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From: Glen Wheaton
Date: 11-08-2014 14:48:00 pm
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Subject: Topographical Difficulties When Constructing Disney, Orlando

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Topographical Difficulties When Constructing Disney, Orlando

By Glen Wheaton




When a person visits Disney World in Orlando it may be hard to envision what that land looked like 75 years ago, or for that matter what Orlando, Florida was like. Today it is a thriving area, and as you drive on Interstate 4 during rush periods it may be hard to envision the time when it was really the sleepy Southern town. These days on a peak day at Disney World property there will be more people than the entire Orlando area in 1967.

In that year seven flights per day came into Orlando, as opposed to 846 daily flights today. So when Walt Disney was looking for a larger area to start a second park after Disneyland in California why did he choose this secluded area? Actually, the Miami area was thought to be the logical site. He always felt that Florida and Southern California would be the two places where tourists are always going to go, but it ended up being Orlando because Walt wanted a place inland. That way traffic could converge on it from all sides.

So Central Florida and not Miami was chosen as it was considered the point of maximum access to the flow of traffic that at the time was going to the south and the western shores of the state. Unfortunately, this area is very flat and very, very wet. The highest point in the entire state of Florida is only 345 feet above sea level. The flatness made distances hard to estimate, so to aid the designers helium filled balloons were raised to key locations around what was to become the Magic Kingdom.

This made for some obvious challenges. In California, the Sleeping Beauty Castle which is designed to overlook the park is a mere 77 feet tall. That same sized castle could not be viewed from a mile away at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The solution was to build a much larger castle reaching 189 feet, or just 11 feet short of the height requiring a red light to warn aircraft of an object that tall.

Being that isolated on such swampy terrain did have its advantages, however. The land was purchased secretly before any announcement was made of Disney building there, and this amounted to 27,400 acres. That much land cost the Disney Corporation about $5.5 million, or about $200 per acre. This of course by today's standards is a steal, but much had to be done to bring its present value. Canals had to be cut out to look like natural rivers, and around the Magic Kingdom a lake named the Seven Seas Lagoon was formed. And the Magic Kingdom itself was raised using earthen material by 14 feet. The imagination all of this took is truly remarkable.

If you're like us, you never get tired of traveling, and one of the best places we have found for a vacation is Orlando, Florida. Our page on the Orlando will give you some of the top attractions there, and our website on http://whattoseeinflorida.com/ will tell you a lot about this fun state. Glen Wheaton is an avid traveler and writer living in Chicago.




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Thread:
Disney Travel -    07-09-2007 14:27:11 pm
      Topographical Difficulties When Constructing Disney, Orlando - Glen Wheaton   11-08-2014 14:48:00 pm

 

 
 
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