The 50-Year Evolution of Walt Disney World in Maps
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Mapped: The 50-Year Evolution of Walt Disney World

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walt disney world master plan 1982

Walt Disney World Master Plan (circa 1982) with the Magic Kingdom in the top–left and Epcot under construction in the center.

The 50-Year Evolution of Walt Disney World in Maps

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney was riding high on the success of Disneyland in California.

Disneyland had a problem though. Only a small fraction of its guests were from the East Coast of the U.S., which meant Disney was missing out on a huge potential audience for his theme park. To expand the company’s reach and scope, he began looking for a location that would match his grand ambitions, and Florida, with its abundance of cheap land and warm climate was a natural choice.

On November 22, 1963—coincidentally the day JFK was assassinated—Walt flew over to the Orlando to do some location scouting. At the time, most of the area was swampland, though there was one area adjacent to an under-construction highway that caught his attention.

Using shell companies to preserve his anonymity (and to keep the price down), Disney began acquiring the sprawling properties that would become today’s Walt Disney World (WDW).

Walt Disney World: The First Iteration

When Walt Disney World finally opened in 1971, it included the main Magic Kingdom site, as well as two golf courses and two hotels—Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian Village Resort. These areas were all connected by a monorail system.

disney world map 1971

As these maps depict, there was a plan to develop three unique themed zones around the Seven Seas Lagoon: Persian, Asian, and Venetian.

However, these projects were scrapped after the 1973 oil crisis as tourism declined.

seven seas lagoon disney world 1971 plan map

The original master plan for Walt Disney World did not include plans for the Seven Seas Lagoon, and it was likely added so that the displaced earth could be used to fortify swampy sections of the property to make them suitable for building.

Epcot Expansion

The first major Disney World expansion was Epcot Center, which opened in 1982. The site, which was twice as big as the Magic Kingdom, is best described as a permanent world’s fair.

The park was anchored by Future World and “Spaceship Earth”, the iconic geodesic sphere structure that sat at the entrance of the park.

disney world epcot map 1982

Surrounding the nearby lake were pavilions themed after various locations in the world.

Though the scope of Epcot was impressive at the time, it was still vastly scaled down from Walt Disney’s original vision for a fully functioning “city of the future”. Ultimately, the company was uncertain about the feasibility of operating a functional city, so the idea was scrapped in favor of the current iteration.

Hollywood Comes to Florida

Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989, in a location just south of Epcot. The park featured “imagined worlds from film, television, music, and theater, drawing inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood”.

To make this happen, Disney entered into a licensing agreement with MGM to help increase the variety of film representation within the park.

walt disney world hollywood studios map 1990

Approximately 11 million visitors pass through Hollywood Studios every year.

Animal Kingdom and Rapid Expansion

In 1998, WDW added a fourth theme park called Animal Kingdom. It’s the largest theme park in the world, covering 580 acres, and combines elements of both a zoo and theme park.

A central feature of Animal Kingdom is the massive Tree of Life. The 145 foot tall work of art contains 325 unique animal carvings and over 100,000 artificial leaves. The park itself features about 2,000 animals representing 300 species.

Around 13 million people visit the theme park each year.

Walt Disney World Today

So, how big is Walt Disney World today? 43 square miles, which is about the same area as San Francisco and and twice the size of Manhattan.

The scale of today’s WDW has fully eclipsed the original version of the site. The resort, which featured two hotels in 1971, now has more than 20, with 30,000 hotel rooms. WDW is also the largest single site employer in the United States.

Looking at the map above, one might wonder whether this sprawling entertainment empire is bursting at the seams. Will WDW eventually build over its entire property? The answer is somewhat complicated.

What’s Missing from Walt Disney World Maps?

While the stylized maps above do a great job of highlighting WDW’s many attractions, they generally downplay an important fact. Much of the land owned by Disney is still undeveloped, and there is a lot of space between the various parks. Much of this space is earmarked as conservation areas, and only some of the remaining land is actually suitable for development. Despite the sheer size of the property occupied by WDW, space for expansion grows increasingly scarce with each new development.

The stylized maps also downplay the size of WDW’s parking lots, which are extensive. The Magic Kingdom parking lot, for example, is actually larger than the theme park itself.

The giant map below is an accurate representation of the park’s layout, and includes facts on some of the attributes of the park.

This enormous land parcel is also unique in that it’s a kind of self-governing municipality, with its own fire department and emergency services. The district—officially known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District—is governed by a five-person Board of Supervisors elected by the landowners in the district. As a result, high-level Disney employees essentially run the entire region encompassing WDW.

In the 50 years since the Magic Kingdom first opened its turnstiles, Disney’s own kingdom in Central Florida has transformed dramatically. With Disney’s continued financial success and the freedom to make large-scale moves within their property, the next 50 years will no doubt bring more dramatic changes to the world’s biggest theme park.

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Which Countries Have the Most Similar Values?

Where you’re from greatly influencers how you view the world. Here’s a look at the core values in 94 different countries.

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Country Values

Which Countries Value the Same Things?

