Disney's first theme park was Disneyland, located in Anaheim California. Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. In the 1970s, the Walt Disney Company developed its Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Division after the construction of the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Since its founding in 1971, the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Division has been responsible for expanding its original Disney parks and building new parks all over the world. For example, Disney's original park, Disneyland, was expanded to include Disney's California Adventure Park in 2001.
The following is a list of the Disney parks located around the world and a short summary of what each park includes:
• Disneyland Resort: This is the first Disney resort and is located in Anaheim, California. It opened in 1955 but has been expanded since and now includes Disney's California Adventure Park, Downtown Disney and luxury hotels such as the Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel.
• Walt Disney World Resort: This resort was Disney's second project in Orlando, Florida and is an expansion of the Magic Kingdom which opened in 1971. Today its theme parks include the original Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. In addition, there are water parks, shopping centers, and a large variety of hotels and resorts at or near this Disney location.
• Tokyo Disney Resort: This was the first Disney resort to open outside of the United States. It opened in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan in 1983 as Tokyo Disneyland. It was expanded in 2001 to include Tokyo DisneySea which features a nautical, underwater theme. Like the U.S. locations, Tokyo Disney has a large shopping center and luxury resort hotels. In addition, the resort is said to have one of the largest parking structures in the world.
• Disney Paris: Disney Paris opened under the name Euro Disney in 1992. It is located in the Paris suburb of Marne-la-Vallée and has two theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park), a golf course and many different resort hotels. Disney Paris also has a large shopping center called Disney Village.
• Hong Kong Disneyland Resort: This 320 acre park is located in Penny's Bay on Lantau Island, Hong Kong and opened in 2005. It consists of one theme park and two hotels (Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel). The park has plans to expand in the future.
• Shanghai Disneyland Resort: The most recent Disney Park is in Shanghai. It was approved by the government of China in 2009 and is expected to open in 2014.
• Disney Cruise Line: The Disney Cruise Line was developed in 1995. It currently operates two ships- one of which is called Disney Magic and the other is Disney Wonder. They began operating in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Each of these ships travels to the Caribbean and have a port of call at Disney's Castaway Cay Island in the Bahamas. The Disney Cruise Line plans to add two more ships in 2011 and 2012.
In addition to the above mentioned theme parks and resorts, Walt Disney's Parks and Resorts Division has plans to open additional parks in Europe and Asia. It also has plans to expand several existing parks such as the Hong Kong and Paris locations.
For more information, visit the About.com Theme Parks site for comprehensive information about Disney Theme Parks
Wikipedia. (2010, March 17). Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_Parks_and_Resorts