History of the World, Part VII

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

While General Joe Potter was taking care of the infrastructure of Disney's huge parcel of land in Florida and Admiral Joe Fowler was overseeing the construction of the hotels, the Admiral was also overseeing the construction of the centerpiece of the resort's Phase I: the Magic Kingdom theme park.

The same, but different

While similar to Disneyland Park in California, plans were made to use many of the lessons learned from that park's construction and operation, as well as to take advantage of all of the space available. Walkways would be made wider to accommodate more patrons. Backstage areas would include underground passages, called “Utilidors” (a contraction of “utility corridors”) to allow cast members to move from location to location without their costumes seeming out of place. The castle would be made taller to allow it to be visible from all lands to serve as a wayfinding point for all guests, as well as to be visible from across the Seven Seas Lagoon to build guest anticipation.

To further differentiate from the original Disneyland, advertising campaigns focused on new attractions being built for Florida that were not available in California, such as the Hall of Presidents, the Mickey Mouse Review, the Country Bear Jamboree, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Proving the Imagineering axiom that “good ideas never die,” some of these “unique” attractions were reused from prior concepts. The Hall of Presidents was originally planned by Walt as an attraction for the 1964 World's Fair in New York (and also planned to be moved back to Disneyland as part of a proposed “Liberty Street,” the inspiration for Walt Disney World's Liberty Square). The Country Bear Jamboree was originally intended for Disney's planned ski resort at Mineral King (mentioned in Part 2