Our culture can have significant impacts on our belief systems and our values.

In fact, research has shown that our cultural influences can rewire our brains, which can impact our visual perceptions and how we view the world around us.

Because of this, where we’re from can greatly influence what we prioritize in life. This graphic by Anders Sundell illustrates the primary values of 94 different countries, and highlights which places share similar values.

Methodology

Sundell used data from the World Values Survey, an international survey that interviews hundreds of thousands of participants from across the globe.

For the purposes of this graphic, Sundell focused on one specific section of the survey that asked respondents to rate various aspects of their life on a scale of one (very important) to four (not important at all). Six aspects were included: family, friends, leisure time, politics, work, and religion.

From there, Sundell calculated the median score for each country and identified their primary value, then grouped them based on their similarities. On this netgraph, each country is connected to three other countries that share the most similar values.

Generally speaking, countries that prioritize friends and leisure are concentrated on the far left of the graphic, whereas countries that value religion and work fall more to the right.

Each Country’s Primary Values

Interestingly, family came first for all 94 countries—except Indonesia, where religion was considered most important.

Because of this, Sundell identified each country’s primary value besides family, which was much more diverse across the board:

Abbr.CountryContinentPrimary Value (Exc. Family)
AL🇦🇱 AlbaniaEuropeWork
AD🇦🇩 AndorraEuropeLeisure
AR🇦🇷 ArgentinaSouth AmericaWork
AM🇦🇲 ArmeniaAsiaWork
AU🇦🇺 AustraliaOceaniaFriends
AT🇦🇹 AustriaEuropeFriends
AZ🇦🇿 AzerbaijanAsiaWork
BD🇧🇩 BangladeshAsiaReligion
BY🇧🇾 BelarusEuropeWork
BO🇧🇴 BoliviaSouth AmericaWork
BA🇧🇦 Bosnia and HerzegovinaEuropeWork
BR🇧🇷 BrazilSouth AmericaWork
BG🇧🇬 BulgariaEuropeWork
CA🇨🇦 CanadaNorth AmericaLeisure
CL🇨🇱 ChileSouth AmericaLeisure
CN🇨🇳 ChinaAsiaWork
CO🇨🇴 ColombiaSouth AmericaWork
HR🇭🇷 CroatiaEuropeWork
CY🇨🇾 CyprusEuropeFriends
CZ🇨🇿 Czech RepublicEuropeFriends
DK🇩🇰 DenmarkEuropeFriends
EC🇪🇨 EcuadorSouth AmericaWork
EG🇪🇬 EgyptAfricaReligion
EE🇪🇪 EstoniaEuropeFriends
ET🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfricaReligion
FI🇫🇮 FinlandEuropeLeisure
FR🇫🇷 FranceEuropeWork
GE🇬🇪 GeorgiaAsiaWork
DE🇩🇪 GermanyEuropeFriends
GH🇬🇭 GhanaAfricaWork
GR🇬🇷 GreeceEuropeWork
GT🇬🇹 GuatemalaNorth AmericaWork
HT🇭🇹 HaitiNorth AmericaWork
HK🇭🇰 Hong KongAsiaFriends
HU🇭🇺 HungaryEuropeFriends
IS🇮🇸 IcelandEuropeFriends
IN🇮🇳 IndiaAsiaWork
ID🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsiaReligion
IR🇮🇷 IranAsiaWork
IQ🇮🇶 IraqAsiaReligion
IT🇮🇹 ItalyEuropeWork
JP🇯🇵 JapanAsiaLeisure
JO🇯🇴 JordanAsiaReligion
KZ🇰🇿 KazakhstanAsiaWork
KW🇰🇼 KuwaitAsiaReligion
KG🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanAsiaFriends
LB🇱🇧 LebanonAsiaWork
LY🇱🇾 LibyaAfricaReligion
LT🇱🇹 LithuaniaEuropeWork
MO🇲🇴 MacaoAsiaFriends
MY🇲🇾 MalaysiaAsiaReligion
MX🇲🇽 MexicoNorth AmericaWork
ME🇲🇪 MontenegroEuropeWork
MA🇲🇦 MoroccoAfricaReligion
MM🇲🇲 MyanmarAsiaReligion
NL🇳🇱 NetherlandsEuropeFriends
NZ🇳🇿 New ZealandOceaniaFriends
NI🇳🇮 NicaraguaNorth AmericaWork
NG🇳🇬 NigeriaAfricaReligion
MK🇲🇰 North MacedoniaEuropeWork
NO🇳🇴 NorwayEuropeFriends
PK🇵🇰 PakistanEuropeReligion
PE🇵🇪 PeruSouth AmericaWork
PH🇵🇭 PhilippinesAsiaWork
PL🇵🇱 PolandEuropeWork
PT🇵🇹 PortugalEuropeWork
PR🇵🇷 Puerto RicoNorth AmericaWork
QA🇶🇦 QatarAsiaReligion
RO🇷🇴 RomaniaEuropeWork
RU🇷🇺 RussiaAsiaFriends
RW🇷🇼 RwandaAfricaFriends
RS🇷🇸 SerbiaEuropeFriends
SG🇸🇬 SingaporeAsiaFriends
SK🇸🇰 SlovakiaEuropeWork
SI🇸🇮 SloveniaEuropeWork
ZA🇿🇦 South AfricaAfricaWork
KR🇰🇷 South KoreaAsiaFriends
ES🇪🇸 SpainEuropeWork
SE🇸🇪 SwedenEuropeFriends
CH🇨🇭 SwitzerlandEuropeFriends
TW🇹🇼 TaiwanAsiaWork
TJ🇹🇯 TajikistanAsiaReligion
TH🇹🇭 ThailandAsiaWork
TT🇹🇹 Trinidad and TobagoSouth AmericaReligion
TN🇹🇳 TunisiaAfricaReligion
TR🇹🇷 TurkeyAsiaFriends
UA🇺🇦 UkraineEuropeWork
GB🇬🇧 United KingdomEuropeFriends
US🇺🇸 United StatesNorth AmericaFriends
UY🇺🇾 UruguaySouth AmericaWork
UZ🇺🇿 UzbekistanAsiaWork
VN🇻🇳 VietnamAsiaWork
YE🇾🇪 YemenAsiaReligion
ZW🇿🇼 ZimbabweAfricaWork

