Histroy Of Walt Disney World In Florida
It Took Some Work For Disneyland To Purchase Inexpensively
The histroy of walt disney world in florida began prior to the death of the founder and owner Walt Disney. It is said that two major factors contributed to the decision to develop another theme park, this one on a much larger scale.
First, although Disneyland was an unqualified success, it had location issues which developed as the park matured and gained in popularity. The immense and growing number of visitors who arrived at Disneyland each day placed an increasing strain on the infrastructure of Anaheim and Orange County. Freeways and roadways leading into the area already examples of traffic congestion, were simply unable to handle the increased traffic flow, even with constant construction and upgrading. Tourist facilities and businesses to serve the visitors to Disney surrounded and commercialized the entire community. Land prices skyrocketed, particularly for commercial applications with very little opportunity to acquire additional land for breathing room.
Second, was the result of marketing studies which showed most of the population of the United States lived along the eastern seaboard and only 2 percent of those people were visiting Disneyland. So, a site east of the Mississippi River, with large undeveloped land tracts available that could be acquired quietly and discretely, with transportation access already in place, and suitable for large scale building of the theme park were the basic requirements.
The area of Osceola County adjacent to the city of Orlando which was selected by Walt Disney himself seemed to meet the initial requirements. Under awesome secrecy measures to prevent huge jumps in land prices, the initial land tracts of land were acquired through a network of dummy corporations, trusted corporate employees and holding companies. Three major purchases amounting to 27,400 acres were recorded in May of 1965. Expenditures of $1.5 million were followed by the acquisition of several smaller parcels.
Once the news of the true owner of the land purchases leaked out, a press conference was scheduled in late 1965 during which Disney emphasized the plans for EPCOT as a major component of the development. During 1966 the company completed the process of forming a development district which would allow the landowners within to not only issue municipal bonds, but would no longer be subject to city or county land-use laws. The Reedy Creek Improvement District, containing two cities, The City of Lake Buena Vista and the City of Bay Lake was incorporated in 1967 and drainage projects were immediately initiated. Roy Disney, brother of Walt Disney delayed his retirement in late 1966 in order to complete the project after the death of Walt in December.
The Magic Kingdom, part of the park’s road system and three of the resorts were completed in time to officially open the park on October 1, 1971. Roy Disney officiated over the opening ceremonies which named the park Walt Disney World in honor of his younger brother. Roy Disney lived to see the park open but died two months later almost 5 years after his brother. According to the Walt’s widow, she felt Walt Disney would have approved of the Walt Disney World Resort.