Friday, December 15, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Walt Disney World – Little Known Tidbits and Fun Facts

When Walt Disney began working on “The Florida Project” in the very early 1960’s, he wanted to design a park that would be uniquely different from its cousin in California. In 1971 the project met its fruition with the opening of The Magic Kingdom, but Disney passed in December 1965 and never saw his vision brought to life.

Long before the project began, Disney realized 75% of the American population, at the time, lived east of the Mississippi and he wanted to bring his magic to everyone. In 1958 he began scouting for land, but he didn’t want to face the same issues he was facing at Disneyland. Because he didn’t own enough of the surrounding land at his park in Anaheim, some undesirable businesses had moved in and he had no control. An expansion was out of the question.
 
Lake Buena Vista
When he flew over where his empire now stands in Florida, Disney was certain he had found what he was looking for. So as not to alarm the locals, or more so other businesses that could move in on his turf, Disney bought 30,500 acres of barren property, all under various dummy corporate names. No one was ever the wiser.

At the same time Disney had been steadily working on his new project, other plans included constructing an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” or as it became later known, EPCOT. It was supposed to serve as a testing grounds for the development of new living technologies. Changes were made and the final construction was not completed until 1982.
 
Epcot Orlando
The “Decade of Disney” was declared in January 1990 when Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner lit the fuse on what was to become 10 years of explosive growth. All the stops were pulled and heavy investments were made. In the end, they were generously rewarded.

Attractions and rides added in the 90’s included, “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” Journey Into Your Imagination, Splash Mountain, “Legend of the Lion King,” The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, New Tomorrowland, “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” and many more which are still popular today. In 1998, the Animal Kingdom roared to life, and the Asian area was expanded into almost an attraction of its own.
 
Animal Kingdom
Also in the 90’s, they broke champagne on Disney Cruise Lines, built miniature and 18-hole golf courses, and added new restaurants, shops, festivals, events, and parades. In short, they took the coolest place on earth and turned into a vacationer’s utopia.
 
Disney Cruise Lines
Nowadays, Disney property covers 43 sq. mi. of Central Florida soil. There are four theme parks, two water theme parks, nine hotels no one is supposed to know Disney owns, 37 resort hotels which proudly display their own name, a campground, golf courses, entertainment venues, and complexes. Disney still owns 22,000 acres of undeveloped Florida land so it’s anyone’s guess what will come next.

In Florida alone, Disney employs over 60,000 people. Countless small time local vendors and contractors found fame and fortune by landing one of Disney’s precious golden tickets. Where two people were once hand-stuffing pillows in a tiny Orlando workshop, they now employ 150 workers and purchased modern state-of-the-art equipment. Construction companies, food vendors, industrial suppliers, private hoteliers, restaurant owners, and many other companies have benefited from Disney’s presence. Had it not been and for Mr. Walt Disney’s keen foresight, the Orlando area would still be sleeping.
 
Swan And Dolphin Hotel At Disneys Epcot Center
Annually, an estimated 60 million visitors frequent Disney World in some form or fashion, even if simply to play a round of golf at a corporate outing. They come from all corners of the globe. Ironically, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, which is Disney’s official mailing address, has a population of 10 per the last consensus.

Disney is ever-growing and ever-changing. Unless you are a huge buff who owns every Disney character T-shirt ever printed, there are some cool and interesting facts about Mr. W.D. and his empire you may find interesting.
 
Snow White

  • The names, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy, need no further introduction. Blabby, Shifty, Droopy, Slappy, Daffy, and Fuzzy were given careful consideration and Mr. Disney still caught immense static over insisting on the name, Dopey.
  • When Walt Disney first introduced the concept of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” his family and the studio thought he had lost his marbles. Of course, he was Walt Disney. Of course, he proved them wrong.
  • “Bambi” was a huge flop when it was first released during World War II. To re-coop its losses the studio went back to business as usual by releasing more Mickey, Donald, and Goofy cartoons.
  • Walt Disney himself was the original voice of Mickey Mouse.