After family, work was the most valued, with 46 different countries identifying it as their second-highest priority. Friends came second, followed by religion, and then lastly, leisure.

Work

Almost half of the countries on the list perceive work as the most important aspect of their lives, apart from family.

South American countries, in particular, put an emphasis on work, with seven of nine South American countries valuing work over friends and politics. The only outliers on the continent were Chile (leisure), and Trinidad and Tobago (religion).

Friends

Friends were identified as a top priority in 25 of the 94 countries on the list. Europe in particular valued friendship, especially in Norway and Sweden.

While these Nordic countries prioritize their existing friendships, research shows that they aren’t generally keen on making new ones. A global survey found that expats in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark found it extremely difficult to make new friends.

Religion

18 of the 94 countries ranked religion as a top value.

These countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, are predominantly Islamic except for a few. For instance, in Trinidad and Tobago, the largest religious group is Christianity.

Leisure

Only five countries on the list ranked leisure as a top priority—Japan, Canada, Andorra, Chile, and Finland. Finland takes leisure seriously. Its capital, Helsinki, was recognized as the number one city in the world for work-life balance. And Canada’s capital, Ottawa, ranked sixth on the ranking.

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24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality

The world isn’t as it seems—here are some of the most important cognitive biases that are messing with how you think the world works, and why.

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We are each entitled to our own personal world view.

But unfortunately, when it comes to interpreting information and trying to make objective sense of reality, human brains are hard-wired to make all kinds of mental mistakes that can impact our ability to make rational judgments.

In total, there are over 180 cognitive biases that interfere with how we process data, think critically, and perceive reality.

Flawed Human Reasoning

There is no simple way to get around these basic human instincts, but one thing that we can do is understand the specific mistakes we make and why.

Today’s infographic comes to us from School of Thought, a non-profit dedicated to spreading critical thinking. The graphic describes 24 of the key biases that warp our sense of reality, providing useful examples along the way.

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality

At the beginning of the infographic, you may have noticed illustrations of two gentlemen.

In case you were wondering, those happen to represent Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two of the leading social scientists known for their contributions to this field. Not only did they pioneer work around cognitive biases starting in the late 1960s, but their partnership also resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

Biases Distorting Reality

Here are some of the biases we found most interesting from the list:

Declinism:
You remember the past as better than it was, and expect the future to be worse than it is likely to be. This is an interesting one, since statistically this is one of the most peaceful and prosperous times in history—yet the 24-hour news cycle rarely reflects this. (For a good example how the world is improving, see these six charts)

Just World Hypothesis:
Your preference for a just world makes you presume that it exists. Of course, it’s much more uncomfortable to think that the world is unfair, but by understanding this you will make more accurate judgments about people and situations.

Belief Bias
If a conclusion supports your existing beliefs, you’ll rationalize anything that supports it. In other words, instead of willingly looking at new information, we are primed to defend our own ideas without actually questioning them.

Framing Effect:
Context and delivery can have a big impact on how a story is interpreted. We must have the humility to recognize that we can be manipulated, and work to limit the effect that framing has on our critical thinking.

The Curse of Knowledge
Ever try to explain something you know intricately and have worked on for many years? It’s hard, because you’ve internalized everything you’ve learned, and now you forget how to explain it. This bias is similar—you know something inside and out, and what is obvious to you is not to others.

Reactance:
Sometimes we all get the urge to do the opposite of what we’re told. Nobody likes being constrained. The only problem is that when we’re in this situation, there is a tendency to overreact and to throw any logic out of the window.

Spotlight Effect:
Because we each live inside our own heads, our natural focus is on what we’re thinking and doing. We project this onto others, and we overestimate how much they notice about how we look or how we act.

Want to see more on cognitive biases? Here are 188 of them in one infographic.

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