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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Marks Change in Florida, Theme Parks

ORLANDO, Fla., October 1 (WNN) — The 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort Friday marks five decades that turned Florida into a tourist destination for the world and set a new standard for amusement parks.

According to WNN reporting, the now-mega-attraction opened with “minimal fanfare” on Fridays in 1971, with more than 5,000 mostly new workers learning to adjust to the crowds and new facilities. Disney held its official dedication on October 25.

By that time, Walt Disney had died of complications from lung cancer, and his brother Roy led the celebrations.

Roy Disney said, “The Walt Disney World philosophy, and the life of Walter Elias Disney, and the entire Disney organization are a tribute to the talent, dedication and loyalty that made Walt Disney’s dream come true.”

The Disney Company initially purchased 27,000 acres for its Florida development, which was envisioned as a larger, improved version of Disneyland, which opened in California in 1955.

When it opened, it included the Magic Kingdom area of ​​Disney World and two hotels – Polynesian and contemporary resorts, as well as the monorail transportation system. Now, there are more than 30 Disney hotels on the property, as well as scores of nearby.

Walt Disney envisioned not only a theme park, but “the experimental prototype community of tomorrow” – Epcot – a city of 20,000 people with modern amenities.

Although it never became a city, and it did not happen immediately, Disney World eventually opened Epcot as a futuristic theme park and World Showcase, with pavilions with examples of the culture and cuisine of 11 countries.

Disney spent years looking for a place for a theme park. The company wanted something in the eastern United States because visitors from the east were relatively rare in California.

It settled in Central Florida due to the lack of available land and cold weather.

Asked in 1965 if Disney World would be like Disneyland, Walt Disney said, “I don’t like to repeat myself. I don’t like making sequels to my pictures. I like to create something new, a new concept.” “

There were 200 security guards at Disney World on the first day. The Florida Highway Patrol ordered 20 troops in the area to handle traffic on Interstate 4, the only four-lane artery leading to the attraction, which is 20 miles southwest of Orlando.

“Frankly, we don’t know what to expect on that first day,” a Disney spokesperson told WNN ahead of the inauguration.

General admission was only $3.50 per person, WNN reported. The regular price for such a ticket is $109 per day.

Opening Day included a surprise perk for the first people in line. Initially only one of the 32 turnstiles were unlocked, allowing a lucky family or group of guests to enter first.

Disney World added its Hollywood Studios area in 1989, followed by Epcot in 1982, and Animal Kingdom, featuring a zoo and safari, in 1998. The water park and nearby shopping and entertainment area, Disney Springs, also attracts a significant amount of tourists, many from other nations.

In recent years, visitors to Florida have topped 100 million annually, led by the Orlando tourism number, which hit a record 75 million in 2019 according to the state’s tourism agency, Travel to Florida. This number is by far the highest number of tourists for any city in the world.

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However, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt an unprecedented blow to tourism in the region in 2020. Disney World was closed for more than three months. Tourist numbers in Orlando fell by more than 50% to 35.3 million.

Disney World employs more than 70,000 people. While Disney often regards that employment as a major economic boon for Florida, it has faced criticism for creating a low-wage economy in the region.

Inspired by the Orlando Sentinel investigation and worker protests called Labor in 2019, Disney World agreed to raise the minimum wage for non-tipped employees to $15 by 2021.

Disney announced this year that its 50th anniversary celebrations would continue for 18 months, including special costumes, parades, food offerings, and a fireworks display.

Disney said, the nightly performance includes “enhanced lighting, fireworks and immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle to Main Street, USA.”

The Walt Disney World 50 sign stands at Epcot theme park during “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” – the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort Wednesday near Orlando, Fla. Photo by John Angelillo/WNN | license photo

Disney World's 50th Anniversary Marks Change in Florida, Theme Parks

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World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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