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Friday, November 5, 2021

The Florida Project: Walt Disney’s REAL Plans

Despite not being fully onboard with Walt Disney’s idea of an experimental prototype community of tomorrow, Roy Disney began the process of secretly buying Florida swampland for “The Florida Project”. After it was determined that Orlando would be an ideal site due to it not getting too many hurricanes, a command center was setup to begin buying tens of thousands of acres. This was made more difficult by the fact that much of the acreage they were looking to acquire was owned by hundreds of people who had been swindled out of their money by speculators who sold the useless acreage to northerners who thought they were buying easily developable land.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney began assembling the team who would help him plan out EPCOT. Whenever anyone asked him about the plans for  “Disneyland East”, Walt cautioned them not to waste their time. He felt that he had already designed the perfect place- DISNEYLAND- and didn’t want to spend his precious time reinventing the theme park. His priority was EPCOT. So what would the project have looked like if Walt’s real plans had come to fruition? It wouldn’t have looked anything like it does now.

The experience would have been much different if Walt Disney's original plans had been realized. The "Seven Seas Lagoon" that stands between the park and the parking lot would not have existed; Walt Disney had originally planned for that to be a green area that could be used for future expansion. (The current lagoon is labeled below with a 4). "Disneyland East" is shown below labeled #1, ringed by its various themed hotels. Guests of the hotels would have been able to walk to the park easily from their hotel rooms in a design similar to the current setup in Anaheim. 

If you weren't staying in a Disney hotel, you would have been guided to the main parking lot that was miles away, marked with a 3. Your only mode of transportation from here would have been a monorail which would whisk you north to the park, cutting right through EPCOT, which would have been a real city. The announcer on the monorail would fill you in on this City of the future, inviting you to tour it after your visit to Disneyland East. (EPCOT is shown above as #2.)

The EPCOT of Walt Disney’s dreams would have been a real city where real people could live. It was never intended to be a theme park at all. Sadly, these plans would never come to fruition.