Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walt Disney World

Summertime means travel time. I'm lucky when it comes to travel. I've seen many of the world's landmarks up close and personal. Places like the Eiffel Tower, The Acropolis, Vatican City, Ayres Rock, Franz Josep Glacier, Norte Dame and Big Ben. For the next few postings I want to share some lesson plans I use for my students as I present some of America's outstanding landmarks and places of interest. So get your luggage packed and gas-up your mental car because we're off. Today, let's go to Walt Dsiney World:

In 1959, Walt Disney began looking for land for a second theme park that would be like Disneyland which had opened in the summer of 1955. Only 2% of the visitors to Disneyland came from the eastern part of America, where 75% of the nation’s population lived. Walt Disney wanted a large amount of land on the east coast where visitors could feel they were really in a “magical land” far away from the “real” world.

In November 1963 Disney visited Florida and found a large piece of land in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, just southwest of Orlando. He saw the good roads around the land and fell in love with it. This land was mostly swampland back then. When asked, he said that the roads intersected here, which is why he chose it. To keep from having a sudden increase in land prices, he created several dummy companies to buy 27,400 acres. The first five acre lot was purchased in October of 1964. In May of 1965, two large pieces of land were sold, totaling $1.5 million. These were purchased by very exotic sounding companies, such as the "Reedy Creek Ranch Corporation”, which is today the name of the Disney World Fire Department.

Once the land purchases were discovered, a press conference was organized to announce Disney‘s plans. In the press conference, he explained what he planned to do, including the plans for EPCOT, which stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. EPCOT was to be a futuristic city, also known as Progress City. These plans changed following Disney's death, becoming EPCOT Center, a second theme park. Many of the original concepts for EPCOT were incorporated into the community of Celebration later.

Sadly, Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, before Disneyworld was finished. His brother Roy put off his own retirement to oversee the rest of the construction. At the dedication of the property, Roy gave a speech, where he said the property would officially be known as WALT Disney World, to honor his brother. And so even though Walt Disney did not live to see his dream realized, his dream would become true thanks to his brother Roy.

Roy Disney died just two short months after Walt Disney World opened, in December of 1971. EPCOT was completed in 1981 at a cost of 1.4 billion, the Disney/MGM Studios Theme Park in 1989, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in 1994, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998. Today, Disneyworld also has a 10,000 person amphitheater, Discovery Island, Pleasure Island, and Village Market, the theme park’s shopping center. Today, Disney World ranks the 6th most visited theme park in the world and employees about 52,000 people during the peak season. It sits on 25,000 acres of land or 45 sq. miles, almost twice the size of Manhattan. Find out more at: http://www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now, here's a poem that walks like Mickey Mouse:

A Reoccurring Dream, Swallowing Trees

In this scenario
the audience is encouraged to believe
there's a cold war raging in the pitcher
of milk, performed by a secret
agent disguised as the lit interior of a late-model
car. Life is a
bed wetter that likes a constant temperature of 88 degrees.

Hand shakes are the accepted gesture when first meeting.
The demilitarize-zone wears a name-tag and is
set-up between
the wrist and collarbone.
If anything aches it's OK to rub it.
Foot soldiers do. Some even open the window when they
dream. And if they get lost,
they subtract the remaining body
fluids then multiply their mother's age by two. What's left equals
religion or a canary in a coal mine. Either way, most people
don't mind
eating off paper plates and have
no problem writing a letter now
and then to a convicted felon.
They find comfort in knowing the getaway car has a full tank and
say they keep the extra voice in
a jewellery box, simply because it's the
last place anybody would look.

Poem first published at: http://www.laurahird.com/
Visit my ezine: http://www.concelebratory.blogspot.com/
and music blog: http://www.medleymakersant.blgospot.com/
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


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