Now that we have the matter of the contest taken care of... how about some more little known Disney facts? You all seem to like those.
You've heard me say before that when things get rough for me, I just close my eyes and starting walking down Main Street. While I don't have it committed to memory, there are many parts of Main Street I can envision in my mind. It gets me through more than I care to talk about!
You may also remember that I mentioned the effect of walking into a theater when you enter Disney World. This feeling is actually carried out down most of Main Street. The second floor windows along Main Street are set in order of opening credits in a movie. You won't find Walt's name until the end above the Ice Cream Parlor. Roy O. Disney's (Walt's brother) window credit can be found above the confectionary store. While there are a number of other "credits", other Disney Executives, Contributing Artists and family, there is one window in particular I would like to address.
There is a real estate window which contains the dummy corporations that Walt used in the acquisition of the land for Disney World. Back in 1959, market surveys revealed that only 2% of Disneyland's visitors were from east of the Mississippi. Astonishingly, 75% of the population lived east of the Mississippi at that time. Disneyland opened in 1955, and other businesses quickly began to spring up around that location, which distressed Walt. A much larger area of land was required for his new project.
Walt's first fly over was Sanford, Florida. He appealed to the city council to allow him to build Disney World there, but was declined as the citizens of Sanford did not want the crime that was sure to come with tourism. Walt Disney first flew over the Orlando site on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and fell in love with the well developed network of roads and the Air Force Base which later became Orlando Airport. Various dummy corporations were used to acquire the 27,400 acres that is now Disney World. Sadly, Walt died on Dec. 15, 1966, a good five years before his vision was realized. His brother, Roy, postponed his retirement to oversee the construction of the resort's first phase. Roy died Dec. 20, 1971, barely three months after the property opened. Statues to both Roy and Walt are prominent on Main Street and "must sees" when you visit Disney World.
Using those dummy companies was a brilliant move on Walt's part. His first acre cost $80 and the last one purchased was $80,000. Walt knew if the property owners knew the purchase was for him they would jack up their selling prices. The dummy companies were unknowns and until a reporter in Miami investigated the realty company (M. T. Lott Realty) and found it was owned by Mrs. Minnie Mouse, Walt was able to purchase a good amount of the property at real savings. Once the news leaked out, the price of the real estate skyrocketed. These companies enjoy credits on this Real Estate Investment window.
The window has a lovely canopy over it which makes photographing a bit difficult. The upper portion of the window reads on both the left and right panes:
I don't know if it is the reflection of the canopy or perhaps matching drapes inside the window, but it is hard to see this and the bottom credits as well. Just take a moment though, and read that portion out loud. Walt's sense of humor at work. :)
The lower left window pane reads as follows: "A Friend in Deeds is a Friend Indeed." Donn Tatum, President. Let's stop here for just a moment. Donn Tatum was the first non-family member to head the Walt Disney Company. He was also the very first president of Walt Disney World. So you can see the importance of his "credits" along Main Street.
The lower right side of the window reads as follows: Subsidiaries, Tomahawk Properties, Latin American Development, Ayefour Corporation, Bay Lake Properties, Reedy Creek Ranch Lands, and Compass East Corporation. The land acquisition began in 1964 from more than 100 property owners at a total cost of nearly $5.5 million dollars. Since then, another 2000 acres have been added. (By the way, Ayefour - think I4 - the interstate next to Disney World. More of Walt's humor showing through!)
I did prepare a layout of these Main Street Windows, but they are so difficult to see and I really wanted to share this piece of Disney history with you. Next time you visit, be sure to look up as you walk down Main Street. I don't know about you, but Joe and I are always present for both opening and closing credits at any movie. You just never know. There might be a really terrific short after the movie! ;) For the layout, I used Connie's Mouse In The House Bundle along with a free word art add-on. The font, called Walter, is one of my favorites when scrapping Disney.
A reminder to Connie Prince template fans! Template Challenge #178 just started at MouseScrappers yesterday. It continues through August 2nd. Come on over and join us for some fun!
Don't forget about the Designs By Connie Prince Retiring Products Sale going on now through July 31st! Last chance to grab these kits at terrific savings!
In closing, we are going to do this trivia question one more time. In what movie does a New York cat teach a Hollywood dog how to beg? One random winner with the correct answer will receive a $3 coupon to Connie's store! Please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Answers must be posted by Friday, July 26th at 5:00 PM EDT.
Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have. I sure hope you are all enjoying the Disney tidbits and history! Until next week......