Friday, September 30, 2011
October 1, 1971, was a revolutionary day in the theme park and tourism industry not only in the United States, but in the world! On this day, the Walt Disney World resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL, opened to the public! Only a few years after opening Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, Walt Disney wanted a park on the east coast, but not just a park, a vacation destination. He saw the hotels that popped up on the borders of Disneyland, the lack of growth potential of the Disneyland Resort in the area and he wanted another shot at this. Walt wanted to immerse his guests, making them feel they are in another world. He would build hotels, along with the Disneyland style theme park. In search of a new Disney home, Walt decided on swampland about 25 miles south of Orlando, Florida, an area prime for growth and far enough away from the coastlines which are prone to hurricanes. Under the guise of dummy companies, Walt Disney began buying up this land and got to work on building the "Most Magical Place on Earth." He would never live to see his dream, but this project has brought happiness and smiles to people from all over the world who have converged on the Orlando Metro area for some time in Disney.
I have expressed my love of Disney many times and every trip I take there makes me love Disney World more, and once I return home, I already begin to plan the next trip back. The Annual Pass makes it that much easier!
Forty years later and with the addition of 3 more theme parks (one with its own built-in drinking game), 2 water parks, 2 nightlife areas, a multitude of resort hotels, countless recreation areas and a shopping area, Walt Disney World continues to dominate and has made the Orlando Metro Area one of Florida's fastest growing regions.
Walt Disney, you were a great American who has left a positive mark on our culture, and I know you're looking down on this wonderful world that has and will continue to be a great escape from the everyday patterns of life, where memories are made to last a lifetime!