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Disneyworld......a history. - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Disney General

They call Disneyworld the happiest place on earth and they are not far wrong. It should perhaps more properly be called Walt Disney World Resort, but hey, we all know it as Disneyworld, don' t we?

The inspiration for a theme park dates right back to when Walts children were still young; he hated the dirty, unkempt parks he took them to and vowed to build something not only better but better than had ever been seen before.

The original Disney park was in Anaheim, California and this had been an instant and ongoing success. However, Walt was hungry for something bigger and better.

Disneyland had been a one park one day experience and there was little scope for expansion; also very few people visited from the Eastern (and more heavily populated) side of America and he wanted those guests.

He figured that if he built multi parks and hotels anywhere that people would come; and come they did.

Florida offered dirt cheap land and endless sunshine and thus it was decided that he would build his next enterprise there.

Until completion day none of the various owners of the pieces of land knew what was happening; they were sworn to secrecy on the grounds that if they told anyone they were selling the deal would be off!

The 2 largest pieces of land Walt bought cost only one and a half million dollars for both. He added several smaller amounts of acreage from other farmers who were glad to get rid of their boggy ownership.

The truth came out in october 1965 when Walt held a press conference to outline his plans.

All in all Disneyworld covers 30, 000 acres, so Walt showed real vision in his confidence of its success and need for extra land.

Walt died in december of that same year from lung cancer.

The sad thing about his untimely death is not that he missed seeing The Magic Kingdom (he had done a reduced version of this in California) but that he did not see his pet project of Epcot come to life.

It was left to his brother Roy to continue to oversee his dream.

Disneyworld was 7 long years in the planning and it took 4 years to construct. It opened its gates for the first time in 1971. In those days entrance cost a modest $3. 50 per adult and $1 per child. However, you did pay for each ride individually or bought a book of tickets.

We all talk of going to Disneyworld in Orlando but in fact Orlando is some 20 miles away and Disney is in both Osceola and Orange Counties.

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