Walt Wednesday–Creating the Parks
Everyone associates Walt Disney with Walt Disney World—his namesake park. Very few know though how the Disney Parks came to be.
Walt Disney enjoyed success with the creation of his character, Mickey Mouse and short films. But after visiting a theme park in Oakland, California, the Children’s Fairyland, he was inspired to build his own park and drew sketches for it during a trip to Chicago in the late 1940’s. AS he introduced his plans to the bank for funding, he explained, “I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.”
On July 17, 1955, Disneyland held a live television preview of the park. Famous celebrities such as Ronald Reagan were in attendance. Disney dedicated the park with these remarks, “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past …. and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
Ten years later, plans for a more elaborate version of Disneyland were developed. This park was to be located a few miles south of Orlando, Florida. Magic Kingdom would be a replica of Disneyland, but more detailed and larger. Hotels and golf courses would also be included. And the centerpiece of the new project was to be the Experimental Prototype city of Tomorrow—EPCOT.
It would take many more years for the Walt Disney Resort project to be completed. What a magical world Walt Disney created for us all—and it all started with a mouse.