The 28,000-acre Walt Disney World in central Florida has been called " the most imaginative and effective piece of urban planning in America. While lacking many of the problems facing "real" American cities, the Disney operation has dealt with water supply, sewage, waste disposal, and transportation with the same creative approach that is the hallmark of the Disney enterprise.
As major cities across the U.S. struggle with obsolete and deteriorating water, sewer, waste-disposal, transportation, and other systems, an urban community in central Florida is a showplace of infrastructures that work. This community, which is about twice the size of Manhattan. is the Reedy Creek Improvement District, comprising the approximatelv 28,000 acres owned by the Walt Disney World Co. near Orlando. On this site are Disney's "Magic Kingdom" amusement park and the newly opened EPCOT Center, an adult-oriented showcase of current and future technologies.
While no taxpayers live on the property, demand for support systems IS as high as in a real city. A huge manufacturing enterprise, the world's fifth largest navy, two major resort hotels, some 17,000 - 20,000 employees, and 13 million visitors per year are among the reasons why.
Unlike many cities plagued by infrastructure problems (and by lack of funds to solve them), the Disney enterprise has had the luxury of planning, building, and maintaining its "city" from scratch, with the knowledge that funds would be available to carry out the plans.
Acquisition of the Florida land began in 1964-a full seven years before the opening of the Magic Kingdom in October 1971. During those year's, careful studies were made of how best to achieve a balance among recreational. residential, and commercial uses of the land, and how to protect valuable ecosystems while developing the site.