After DISNEYLAND became a phenomenon, the world came to Anaheim to see Walt Disney’s amazing Magic Kingdom. From the looks of the surrounding area, they might have thought they’d made a wrong turn. Despite Walt Disney’s requests, the City Of Anaheim didn’t seem to care about how the area around DISNEYLAND looked like. Tawdry motels and tourist trap businesses sprung up across the street from the The Magic Kingdom. Incompatible housing was built behind the DISNEYLAND Hotel. Despite all of this, the park’s visitors clamored for their own DISNEYLAND back home. Initially, Walt Disney declined to build another DISNEYLAND-Style theme park. As the years went on he began to change his mind due to his dissatisfaction with the City of Anaheim’s loose zoning laws.
It wasn’t Walt Disney’s desire to build a bigger theme park or resort that made him change his mind about building another DISNEYLAND; he wanted to build a model city that could inspire city planners to do a better job of zoning and building out their cities. It wasn’t just Anaheim that had dropped the ball with zoning; the problems that Walt Disney saw just outside the Magic Kingdom’s gates were seemingly endemic around the world. His Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) would be a real city where real people lived, NOT a theme park. Mr. Disney realized that it would be a tough sell to attract guests to see a real city, so he had to include something that they would want to see- another DISNEYLAND.
So Walt began looking for a location that was far enough from DISNEYLAND that it wouldn’t leech off business from the original park and would allow for year round operations. He settled on the state of Florida.