Walt Disney World

August 1950

Walt Disney World opened in 1950 as Walt Disney's biggest project -- and it soon became his biggest failure. The world wasn't ready for Disney's grand vision. They didn't want to spend the money, they didn't want to spend the time, and by God they didn't want to have to go to hot, sticky, buggy, hurricane-infested Florida on their vacation. After spending huge amounts of time and money (more than $15,000, or $6.7 billion in inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars), Disney had to admit that his pride and joy was a boondoggle and close up shop.

Not one to wallow in defeat, Disney purchased some land in California, determined to make a go of his theme-park idea by doing the whole thing on a smaller, more manageable scale. Disneyland proved to be an instant hit, and it gave Disney the funds he needed to give his Florida project a second lease on life.

The next time around, many of the mistakes that had been made in building the resort were fixed. A hotel was built so that guests would have somewhere to stay. Restrooms were installed in the theme park. The whole place was wired for electricity. Bigger, better, more likely to stay in working order attractions were built, using materials that wouldn't rot away in a matter of months in Florida's humidity. And, perhaps most important of all, the swamps were drained so that everything could be built on dry land and the gators could be better kept under control.

The renewed resort opened in 1971, and although Walt Disney himself was no longer alive, he still considered it one of his greatest achievements. On these pages over the coming months, we will tell you more about this fabulous resort, the joys it has to offer, and the necessity of taking a tax-deductible vacation there if you want to write about it.

More links coming soon!
Magic Kingdom | Epcot
Disney-MGM Studios | Disney's Animal Kingdom
Downtown Disney | Other Destinations
Resort Hotels | Tickets

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