45 years ago the continuation of Walt Disney’s dream was realized with the opening of Walt Disney World. Walt Disney began to think about a second Disney park in 1959 and quickly realized that most of the population in the United States lived east of the Mississippi but most of Disneyland’s guests came from the west. This led to what was known as “The Florida Project” that was officially announced at a joint press conference with the Florida governor on November 15, 1965.
Following Walt Disney’s death in 1966, his brother Roy O. Disney postponed his retirement to complete the creation of Disney World. Roy O. Disney would do just this and also have the vision to set up a solid foundation for the growth of future parks, what now is Disney Springs, and hotels. Originally named Disney World, Roy O. Disney insisted that the name be changed to Walt Disney World to honor his brother.
On October 1st 1971, Walt Disney World officially opened it’s gates. October 25th Roy O. Disney stood in Town Square with Mickey Mouse next to him and officially dedicated Walt Disney World in honor of his brother.
“Walt Disney World is tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney … and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn – together.”
– Roy O. Disney, October 25, 1971 –
Roy O. Disney would die on December 20th, just months after the opening of Walt Disney World. His dedication to his brother’s dream has led to Disney magic being shared with the millions who have visited this magical place.
The opening of Walt Disney World included Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Walt Disney World now includes the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disney’s Boardwalk Area, and a host of Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
What is your favorite Walt Disney World memory?