
2007Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo (DVC) – Summer 2007
2009Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani (DVC) – May 1, 2009
Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs (DVC) – June 1, 2009
Bay Lake Tower (DVC) – August 4, 2009
2012Disney’s Art of Animation – May 31, 2012
2013Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (DVC) – October 23, 2013
2015Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (DVC) – April 1, 2015
2017Disney’s Copper Creek Cabins at Wilderness Lodge (DVC) – July 17, 2017
2019Disney’s Riviera Resort (DVC) – December 16, 2019
2022Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser – exact date tbd
Walt Mickey Magic Kingdom

After the initial opening of Walt Disney World in October 1971, many new resorts, parks, and experiences opened over the years.

Epcot was the second theme park at Disney World, opening 11 years after Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1982.

This was followed by MGM Studios (now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios) opening on May 1, 1989 and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998.

Epcot Entrance

There are currently two Disney water parks on property. The first, Typhoon Lagoon, opened on June 1, 1989 and boasts one of the largest wave pools in the country. Blizzard Beach, the other Disney water park, opened on April 1, 1995 and is themed to a melting ski resort.

In addition, the Disney World resort has expanded from 2 resorts to include over 25 different on-site resorts, Each is impeccably themed and there are options to fit any budget and preference.

Pop Century Mickey telephone

Lastly, Disney World has a fantastic shopping district that originally opened in 1975. At the time of opening, the district was called the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village.

The shopping district has expanded and experienced plenty of change over the years since its initial opening. After being called Downtown Disney for quite some time, it is now known as Disney Springs and features world-class dining, shopping and entertainment.