The History of Walt Disney World
Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that strips Disney of its special tax status, introduced in 1967. Yet before becoming the home of mice, Orlando depended on the orange trade.
“They knew that only 10% of the people who went to Disneyland in California were from east of the Mississippi, so they thought there was a market for their product, for a theme park on the east coast, but they had to find the right place for it,” said Rick Foglesong, author of Married to Mouse.
Walt Disney then looked right into the heart of Florida.
“They flew over Orlando,” Foglesong said. “Walt looked down from the plane. He saw the intersection of Interstate 4 and the turnpike and a lot of undeveloped land nearby. And he said this is it, this is it. we’re going.
In a silent deal with the state, Walt bought nearly 43 square miles of land to build his magic kingdom, but he wanted to be able to rule it himself.
“Walt didn’t like what happened at Disneyland,” Foglesong said. “He didn’t like having to depend on the small town of Anaheim for utilities, water, sewer, fire, police, etc. and he didn’t like being regulated by the city of Anaheim. It was absolutely essential that they get those government powers and they made it clear that they wouldn’t come without them.
More than 50 years later, Walt’s dream has come true. But his fantasy world may soon be about to change.
“He could take his new investment, new parks, new rides, etc. either to Disneyland or somewhere else in the United States,” Foglesong said.
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