Before the magic-filled kingdom we know today as Disney World opened to the public, it was known by a different name during its planning and development stages. The project was originally referred to as “The Florida Project.” But it was Walt Disney’s brother, Roy Disney, who decided to rename the resort “Walt Disney World” in honor of his late brother. This article will dive deep into the history, evolution, and significance of the original name for Disney World.
Disney World was originally called “The Florida Project” during its planning and development stages in the early 1960s. After Walt Disney’s death, his brother Roy Disney renamed it to “Walt Disney World” in honor of his late brother. The name change was a tribute to Walt Disney and a way to emphasize that the Florida Project was Walt’s vision.
The Birth of a Dream: “The Florida Project”
The origins of Disney World date back to the early 1960s when Walt Disney started acquiring large plots of land in Central Florida for a new theme park. This ambitious venture was initially called “The Florida Project.” The goal was to create a resort destination that was far larger and more diverse than Disneyland, the company’s first theme park in California.
Walt Disney’s Vision
Walt Disney’s vision for the Florida Project was grand. It was to be a place where families could have fun together, a place that would never cease to be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world. Sadly, Walt Disney passed away in 1966, before he could see his dream come to fruition.
From “The Florida Project” to “Walt Disney World”
After Walt Disney’s death, his brother Roy took over the project. He made the decision to change the name from “Disney World” to “Walt Disney World,” ensuring that his brother’s name and legacy were front and center. The name “Walt Disney World” was chosen to differentiate it from the original Disneyland and to emphasize that it was Walt’s creation, not Roy’s.
Opening Day and Beyond
When Walt Disney World officially opened on October 1, 1971, it was met with great fanfare. The public embraced the park, and it quickly grew into a massive entertainment resort complex. The name “Walt Disney World” has since become synonymous with magic, dreams, and the power of imagination.
The Impact of the Name Change
The decision to change the name to “Walt Disney World” was more than just a tribute to Walt Disney. It reflected the mission and vision of the company. The name emphasizes the connection to Walt Disney’s dream and the company’s commitment to creating an immersive, magical experience for its guests.
What we know today as Disney World was originally called “The Florida Project.” After Walt Disney’s death, his brother Roy renamed the project “Walt Disney World” in honor of his late brother. The name change has had a significant impact on the brand, ensuring Walt Disney’s name and vision continue to live on in the hearts and minds of millions of visitors each year.
From the magic of the Cinderella Castle to the thrill of Space Mountain, every corner of Walt Disney World serves as a testament to Walt Disney’s dream and the enduring legacy of his name. So, the next time you step through the gates of Disney World, remember the man behind the magic, and the original name of this enchanted kingdom.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did Walt Disney acquire such large plots of land in Florida without revealing his plans?
Walt Disney used various dummy corporations to purchase land in Florida. This was to avoid attention and prevent land prices from skyrocketing due to the involvement of Disney, a famous and wealthy corporation.
What was the first theme park to open in Walt Disney World?
The Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971.
How many theme parks does Walt Disney World have today?
Today, Walt Disney World comprises four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Was Roy Disney involved in the creation of Disneyland?
Yes, Roy Disney was involved in the creation of Disneyland. He handled the business and financial aspects while Walt focused on the creative side.
What makes Walt Disney World different from Disneyland?
Walt Disney World is significantly larger than Disneyland and comprises multiple theme parks, water parks, golf courses, and hotels. It was designed to be a complete vacation resort, unlike Disneyland which initially was just a single theme park.