MORE ABOUT ORLANDO HISTORY

08/04/2020


An Orange Tree Grows in Orlando
In the 1870s, articles in national magazines began luring large numbers of Americans to Central Florida with promises of fertile land and a warm climate. In Orlando, public roads, schools, and churches sprang up to serve the newcomers, many of whom replanted defunct cotton fields with citrus groves. Orlando was incorporated under state law in 1875, and boundaries and a city government were established.

In 1964, Walt Disney began secretly buying millions of dollars worth of Central Florida farmland. As vast areas of land were purchased in lots of 5,000 acres here, 20,000 there -- at remarkably high prices -- rumors flew as to who needed so much land and had the money to acquire it. Some thought it was Howard Hughes; others, the space program. Speculation was rife almost to the very day, November 15, 1965 ("D" Day for Orlando), when Uncle Walt arrived in town and announced his plans to build the world's most spectacular theme park ("bigger and better than Disneyland").

In a 2-year construction effort, Disney employed 9,000 people. Land speculation reached unprecedented heights, as hotel chains and restaurateurs grabbed up property near the proposed park. Mere swampland sold for millions. The total cost of the project by its October 1971 opening was $400 million. Mickey Mouse escorted the first visitor into the Magic Kingdom, and numerous celebrities, from Bob Hope to Julie Andrews, took part in the opening ceremonies. In Walt Disney World's first 2 years, the attraction drew 20 million visitors and employed 13,000 people. The sleepy citrus-growing town of Orlando had become the "Action Center of Florida," and the fastest-growing city in the state.

In a 2-year construction effort, Disney employed 9,000 people. Land speculation reached unprecedented heights, as hotel chains and restaurateurs grabbed up property near the proposed park. Mere swampland sold for millions. The total cost of the project by its October 1971 opening was $400 million. Mickey Mouse escorted the first visitor into the Magic Kingdom, and numerous celebrities, from Bob Hope to Julie Andrews, took part in the opening ceremonies. In Walt Disney World's first 2 years, the attraction drew 20 million visitors and employed 13,000 people. The sleepy citrus-growing town of Orlando had become the "Action Center of Florida," and the fastest-growing city in the state.

Much admission prices cost on average (taking into account both peak and off-peak prices) at Disney World the year you were born:

1971: $3.50

Price increase from a previous year: N/A
Cost adjusted for 2019 inflation: $21.92

1996: $38.50

Price increase from a previous year: $1.50
Cost adjusted for 2019 inflation: $63.66
2019: $125

1971

It has been left largely unused, although for some time it served as home for a Disney call center. By the time the Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, more than 9,000 construction workers had labored for 18 months to build the park, which cost approximately $400 million to create.


Walt Disney World employs 70,000 "cast members" — the term the company uses to refer to all employees. They all help to run a world-famous park that attracted a record 68 million visitors to Orlando in 2016

TODAY

In 2019, the attendance at the park was 20.96 million. The most visited theme park worldwide, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, located in Florida, reports increasing visitor numbers each year. However, this decreased slightly in 2016, during which attendance at the park was around 20.4 million.4 days ago