Walt Disney World
Walt Disney was a man of a million dreams! He had big dreams and he was an achiever, unlike any other person during his time. The Walt Disney Company that was under the leadership of Walt Disney opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1955. Walt wanted to expand the opportunity to visit this magical place, so he began to dream of a magical theme park that would be located East of the Mississippi River. It was not until 1959 that Walt began to roll with his dreams and see where his dreams would lead him.
It was November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated that Walt flew over the potential Orlando, Florida site for his dream theme park. He had a vision of a magical place as this is where major roads intersected, a major airport nearby, and a warm climate that would be inviting to many all year long.
Walt wanted to keep his dream a secret as he made sure the Walt Disney Company purchased land for the new theme park under numerous so-called "dummy names." Walt wanted to avoid any speculation as to what he may have been up to as he wanted to announce his dreams when he knew that his dream project would become reality. Much of the land that was purchased for the Walt Disney World Resort was swampland.
It was in the Fall of 1965 that someone leaked the identity of these "dummy" corporations that were purchasing all of this land in the Orlando area. On November 15, 1965, Walt Disney held a press conference explaining his plans for this park of a million dreams! He announced the plans for the Magic Kingdom and resorts along with an explanation of plans for EPCOT. This was going to be a resort area unlike any other. Dec. 15, 1966, was a challenging day for the Walt Disney Company, as Walt Disney passed away and was unable to see the completion of the Walt Disney World Resort Area. Fortunately, Roy O. Disney, Walt's brother, delayed his retirement plans and stayed on to see the completion of the first steps to have the Walt Disney World Resort ready for opening day on October 1, 1971. Ironically, Roy O. Disney passed away on Dec. 20, 1971, just a little over three months after grand opening day.
In October of 1971, the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort, and the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground were open for everyone to partake in the magic in Florida! In 1982, EPCOT opened to the public and Walt's dream of a futuristic city was allowed to shine through at this additional theme park on the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. Disney's MGM Studios opened in 1989 and most recently in 2008 was renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios. Then, in 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom opened with a resort theme, unlike the others. The Walt Disney World Resort now has four awesome theme parks and the magic they contain is more than Walt Disney himself could have ever fathomed.
If it were not for the vision that Walt Disney had, this massive theme park would probably not exist today, in Orlando, Florida. There are more than 32 hotels on the property, along with two astonishing water parks, five golf courses, two miniature golf courses, and great restaurants with great food! The Walt Disney World Resort contains 25,000 acres today and there is potential for more development. If there are people involved in the development with big dreams as Walt Disney had, who knows what will come next? The Walt Disney World Resort is an awesome vacation place with magical experiences around every corner.
One man's dream has brought hours of happiness to millions of people and there are many more hours of enjoyment to be had by all who travel to this magical place on earth, thanks to Walt Disney.