Walt Disney World: April 30, 1969
During a press conference at the Ramada Inn on Highway 50 in Ocoee, Florida (a suburb on the outskirts of Orlando), Donn B. Tatum (then-president of new Walt Disney World Co. subsidiary) details the more than 3 years of planning for a “Destination Vacation”. By now it has been two years since special legislation had been passed to allow Disney to build its Florida project, and now the company has rented out the entire Ramada Inn for Walt Disney World’s official first press event. A large circus tent outside the hotel is filled with models and artist renderings of Walt Disney World for this three-day gala. Among the Disney officials in attendance is Walt’s brother, Roy O. Disney, and Disney publicist Charlie Ridgway. A 16-mm 17 minute film titled “Walt Disney World – Phase 1″ is shown at the Parkwood Cinema Theater, showing the master plan and concept art for a “Magic Kingdom” theme park as well as the nearby hotels and amenities. Though the new park is modeled after the company’s flagship, Disneyland, in Anaheim, CA with many of the the familiar lands and attractions made popular during that park’s first 14 years of operation, the company’s planners and executives decide against making a carbon copy for the east coast. Various lands and attractions would remain unique to California, while new lands and attractions would become unique to Florida, thereby generating and retaining interest in both destinations by as many people as possible. The project is slated to open to the public in the fall of 1971.