Too cheap to take your kids on a vacation to Orlando to see Disney World? Now you can just load up Google Earth instead.
This morning, users of the software mapping tool will find a brand new layer that features an experience Bruce Polderman, Google Earth's product manager, says "pushed the user experience of both 3D models and KML to new heights." The layer has the entire theme park modeled in 3D, right down to some of the tiniest details like trees, food carts, and even park maps the size of a stop sign.
Not everything in the park is modeled in 3D, but according to Polderman there are well over 5,000 objects that have made their way in there. Not featured in 3D are the spanning parking lots, which are actually larger than the entire park when viewed from above.
Also included is a wash of data for each attraction. To find out more about any part of the park, there's a little purple Mickey Mouse head you can click on that will give you a written description of the ride, along with photos and, in some cases, even videos. Some descriptions are a little more kid-oriented, with music and special effects like Cinderella Castle, which sparkles when you roll your mouse over it. There are also links on each ride to help you book a vacation, or jump you to a special page in Google Earth's built-in Web browser.
To see the new layer in 3D you'll need the latest version of Google Earth. I'm expecting this to make its way over to Google Maps in a few weeks with that new browser plug-in.