Walt Disney & The Florida Theme Parks

All lectures include a Q&A session and have a companion PowerPoint presentation.

All lectures can be presented remotely via zoom or another virtual platform.

Walt Disney & The Walt Disney Studios

The Life of Walt Disney

Walt Disney was a visionary in the entertainment world. He created notable animated films, beloved animated characters, and a new vacation destination. The public saw him as the father of Mickey Mouse and his friends and called him “Uncle Walt .”But who was the “man behind the mouse”? This 2-hour PowerPoint presentation will examine Walt’s life story, learn what made him the man he was, and about his wonderful creations.

Walt Disney at the 1964 New York World’s Fair

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney was asked by 4 companies to design their pavillions for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He and his imagineers came up with 4 very different & innovative attractions. In this lecture we will talk about the companies the attractions were designed for, what each attraction consisted of, and what happened to the attractions after the fair.

 When You Wish Upon a Star: The History & Films of Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney famously said, “I hope we never forget that it all started with a mouse,” but did it? In this lecture, we will discuss the history of Walt Disney Studios & talk about many of the films they have produced over the years. Some were instant classics, and less so. Which are your favorites?

You’ve got a Friend in Me: The History & Films of Pixar Studios.

One of the founders of Pixar Studios said, “Easy isn’t the goal. Quality is the goal.” Pixar films are generally considered to be instant classics. From Toy Story to Luca and beyond, we will see how Pixar got its start and talk about each of their films.

**NEW for 2023** Walt Disney and Pixar Films Trivia

How much do you know about Disney & Pixar Films? Do you know all the songs from The Lion King? Do you still wish you were a Disney princess? Grab your mouse ears, and join Valerie for a night of trivia all about Disney. Questions will range from the early years of the company to the newest releases. This fun, interactive presentation is great for the whole family.

The Florida Theme Parks

 Building the Magic: Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

In the late 1960s, Disney acquired 25,000 acres of swampland in Florida. Over the next two years, part of the land was transformed into the world’s leading theme park resort. It wasn’t an easy job. In this PowerPoint presentation, the secrets of the construction of the Magic Kingdom will be discussed. We will also take a virtual tour around the park as it currently stands and discuss some of the most popular rides and attractions.

Building the Magic EPCOT Center

In the late 1970s, Disney decided to build a new theme park in Florida. However, there were two competing themes; which one would be built? This PowerPoint presentation will examine the history of EPCOT center- Walt’s dream vs. what was eventually built. We will also take a virtual tour of the park and discuss the history of some of the popular attractions.

 Building the Magic: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Florida park that has undergone the most changes since it opened in 1989. Some have been positive from name changes to these changes, some not as much. First, we will look at the original vision for this park and how it has evolved over the years. Then, we will explore the significant additions to the park, including Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge, and the park as it is today.

Building the Magic: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is the newest addition to the Florida parks and the largest. Walt Disney wanted to use live animals on the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom, but it was impractical. Animal Kingdom allowed to company to realize Walt’s vision for live animal attractions. We will discuss the obstacles faced with building a theme park and zoo and what to see at the “wildest” of the Disney Parks.

Forgotten Disney: Extinct Rides and Attractions of The Florida Parks

In the 50 years that Walt Disney World in Florida has been operating, many attractions have been closed for one reason. In this PowerPoint presentation, we will look at some of these attractions. Some were loved and are still missed by fans today; others may be best forgotten. Will any of them be a favorite of yours?

Secrets of The Walt Disney World Resort

What are hidden Mickeys and where can you find them? What is “Go Away Green” and “Blend In Blue”? What are some secrets hidden in plain sight on Disney World attractions? During this lecture we will talk about many little known secrets that can be found around Walt Disney World

**NEW for 2023** Walt Disney World Trivia

Do you think you know all about the Walt Disney Florida theme parks? Are you the family tour guide when you go to a Disney theme park? Do you have an unhealthy attachment to the Happiest Place on Earth? Grab your mouse ears and jopin Valerie for a family friendly trivia night. All of the Florida parks and hotels are fair game for questions. Can you answer them all?

Touring EPCOT Center’s World Showcase

Come with Valerie for a walk around The World Showcase at EPCOT Center. Starting with the Canada Pavilion, we will tour all the way around Crescent Lake and finish with the Mexico Pavilion. Along the way we will see what each pavilion has to offer in food, attractions and shopping.

EPCOT Center’s Many Festivals

Festivals have become an integral part of EPCOT Center. There is The Festival of the Arts in January, The Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring, The Food and Wine Festival in Summer and Fall, and The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. We will see how each festival is celebrated, & what each festival offers.

A Walk Through of The Magic Kingdom in Florida

Come with Valerie for a walk around the Magic Kingdom. We will virtually travel from the entrance turnstiles up Main Street to Cinderella Castle and around all the lands. We will look at what each lands offers as far as attractions and dining, and choose a few attractions to look at in depth.

Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Planning a trip to Disney World in Orlando can be expensive and confusing! Disney expert, Valerie Gugula, has traveled to Disney over 25 times, in the last 15 years and can use what she’s learned (and mistakes she’s made!) to help you. In this lecture, we will discuss time and money-saving tips that will help you plan your dream vacation and make lasting memories. We will discuss what time of year to go, where to stay, making dining reservations, using Genie+, and more.

A History & Tour of Disney Springs

Disney Springs has gone through many changes since it began as Lake Buena vista Shopping Village in 1975. We will discuss how it has evolved over the years, and what attractions, shops and restaurants are currently available.

Where to Eat at Walt Disney World

Dining at Walt Disney World can be expensive. The last thing you want at Disney prices is meal that you wont enjoy! In this lecture we will learn the difference between table service and counter service restaurants. Valerie will make some recommendations for some favorites, and list some not so favorites both in the theme parks and in the many hotels. Valerie will also talk about making dining reservations, and a few “off property” places.

Where to Stay at Walt Disney World

The choice of where to stay can greatly affect your trip. Disney World hotels are expensive, but are they worth the price? What about staying at an “off property” hotel or in a rental home? What is DVC and can you stay at a DVC Resort if you are not a member? Valerie will discuss the options and help you decide where is the right place to stay for your family.