Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary to the Walt Disney World Resort and Epcot!

This is a big week for the Walt Disney World Resort! The Magic Kingdom is celebrating its 38th year and Epcot is celebrating its 27th year in operation. Both of the parks opened October 1st in 1971 and 1982, respectively. The Walt Disney World resort, which included the Magic Kingdom, only featured two hotels when it opened back in 1971. The Polynesian and the Contemporary were the first two resorts built back when the WDWR only consisted of the Magic Kingdom and the two hotels. Incredible how much it has grown since then! While Walt Disney was heavily involved in the planning of the resort, he died of lung cancer in 1966, a year before construction began.

While Walt didn’t get to see his dream realized, those he left in charge of the Disney company did it for him. Not only did they build the Magic Kingdom by using Disneyland as a guide, they made it bigger (and some would say better) than the original Anaheim destination. In 2008 17 billion people visited the Magic Kingdom, making it the most visited theme park in the world.

Epcot originally had a different purpose. We all know Walt Disney was an innovator in every sense of the word, but did you know he wanted to build an entire futuristic city? When it first opened, Epcot was written EPCOT, as it was an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” While we now know the park for attractions like Test Track, Soarin’ and the World Showcase, Walt Disney originally had other plans.

He was quoted as saying, "It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities. In EPCOT, there will be no slum areas because we won't let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed."

But now Epcot is considered a vacation destination instead of a living environment. It’s always interesting to learn about the inner-workings and initial ideas of what Imagineers go through in building and conceptualizing these great Orlando theme parks. We can’t wait to see what Walt Disney World comes up with next!


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