Five Decades of Magic at Walt Disney World Resort – the 1980s


We’ve already had a bit of a look into the 1960s and 1970s milestones that took place in the building of the Walt Disney World Resort and I don’t know about you all, but I find it all so fascinating.

It’s hard to believe that some of these iconic attractions and experiences like the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade being broadcast on ABC have been around for 40+ years!

1980

September 23 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opens in Frontierland, expanding the mountain range at Magic Kingdom Park.

1981

October 1 – A year-long Tencennial Celebration begins, bringing new entertainment to Magic Kingdom Park. Later in the year, the EPCOT Preview Center opens on Main Street, U.S.A.

1982

October 1 – EPCOT opens with five Future World pavilions – Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy, World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination and The Land – and nine World Showcase pavilions representing Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, France, United Kingdom and Canada.

Disney expands its legacy of work with Make-A-Wish as the first wish is granted at Walt Disney World Resort. Since 1982, more than 176,000 life-changing wishes have been granted for children facing critical illnesses in partnership with more than 250 wish-granting organizations around the globe.

1983

December 16 – The first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held at Magic Kingdom, starting a tradition of popular Disney After Hours events, combining special entertainment and offerings with extra time in the park.

December 25 – The Walt Disney World Christmas Parade is broadcast live from Magic Kingdom on ABC, going on to become a holiday tradition and growing to include parades and performances from both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

1984

May 11 – The Disney Dreamers & Doers program begins recognizing young people who demonstrate excellence in their schools, families and communities. Since 1984, Walt Disney World Resort has recognized nearly 14,000 students from public and private schools across Central Florida.

September 7 – EPCOT World Showcase expands with the opening of the Morocco pavilion.

1986

January 15 – The Living Seas (now The Seas with Nemo & Friends) opens at EPCOT, home to more than 200 species of sea life in a 5.7 million-gallon “ocean” of saltwater.

1987

January 25 – The iconic “I’m Going to Disney World!” commercial debuts. New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms is the first to shout the now-famous phrase following his team’s Super Bowl XXI victory.

1988

June 3 – EPCOT World Showcase expands with the opening of the Norway pavilion.

June 28 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa opens as the flagship of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. It’s followed October 1 by Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

1989

May 1 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens with Tinseltown glamour, major entertainment attractions and behind-the-scenes looks at movie-making.

May 1 – The nighttime entertainment complex Pleasure Island opens with a glittering array of restaurants and themed nightclubs. It will close in 2008 to make way for Disney Springs.

June 1 – Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park opens, featuring a 95-foot-high mountain, eight water slides and a 2.5-acre wave pool.


Save Up to 25% on Rooms at Select Disney Resort Hotels This Summer!

Book an enchanting summer escape at The Most Magical Place on Earth and take advantage of this great room offer through September 29, 2021
More Info | Get a No-obligation quote