Walt Disney World Resort is the mastermind of Walt Disney himself. However before it came to be, Walt Disney had the task of deciding where to build his 2nd park. Read, 3 Reasons Walt Disney Chose Florida. Plus, more Fascinating Facts about the history and quotes from Walt Disney on the early stages.
Why Did Walt Disney Choose Florida?
Their are many reasons why Florida was the ideal choice for Walt Disney to build a 2nd park, even larger than the original. Walt Disney had decided to build on the East Coast, to appeal to a new audience of nearby guests.
- One reason Florida was chosen, was the pleasant year round weather it offers. For this reason, Northeast states became out of the question, the winters are simply too cold to enjoy year round.
- Another major reason Florida worked? Interstates, Florida offered major roadways (one at the time being built) and a nearby airport. Walt Disney was excited about the ease of accessibility for guests.
- Furthermore, the price was right, as the Florida swampland for sale was cheap and there was a lot of it. Walt Disney knew this was the spot, since lots of land was what he desired. Walt Disney said this of Disney World vs. Disneyland – “Here in Florida we have something special we never enjoyed in Disneyland – A blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all of the ideas and plans we could possibly imagine”.
When Disney was done, he had bought more than 25,000 acres of land in Florida (for comparison to his original 160 acres at Disneyland).
Buying The Land
The price of Florida swampland was a bargain at $80 an acre. Now comes the business man side of Walt Disney, who set up several fake corporations to buy land under. This allowed him to fly under the radar for a little while, however people were starting to wonder who was buying thousands of acres of land in Orange & Osceola counties. Eventually, Orlando Sentinel published a story outing Walt Disney as the buyer. The result of what Disney feared, the bargain price of the land went up to as high as $80,000 an acre now that it was desirable. Look to the windows on Main St USA in Magic Kingdom, and find tributes, such as M.T. Lott Real Estate Investments (one of his fake companies used to buy land under).
Walt Disney decided to announced it was him buying the land and announcing his 2nd park. When asked about his initial investment at a Press Conference, Walt Disney joked, “a heck of a lot” while chuckling and saying, “there was a time in my life I didn’t think there was much money”. Disney goes on to explain, they needed to top or at least meet in Florida what they already have in California. Which meant looking at starting numbers of 100 million in costs. Then, Walt Disney lovingly points to Roy Disney, while laughing, “My big brother says we can do it, he’s the money man”. Proving once again, Walt Disney started out as just a man with a dream.
How Do You Build On A Swamp?
The start up had it’s challenges, just how do you build on a swamp land? To build Magic Kingdom, an enourmous amount of dirt was taken from and formed what is now known as Seven Seas Lagoon. Furthermore, Magic Kingdom was built with tunnels (utilidors) underneath. This features break rooms and more for Cast Members, to keep the magic alive for guests.
What was once known as the Florida Project took on new name. After Walt Disney’s passing in 1966 his brother, Roy Disney oversaw the company. Also, renaming Project Florida to Walt Disney World, in honor of his brother. Roy Disney oversaw the completions of Phase One consisting of the Magic Kingdom, 2 hotels, a campground, golf courses, a shopping village and the Monorail which all opened on October 1, 1971.
There is more to this story and the creative mind of Walt Disney, however the rest is history. Today, Walt Disney World Resort is a destination visited by people from around the world.
Learn more tips and tricks for your next Walt Disney World vacation. Destinations in Florida can also help you add tips and tricks to your next vacation.