Walt Disney World Construction Timeline

We all have to start somewhere!

With Walt Disney World, there are huge milestones between the shovels hitting the ground in Central Florida and the current iteration of the resort. My goal is to share the year and the event that made headlines, which may include hotels, theme parks and everything in between!

Hope this is helpful and fun!

Walt Disney World Construction Timeline



  • Walt Disney announces Florida Project


  • Walt Disney dies of lung cancer at age 65


  • Construction of Walt Disney World Resort begins



  • Magic Kingdom opens
  • Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses opens
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort opens
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort opens
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground opens
  • Roy O. Disney dies at age 78


  • Disney’s Village Resort opens


  • The Golf Resort opens


  • Discovery Island opens


  • Walt Disney Village Marketplace opens


  • Disney’s River Country opens



  • Walt Disney World Conference Center opens


  • EPCOT Center opens


  • The Golf Resort is expanded and renamed The Disney Inn


  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa opens
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort opens


  • Disney-MGM Studios opens
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon opens
  • Pleasure Island opens



  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts open
  • Walt Disney World Swan opens
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin opens


  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter opens
  • Disney Vacation Club is launched
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort opens


  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside (formerly known as Dixie Landings) opens
  • Bonnet Creek Golf Club opens


  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort opens
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opens
  • The Disney Inn is leased and then purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense and is renamed Shades of Green


  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach opens
  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion opens
  • Walt Disney World Speedway opens


  • EPCOT Center is renamed Epcot
  • Disney Institute opens
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and BoardWalk Villas open


  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort opens
  • Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex opens
  • Downtown Disney West Side opens


  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens
  • DisneyQuest opens


  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort opens
  • Discovery Island closes
  • Hurricane Floyd closes the resort for the first time in its history on September 15.



  • The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opens


  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge opens
  • Disney’s River Country closes
  • On September 11, a series of terrorist attacks closes the resort for the second time due to national safety concerns.


  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas opens
  • Shades of Green closes for renovations


  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort opens


  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa opens
  • Shades of Green reopens after renovations
  • Hurricane Frances closes the resort for the third time from September 4 to 5.
  • Hurricane Jeanne closes the resort for the fourth time on September 26.


  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas opens


  • Disney-MGM Studios is renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios


  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort opens
  • Treehouse Villas opens



  • Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort opens


  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opens
  • Phase 1 of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion opens


  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa opens


  • Phase 2 of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion opens


  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows opens
  • Walt Disney World Speedway closes
  • Downtown Disney is expanded and renamed Disney Springs


  • Disney Springs finishes construction
  • Hurricane Matthew closes the resort for the fifth time on October 7.


  • Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Hurricane Irma closes the resort for the sixth time from September 10 to 11.
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge opens
  • DisneyQuest closes permanently for the NBA Experience


  • Toy Story Land opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Aug 29, 2019)

We’ll be adding much more into this article as things are added to the landscape at Disney World!

Dustin Fuhshttp://www.stepstomagic.com
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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