It's been 40 years since Disney World opened and turned Orlando into one of the world's most visited destinations. Sure, the long lines are a punch line. And all Disney magic comes with a price tag. But all 17.2 million people who pass annually through the Magic Kingdom can't be wrong.
So we tip our mouse ears to Disney with one fact for each year of its existence.
1. Walt Disney bought the 43 square miles of Central Florida swampland for Disney World for $5 million, or about $185 an acre.
2. Walt Disney died of complications of lung cancer on Dec. 15, 1966, before the first shovel of dirt was moved on construction of Disney World.
3. 10,000. That was the number of people in attendance for Disney World's soft opening on Oct. 1, 1971. But the grand opening later that month — which included performances by Julie Andrews, Bob Hope and Glen Campbell — was televised nationally. Today, the Magic Kingdom alone averages about 47,000 visitors a day.
December 18, 2011
40 fun facts for Disney World's 40th anniversary