Celebrating 80 Years: Theme Parks in 1972

Sea World due to open in 1973When Disneyland Park opened in 1955, no one could have imagined what a phenomena theme parks would become. Its East Coast counterpart, Walt Disney World Resort, is now the largest and most visited recreational resort since its opening in 1971 - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. In the last couple of years, developments among theme parks have flourished. This fall, Canada's Calypso Theme Waterpark's new aquatic complex ushered in the next evolution stage, as our review of Halloween celebrations revealed how much theme parks have become destination spots in and of themselves.

In 1972, the theme park craze was still in its infancy stages. Sea World of Florida, as it was called then (now, it's SeaWorld Orlando) had just been announced. Set to open the following year, it was advertised to accommodate 15,000 daily visitors on its site of 125 acres, near Disney World. (See the full article here.) Today, SeaWorld Orlando spans 200 acres. As Disney has spanned, SeaWorld has extended to SeaWorld San Diego of 189 acres and SeaWorld San Antonio of 250 acres— both opened in 1988. Next fall, Legoland Florida announced its opening, set for August, and, throughout the world, the sun never sets on the Disney empire. Last year, Hong Kong Disneyland set to realize planned expansions; Disneyland debuted its World of Color, opened ElecTRONica in anticipation of the movie "Tron Legacy", and has completed steel construction of Cars Land for 2012.

As we celebrate our 80th anniversary, we're taking a look at what was happening in the industry in the past and asking agents to share their thoughts on what has changed in the industry up until the present. So please share your thoughts by posting a comment below, writing us at our Facebook page, sending a tweet to our Twitter page or by engaging in a discussion in real time at AgentNation (the only social community online for all kinds of travel agents, which certainly wasn't around 80 years ago). We want to hear from you.

And while you're here, learn more about how we're celebrating eight decades of covering the travel industry for travel professionals.


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