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Disney World opens (1971)

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Life magazine: Disney World opens

1500 Disney employees in front of Cinderella Castle

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Mickey opens in Florida

Disney moves east

The new site is Florida, but the air is pure old Disney. Who else could be responsible for this carefully-crafted vision of the American past, the intricate, hokey, hugely-expensive assemblage of lives and places that never were? Walt Disney World, which opened this month, is $400 million worth of amusement park, vacation resort and planned model city enameled onto the scrub-pine flats outside Orlando, Florida. The Disney trademark is all over it: the businesslike use of fantasy, the no-nonsense approach to nonsense.

Disney World incorporates some lessons learned in the original gold mine called Disneyland that opened 16 years ago at Anaheim, California.

>> Check it out! Disneyland opens (1955)

Some changes are minor. At Orlando, the vinyl leaves on the Swiss Family Robinson tree are draped with live Spanish moss. No such decoration at Anaheim. Disney World’s 18-story Cinderella Castle is more than twice as high as its Anaheim counterpart and houses a lavish restaurant. Anaheim has only one president, an animated Abraham Lincoln, but Disney World’s Hall of Presidents offers all 36 of them — in costume, in motion, and getting along famously.

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See more of the new Disney World on the next page! >>

 

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