TODAY IN HISTORY: Walt Disney World in Florida opens (Oct. 1, 1971)
Walt Disney World Resort opened on this date near Orlando, Florida in 1971. As the largest recreational resort in the world, Walt Disney World Resort now consists of four theme parks, two waterparks and 23 hotels. Walt Disney began looking for an appropriate location as early as 1959. Unhappy with the many businesses that had cropped up around the Anaheim Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted a much larger parcel of land to control the development in the immediate vicinity of his project. To avoid rampant land speculation, he purchased land under dummy corporations for years. His first choice for the new theme park was located near Sanford, Florida but the community rejected his early overtures. Disney died in 1966 and did not see the completion of his visionary project.