Friday, April 13, 2012

History of the World: Part 1

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Blue. Today, we are taking you on a tour through the history of our favorite Disney park lands.

When Walt Disney started out with his Florida Project, one of his main priorities was to find land.  Unlike in California, where he found enough room for a park, one priority for his next venture was seclusion.  A favorite anecdote about Walt goes something like this:
Walt Disney used to stand at the exit of Disneyland to talk to the guests.  One day, he noticed a family leaving early - no one left early.  He stopped them to ask them why they were leaving.  The replied that they noticed that traffic beginning to build on the freeway and wanted to get home before they were stuck.  
That scenario can't happen at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Approximately 47 square miles, there is still room to grow after 40 years.  However, in the beginning, there was only 1 park - the Magic Kingdom and two resorts: The Contemporary and The Polynesian.  Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds opened only a month after opening day, taking advantage of the popularity of camping at the time.
Thanks to Melissa from Disney on Wheels for sharing this beautiful pic of the Polynesian!

You may have known about those 2 original monorail resorts, but did you know about the resorts that never came to fruition?

Disney's Venetian Resort - Themed after Venice, Italy and located on the Seven Seas Lagoon, this resort sadly fell by the wayside.  When Michael Eisner took command as Disney's CEO and started to expand on WDW resorts, they tried again to make this landmark resort.  Unfortunately, the ground they planned on literally couldn't hold up.  According to Jim Hill, when they were putting in pilings to test the foundation, they literally sunk out of view every time.

Disney's Venetian lost it's opening day hope, but was pushed back to be a part of a second round of openings, along with the Persian and Asian resorts.

The Golf Resort opened in 1973, later renamed The Disney Inn in 1986, it eventually became The Shades of Green in 1994 as a hotel for the Armed Forces and their families.  However, after this resort originally opened, Disney didn't open any resort hotels until 1988.

It wasn't until Michael Eisner came in and realized that people were coming to Orlando and *oh no* staying off property that the resort expanded to what we're seeing now.  First came Disney's Grand Floridian - put into place when the Venetian failed again.  Just a couple of months later, Disney opened the Caribbean Beach Resort - the first "moderate" resort on property.

Eisner also had a hand in creating the Swan and Dolphin - he apparently became a "fan of architecture" and commissioned Michael Graves (anyone shop at Target lately?  He designs a lot of stuff for that mega store!) to create those two... eyesores may be an appropriate term!  They're not owned and operated by Walt Disney World, but he made sure to have a part in the design process, especially being so close to EPCOT and being the first EPCOT resorts (1990).

Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the history of Walt Disney World resorts!  I find this trivia oddly interesting and I hope you do, too!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Cooking with Mickey.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

You are here! ~ Disney Babies Blog
3rd Stop ~ Meet the Magic
4th Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic
5th Stop ~ Days in the Park
Final Stop ~ TheCanaDisney Blog

1 comment:

  1. I'm highly amused you mentioned the Ventitian. I was just talking about it with my DSIL and teen nephew at Easter.