Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Bit of History

  Disney World turns 40 this year.  On October 1, 1971 it opened its doors to about 10,000 visitors.   Today, the Magic Kingdom tops 16 million visitors a year. 

   Walt Disney began purchasing property in Florida in the mid 1960’s.   He created many company names while purchasing the property to keep from creating a stir which would raise property prices.   Many of these company names can be found on windows as you walk down Main Street.   Walt passed away in ’66 and his brother Roy O. Disney took over the task of completing the Florida project.   In the end, over 30,000 acres were purchased, and about 20,000 acres remain undeveloped today.  Yep, there is room for more parks and hotels.
  It took more than 9,000 construction workers about 18 months to build The Magic Kingdom at a cost of about $400 million at that time.  On opening day $4.95 would get you into the one and only park (The Magic Kingdom), but each ride would cost a ticket (or coupon) A, B, or C with D and E tickets being added later.   A-Tickets could be used for smaller/unpopular rides with the E-Ticket being for the newest and most popular rides. This is where the term E-Ticket comes from today. Guests had two hotels to choose from, the Polynesian Village Resort and the Contemporary Resort (previously called the Tempo Bay Hotel). The Fort Wilderness Campground added 250 campsites in 1972.    

While in the park you could enjoy:
·           Walt Disney World Railroad
·           Town Square: Town Square Café
·           Main Street Transportation: Fire truck, Horse-drawn street cars, and Horseless carriages.
·           Main Street: Market House store, Camera Center, Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, House of Magic shop, Penny Arcade, Main Street Confectionery Shop, Emporium store, Main Street Bake Shop, New Century Clock Shop, Main Street Cinema attraction, & Crystal Palace Restaurant
·           Adventureland:  Adventureland Veranda restaurant, Jungle Cruise attraction, Swiss Family Tree House attraction, & Sunshine Pavilion
·           Bear Country: Country Bear Jamboree
·           Fantasyland: Dumbo Flying Elephants, Mad Tea Party, Snow White's Adventures, Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Mickey Mouse Revue Audio-Animatronics musical, It's a Small World, & Skyway to Tomorrowland
·           Frontierland: Frontier Shooting Gallery, Frontier Trading Post shop, Pecos Bill Cafe restaurant, Mike Fink Keel Boats, Mile Long Bar, Diamond Horseshoe Revue
·           Liberty Square: Hall of Presidents, Columbia Harbor House restaurant, Heritage House shop, Liberty Tree Tavern restaurant, & Haunted Mansion
·           Tomorowland: Skyway to Fantasyland, Grand Prix Raceway, Mickey's Mart store, & Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant
·           Cinderella Castle: King Stefan's Banquet Hall
 Some of these rides and restaurants still stand today while some of them have fallen to new and better things.   What is your favorite spot at the Magic Kingdom?

Fun Fact:   Never Give Up
    When Walt Disney was young he worked for The Kansas City Star newspaper, because of his lack of creativity he was fired.   Years later he started “The Disney Company,” which bought ABC. Ironically, ABC owned The Kansas City Star newspaper.   So he was fired because of lack of creativity, only to turn around and buy the place from the money earned from his creativity.  This shows Walt didn’t give up in his dream, and neither should you.     


  1. How sad that he didn't get to enjoy MK before he died.

    My favorite place is fantasyland. Especially at night with the lights and the castle in the background.


  2. Lori - Yes it is sad, and his brother Roy O Disney died on December 20, 1971, less than three months after the property opened.

    And I agree - Disney World is very magical at night.