IN THE MID 1960's, at about the time the New YorkWorld's Fair closed, representatives of Walt Disney Enterprises began acquiring big acreage in the scrub, lake-studded country of central Florida near Orlando. In the end an area of more than 27,000 acres – 43 square miles – was acquired. This is a terrain about the same size as the city of San Francisco, twice that of the island of Manhattan.
Location. Thus the genesis of the fabulous carnival called Walt Disney World, which opened to its first visitors last October 1st. The location was not left to chance. No one, including the millions of tourists, traveling the length of the Florida peninsula, can pass Disney World much farther than an hour's drive away. Its gates are close to Interstate 4. Florida's primary highway link across central Florida between Daytona and Tampa. It is in proximity to the state's "Sunshine" toll highway, and to a number of state highways of varying capacity. Although more than 80 per cent of Florida's visitors come by car, the traveler to Disney World is reasonably graced by rail and air facilities. It is served by the Orlando airports, and has a V/STOL (Vertical/Short Takeoff or Landing) site on the premises. The new Autotrain from Washington, D.C. disgorges its passengers and cars at Sanford within an easy drive. Overall, if you look at the map and consider all of the U.S. east of the Rockies as a great sack, it is located in the neck where the great Interstates debouch into Florida.
Fabulous. That Disney World is a fabled community dedicated to amusement and recreation is attested by the millions of words and miles of publicity spawned since its opening last year. Its creation was a colossal undertaking, costing some $400 million. Not only is it immense, but it is remarkably self-contained.