Recently, I was reintroduced to the Ancient Wonders of The World. I remembered most of them from my fourth-grade history class, and I was amazed by what once was. The ancient Greeks loved to compile lists of the marvels in their world. So I thought, “Why not compile a list of the seven most marvelous wonders of Disney World?”

#7: Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth
Starting off the list at number seven is Disney’s Spaceship Earth. To me, this Geodesic Dome represents the wonders of the future. As the centerpiece of Epcot, Spaceship Earth stands at over 180 feet tall, is 165 feet wide, and weighs a mere 15,520,000 pounds. While a monolithic sphere in appearance, Spaceship Earth is actually two structural domes. It took over 40,000 man hours to construct over 26 months. Spaceship Earth has been popularly compared to a golfball with its dimples and its light- silver color, but this futuristic sphere has always been “green.” Rainwater that falls into the dome (a lot in Florida!) is collected through small holes in Spaceship Earth and is channeled into the nearby World Showcase Lagoon. Every part of this architectural wonder is amazing.

#6: The Grand Floridian

Grand Floridian

The Grand Floridian is pure romance at its best. Disney’s flagship hotel sits grandly on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The six red-gabled buildings are visually impressive in their beauty and are architecturally impressive. Adjacent to The Grand is Disney’s wedding chapel, where lifelong dreams are fulfilled daily. The expansive lobby is exquisite in charm and decadence. The five story Victorian inspired hotel is a masterpiece of Walt Disney World’s theming. This timeless beauty will alway be cherished as part of Disney’s architecture and a great place to stay.

#5: The World Showcase in Epcot

World Showcase

Fifth on the list is where East meets West: The Countries of the World Showcase in Epcot. Where else can you experience the wonders of Canada, The United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, The US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico? All of the countries are set around the Showcase Lagoon, creating a picturesque view. The architectural details alone make these structures spectacular, but when coupled with the manicured and pristine landscaping, the walkways at the World Showcase are truly breathtaking.

#4: The Gardens of Walt Disney World

Epcot Gardens

Oh, the beauty that rises up to greet you. The gardens of Disney are magnificent. In every theme park and every resort, the highways and byways of Disney truly make a landscaped paradise. My particular favorites include the topiaries of France, the English gardens of the UK, and the flowers of Canada. For me, they make up the trifecta of Disney World’s gardens. Everywhere on Disney property, I find myself amazed at what mere men can accomplish. My hat is off to the Disney horticulturist team that have surpassed expectations of beauty in landscaping.

#3: The African Savannah at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Safari

Who thinks: “Hey, we should build a whole African savannah. And while we’re at it, let’s totally make a 14 story fifty foot wide tree with intricate carvings in it. Sounds like a plan!” Apparently the Imagineers who planned Disney’s Animal Kingdom had exactly that thought. Animal Kingdom’s vast man-made savannah is home to over 1700 animals and makes up most of Animal Kingdom’s 500 acre span. This is truly a wonder of Walt Disney World. For a unique view of the animals on the savannah, check out the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction.

#2: Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle 
Cinderella Castle is pure fantasy. The 190-foot beauty is magical. The castle holds riches within its walls. No, really! Those iconic Cinderella murals are partially made of 24 karat gold. This Disney treasure doesn’t rest on its laurels: it has to work for a living. Cinderella’s Royal Table, a full working restaurant, is encased within the castle’s walls. The restaurant features one of the most popular Character Dining options at Walt Disney World: A chance to dine with Disney Royalty. The castle is also a Disney marketer’s dream come true. Several years ago, Disney created Cinderella’s Castle Suite, a bedroom suite authentically modeled to the smallest detail, down to the glass slipper. Cindy’s Royal Chambers caused quite a buzz when they opened, as they were only available to a select and lucky few who won the honor to stay the night in the famous Castle’s bedchamber. It’s still every Disney fan’s dream to be chosen to stay inside the iconic Disney castle.

#1: The People of Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Marching Band
Disney World is spectacular. The WDW Resort is an amazing machine that gives joy to so many of us. It is truly the entire sum of its parts: The Parks, Hotels, Restaurants, Architecture, Landscaping, Shows, and Characters. However, we cannot forget who makes all of this possible. Walt Disney said it all started with a mouse. But it has thrived, grown, and expanded because of the collective efforts of an indispensable Disney Icon: The Disney Cast Member.

All of the people of Disney, from Walt himself to Imagineers who design the rides to the horticulturists who tend the gardens to the cast member just telling us to have a magical day, are the heart and soul of a powerful company. For that, I say “Thank you!” Without the dreamers and the manpower to execute those dreams, dreams cannot be realized. To everyone who has provided Disney magic throughout the years, I say you are truly the number one wonder of Walt Disney World.