Original Mickey

  • Disney felt like he let his audience down with the release of “Alice in Wonderland” in 1951. It holds the record for the most amount of songs in any one Disney movie, and Walt felt the movie had no heart.
  • A woman went into labor in a restroom at Walt Disney World and would not leave, even at the insistence of security. There has been a rumor going around for years that any child born inside a Disney park receives a free lifetime pass. Once they convinced the woman this was not true, she jumped in an ambulance and away she went. This all started when Disneyland awarded some type of prize to a baby born on the property in 1979.
  • Disney’s 1966 comedy “Lt. Robin Crusoe, USN,” starring Dick Van Dyke, was written by a new mystery writer named Retlaw Yensid. How could some never before heard of writer suddenly become so successful? Spell the authors’ name backward. Case solved.
  • Heartthrob Robby Benson was the voice of the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” but in the Chinese version, Jackie Chan was the voice plus he sang all of the songs in Chinese.

Beauty And The Beast
So. Now you know more about Disney than the average bear. Disney has an interesting history and we can only look forward to what the future holds. Whatever it will be, it’s bound to be nothing short of great.
 

13 Comments

  1. Jack Ashton
    December 1, 2017 - 12:19 pm

    The Disney Land, Disney Movies and Films, Characters and everything about Disney makes you bring the child in you no matter what age group you came from, as long as there is imagination there will always be Disney.

    Reply
  2. Chris Anthony
    December 1, 2017 - 3:01 pm

    Too bad Disney couldn’t see his project to fruition but his legacies live on. While there are several Disney properties in Florida, the water theme parks turns may passion for nature on. In fact, one shouldn’t be surprise that millions of visitors the Disney world, as there are much to enjoy.

    Reply
  3. Halyna R.
    December 2, 2017 - 9:05 am

    Thank you for the interesting insight on the history of Disney World. I knew that it’s a popular vacation destination, but seeing the figures is just mindblowing. 60 million visitors a year? Wow! That’s more than the population of my country! As for the fun facts, I’ve heard most of them before, but the one about “Bambi” surprised me though I guess it makes sense.

    Reply
  4. Cath
    December 2, 2017 - 10:03 am

    I’m from Norway but somehow I never managed to visit Disneyland – the one in Paris – but this is something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 5. As for the man himself, it takes a lot of guts and hard work to do what he has done. After all, “If you can dream it, you can do it”

    Reply
  5. Lilian Snow
    December 3, 2017 - 10:46 am

    Walt Disney world is one fantasy world I always feel wild when I’m in. But these facts are quite something else. I never knew Mickey mouse was voiced by Walt Disney himself. And the rumor about getting a free lifetime pass if a baby is born on the property? Lol. I don’t know! Why would one have her baby delivered in Disneyland just because she wants to get him a lifetime pass! Gosh! Other facts are interesting too.

    Reply
  6. Ajas
    December 3, 2017 - 10:49 am

    Wow, this is an enlightening post. I’ll call Disney world, a mini state. Here are beautiful secrets of Disney world. I’d love to visit this beautiful place and see for myself the beautiful creations of the legend, Walt Disney.

    Reply
  7. Rachael Mills
    December 4, 2017 - 7:37 am

    Quite an interesting piece I was not aware of most of these facts until reading this article. I look forward to the day I will take my own kids to Disney Land.

    Reply
  8. Jesse M.
    December 5, 2017 - 1:06 am

    I am going to share this with my sister. She is planning on taking her 6 and 8 year olds to Disney World in February. I had no idea there was so much behind this place. It is amazing to think of it as beyond f vacation spot and more of a magical world created by a genius. Walt has created so many amazing things, it is hard to fathom.

    Reply
  9. ProlificAshley
    December 5, 2017 - 3:33 pm

    I always have a dream to visit the beautiful world of disneyland. It’s a place I have always want to go ever since childhood. I can’t wait to go see the beautiful disneyland

    Reply
  10. Richard G
    December 5, 2017 - 4:43 pm

    For any Disney fan, this is cool.

    Reply
  11. Sally
    December 7, 2017 - 1:56 am

    Disney is gone, but he left prints on the sands of time. Reading this; it’s easy to see what Disney achieved that makes his name indelible in the lips of many.

    Reply
  12. Martha R.
    December 7, 2017 - 9:53 am

    Disney World is a magical place for both children and adults alike. What Walt Disney has managed to create is truly amazing. I’m planning to take my kids see it next summer. My twin daughters are both huge Disney fans and this is going to be their birthday surprise. I can’t wait to see their cute little faces when they find out we’re going!

    Reply
  13. Richard
    December 10, 2017 - 4:32 pm

    Wow, I barely knew any of these! Walt Disney was a genius, he created a 92 billion empire that is only getting stronger and stronger. He went against all odds and proved people wrong, this is how you create a legacy!

    Reply

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