Disney World opens in Florida, Oct. 1, 1971
Heralded as ‘Disneyland East’ and a predicted boon to the central Florida economy, Disney’s Orlando theme park opened Oct. 1, 1971. At the time, the estimated cost for a family of four to visit for a day was $30, which included eating a meal in the Magic Kingdom.
“Walt Disney World threw open its gates more than two hours ahead of schedule today and thousands of visitors streamed into the vast entertainment complex,” reported the United Press International article published that day in the Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho.
“The first visitors to the $400 million showplace when it opened at 7:40 a.m. were a Lakeland, Fla., couple and two small children who spent the night in a small foreign car to be the first in line.”
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Read more about the Magic Kingdom’s early days
A July 15, 1971, article in the Muscatine Journal of Muscatine, Iowa, described the preparations and anticipation surrounding the planned amusement park. Tourist Bonanza Expected
An article in the Dec. 25, 1971, issue of the Lawrence Daily Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas, noted that Disney World was already drawing visitors away from traditional Florida vacation spots. Hordes Jam Disney World