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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Walt Disney World Origins: PART THREE

Millions of people from around the world flocked to see the amazing, magical kingdom built by Walt Disney in Anaheim, making it an instant success. These same people clamored for their own magic kingdom. Walt Disney received daily offers from cities around the world begging him to build another DISNEYLAND in their hometowns. Walt turned these offers down; after all, he hated repeating himself. He had built the most amazing entertainment complex in the world; why would he want to waste his time building a copy of the Happiest Place on earth? 

But as perfect as DISNEYLAND was inside its gates, outside, the City of Anaheim was anything but. The city hadn’t followed Mr. Disney’s advice and basically approved any construction project that was structurally sound with no regard for whether it was compatible with a vacation resort area or visually attractive.

Houses were built mere yards from the Magic Kingdom, bringing complaining residents who were shocked that traffic and noise would emanate from a theme park that had already been there when they moved in. In just ten years, Anaheim had mismanaged its planning process and turned the area around DISNEYLAND into what Walt Disney called a ‘third rate Las Vegas’. Anaheim’s planning debacle coupled with urban decay in cities around the world led Mr. Disney to begin thinking about the future of cities and how they could be designed to be resistant to blight, self sufficient and more ecologically friendly. He soon set his sights on building a new project- the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow- EPCOT.