Disney World History Trivia
The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair featured the extensive use of Disney’s state-of-the-art audio-animatronic technology at exhibits such as Carousel of Progress, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and It’s a Small World.
As part of his “Florida Project,” Walt Disney secretly started purchasing 27,433 acres of swampland in Central Florida for approximately $180 an acre during the mid-1960s.
On December 15, 1966, Walt Disney died of lung cancer at the age of 65; Walt’s brother, Roy Disney, moved forward with the Disney World project.
William Windsor Jr. was the first guest to enter Disney’s Magic Kingdom when the theme park first opened its doors to approximately 10,000 guests on October 1, 1971.
The original attractions at Disney’s Magic Kingdom included Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel (now known as Prince Charming Regal Carrousel), Country Bear Jamboree, Diamond Horseshoe Revue (defunct), Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Frontier Shooting Gallery, The Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Mickey Mouse Revue (defunct), Mike Fink Keel Boat (defunct), Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (defunct), Snow White’s Adventures (defunct), Swiss Family Treehouse, Tiki Room (now known as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room), Tomorrowland Indy Speedway and Walt Disney World Railroad.
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the theme park employed approximately 5,500 “cast members”.
In 1971, adult admission to Disney’s Magic Kingdom cost $3.50, while a seven-ride attraction ticket book cost $4.75 and an 11-ride attraction ticket book cost $5.75.
The Liberty Square Riverboat opened at Disney on Oct. 2, 1971, and the first paddle wheeler was called the “Admiral Joe Fowler.”
The cover of Life magazine’s October 15, 1971, cover depicts approximately 1,500 Disney characters and employees posing in front of Cinderella Castle.
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus captured the first championship at the inaugural 1971 Walt Disney World Open Invitational.
Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Adventureland’s Caribbean Plaza in 1973.
Astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Jim Irwin took the first ride during the grand opening of RCA’s Space Mountain.
The now-defunct River Country opened at Fort Wilderness in 1976 as Disney World’s first water park.
Despite an intense “Save the Toad” campaign, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1998.
At 30,500 acres, Walt Disney World Resort is approximately the same size as San Francisco.