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Epcot from the air

It's no secret that Walt Disney World is enormous, or that it is the most popular theme park resort on the planet. Just taking a look at the list of attractions, restaurants and hotelsat the resort gives a pretty strong impression of its scale. It has often been claimed that Walt Disney World requires an equivalent level of infrastructure to a city with a population of 300,000 people. We think that's an intriguing claim, so we set out to see whether it was in the right ballpark by collating some statistics that really help to understand what a massive operation the resort really is. Here are 20 big numbers you can use to impress your Disney-loving friends...

20. 50...Miles of Canals

 

When Disney's executives first caught a glimpse of the enormous site for Disney World - approved, of course, by Walt Disney himself - their hearts must have sunk. Possibly quite literally, as they were standing on acre after acre of damp, boggy swampland. The first challenge when building the resort was how to make this quagmire suitable for a gigantic theme park resort, without utterly destroying the surrounding environment. To achieve this, more than 50 milesof canals and levees were constructed. To avoid the resort looking like an ugly, manmade creation, the canals were designed to curve through the landscape like natural streams.

19. 60,000...Cast Members

 

No matter what your field, it's likely that you could attempt to carve out a career at Walt Disney World. The resort employs an estimated 60,000 Cast Members - and they are spread across more than 3,000 different roles. Among them are attraction operators, security guards, housekeeping staff, airport representatives, bus drivers, chefs, entertainers, lifeguards, engineers and just about everything inbetween. We're currently collating stories from current and former Cast Members to get an insight into exactly what they do - you can check them out here.

18. 24,000...tons of recycled waste

Walt Disney World's guests produce a LOT of trash. Mountains and mountains of it. Some, of course, is sent to landfill - but Disney does make a real effort to recycle the rest. A huge recycling system processes over 24,000 tonsannually of aluminum, paper, steel cans, food waste, cardboard and plastic containers.

17. 290...miles of underground power distribution lines

 

Walt Disney World has its own government, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Among the organization's responsibilities is maintaining the resort's power infrastructure, which includes its own gas-fired power plant. This only provides about 25 percent of the resort's power needs, which result in a peak demand of 196 Megawatts. It's impossible to be precise (as demand fluctuates so much, even at a household level) - but that's approximately enough to power 40,000-80,000 homes. All that power has to be carried around somehow, and not just via pretty Mickey-themed power lines like the ones above. Indeed, the majority of the 12 kV feeders are located underground - some 290 milesof them, along with 14 miles of 69 kV lines (a further 11 miles of which are located above ground).

16. 15 million...gallons of dirty water

Wate water treatment plant

Image: Wikimapia

The Reedy Creek Improvement District also operates an enormous wastewater treatment plant, which can handle up to 15 million gallons per day. An effluent disposal system sprawls across a 1,000 acre site- making it larger than any of the resort's theme parks!

15. 14 million...gallons of water per day

 

Although the wastewater treatment plant produces water that is clean enough to drink, Disney doesn't serve it up to customers. Instead, it uses it to irrigate gardens, lawns and golf courses. That means that Walt Disney World still needs a lot of clean water from another source - and massive supply and distribution system fulfils this need. This includes 11 Floridan Aquifer wells and four pump stations, designed to distribute up to 60 million gallons per day (the average daily demand is a staggering 14 million gallons).

14. 13,000...costume pieces manufactured per year

 

There are more than 2,500 Cast Member costume designs in use at Walt Disney World, with a total of around 1.8 million pieces in the extensive wardrobe. Roughly 13,000 pieces are manufactured every year. Mickey Mouse has almost 300 different outfits, while Minnie has more than 200.

13. 250,000...transport passengers per day

Monorail Every day, 250,000 guests make their way to and from Walt Disney World's various theme parks, attractions and hotels via a mass transit system that consists of more than 270 buses, 12monorail trains and a fleet of boats and water taxis.

12. 25,000...acres

Walt Disney World spans a ridiculous 25,000 acres. Less than 34 percent of this has been developed, although a quarter has been designated as a wilderness preserve. So there's plenty of room for that mythical fifth gate...

11. 450,000...mowing miles per year

Topiary

Image © Disney

There are 2,000 acres of turf at Walt Disney World, requiring 450,000 mowing miles every year to keep in shape. That's the equivalent of 18 trips around the Earth at the equator. The resort's horticulture staff plants 3 million bedding plants and annuals every single year.

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Comments

I have always wondered how much, each day Disney World, as a whole, takes in and pays out. For example of taking in would be, admission fees, memorabilia and food. Compared to paying out examples of, salaries, garbage, clean and dirty water, electricity, hotel maids, bus drivers, maintenance, lawn care and so on. It has to be astronomical!

I think #19 is wrong. There are about 66,000 cast members working there now.

Needed a band-aid while at MK. Girl at one of the stores there wanted to charge me $2.50 for one.

Took a lot of magic out of the visit. Cut my finger on the gate at Dumbo's.

In reply to by Tom Mix (not verified)

Was there not a first aid station nearby for free bandaids? I think I remember going there once for a band aid but maybe I'm mistaken.

In reply to by ZoAnn (not verified)

You're not mistaken. Each park has a first aid station that can issue free band aids. As for the amount mentioned for a bandaid, WDW doesn't sell single band aids. They have an assortment pack of 9 band aids for under $3.

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