Here’s Why ‘Walt Disney World’ Got Walt’s Name and Disneyland Didn’t

Photo Credit: iStock

There are many differences between Disney World and Disneyland. One small difference that you may not even be aware of is in their names. Disney World’s full name is Walt Disney World, while Disneyland is just Disneyland. What’s up with that?

Let’s start at the beginning: Disneyland came first. It opened in 1955 in California. The name, Disneyland, was likely chosen because it was a natural choice for a theme park at the time. Other contemporary parks bear names like “Fairyland” or “Playland,” so “Disneyland” just makes sense.

Over a decade later in 1966, Walt Disney released a promotional video to announce that there would be a second Disney theme park in Florida. This one would be called Disney World, likely because it was on a much bigger plot of land than Disneyland.

It’s not clear why he went with two words for Disney World, while Disneyland is just one word, other than the fact that “Disneyworld” doesn’t look quite right.

Disney World wasn’t originally going to have Walt’s first name attached, but he passed away in December 1966, before the park even got into the construction phase. His brother, Roy Disney, postponed his  own retirement to help out with the Disney World project, and he decided to add Walt’s name to the park as a tribute.

And that, folks, is the only reason that one of the parks’ names has Walt in the title – as a tribute from a sibling to his recently deceased brother.