Disney has approximately 9 months to complete construction of Walter Elias Disney International Airport at Disney World

The waltz disney Company made big announcements at Expo J23 2022 early Septemberbut company executives made no mention of building Walter Elias Disney International Airport on Disney World property, and time is running out for Disney to close the deal.

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Credit: Disney

Construction of the Walter Elias Disney Airport to Disney World, which would serve visitors traveling to the resort area to visit the parks, must be completed by June 30, 2023, as new legislation will come into effect on July 1, 2023 – legislation that will forever remove Disney’s autonomy to build its own airport. But the project would be a colossal undertaking. They’re going to need dump trucks full of pixie dust for this one.

Disney World is ever-changing and ever-growing, just as Walt Disney ‘prophesied’ when he first purchased thousands of acres of swampland in a desolate, wet area of ​​central Florida in the early days. of the 1960s.

Credit: D23

“Here in Florida, we have something special that we’ve never enjoyed at Disneyland: the blessing of size,” Walt said. “There’s enough ground here to hold every idea and plan we can imagine.”

Walt’s first land purchase in Central Florida was traded in October 1964. And by the time he was done buying swamps, he had amassed nearly 30,000 acres within Orange County and Osceola County. And it only cost him about $5 million.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

In 1966, Walt Disney and his team began their lobbying efforts in the Sunshine State with the goal of establishing the Reedy’s Creek Improvement district. Reedy Creek would serve as a special tax district that ultimately gave Disney World the blessing of full autonomy over the land on which the new theme park would be built. In essence, Disney could do (almost) anything it wanted.

Credit: Disney Archives

Reedy’s Creek independent special district was created to function as its own authority from a governmental perspective, allowing it to have the same authority and responsibilities as any county government. Reedy Creek could levy taxes, create its own building codes, maintain itself independently of surrounding counties, and even build its own nuclear power plant or an airport that would serve guests vacationing at Disney World.

The Florida Legislature passed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act in 1967.

Lake Buena Vista STOLport – What is it?

When waltz disney bought a marshy land in Florida, he was already dreaming of his airport of the future. It would serve many purposes, not the least of which was to provide transportation for visitors to and from Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney Archives

See the location of the airport at the southern tip of the Disney World development area on this map.

walt disney epcot blueprints
Credit: Disney Archives
walt disney epcot airport maps
Credit: Disney Archives

Walt envisioned an airport that a central monorail line would connect to an entry plaza and a hub and the amusement park resort area, which would become disney world located around and near bay lake.

While Walt Disney World was being built, this part of central Florida wasn’t quite the size it is today, but it still needed a new airport, because the closest to the area of Walt Disney World only had one. commercial airstrip, and it operated from part of McCoy Air Force Base (hence the call letters “MCO”), according to a site that features articles on the history of Walt’s “Florida Project” and EPCOT City:

“The desire to Walt disney World have his own airport was not as arbitrary as it seems today. In 1971, what has now become the bustling Orlando International Airport was known as Orlando Jetport to McCoy. Jhe Jetport inherited a former Air Force missile hangar. Even after the government decommissioned the base in 1975 and transferred the entire site to the city of Orlandoair travelers arriving under the new name Orlando International Airport were hosted by the same primitive Quonset hut terminal until more modern facilities opened in 1981.

“For a brief period in the early 1970s, however, it was possible for the jet set to head to the Vacation Kingdom of the World through Disney’s own airstrip, the Lake Buena Vista STOL port. This facility, for private use airportdesignated “DWS” by IATA, was essentially a 2,000-foot featureless airstrip and taxiway. »

The Lake Buena Vista STOL port was located east of the current Walt disney World Speedway. STOLPort only offered services to Guests vacationing at Disney World. According to Disney Fandom, Shawnee Airlines served passengers to Orlando International and Tampa International. It was a tiny place, but there were plans to build a full-service airport located at Walt Disney World Resort. These plans were scrapped in the 1980s, however, as Disney expanded its monorail system.

Credit: Cory Disbrow via Flickr

Disney’s Magical Express is no more, and customers need better options

Currently, millions of guests arrive at Orlando International Airport en route to Disney World, but the resort is located 20 to 25 miles from MCO, which means guests have had to arrange transportation from Orlando to Disney World since the death of the STOLport. For this reason, Disney has set up a service known as Magical Express.

It was free for guests staying on Disney World property and offered transportation to and from MCO via brightly colored Mickey-inspired buses. But a lot of good things must come to an end, and Disney’s Magical Express met its demise in January 2022 (likely because it was free). The end of the Magical Express left guests finding other ways to get to the parks from MCO :Mconnect earsthe circular of the sun, car rentals and rideshares like Uber and Lyft are now popular choices for visitors to get to the parks from Orlando.

magic express
Credit: ITM

It is time to develop and build an airport on Disney World property, as it would serve the millions of visitors who visit the resort each year. It would also serve as a dream come true for a full service airport that once danced in the creative spirit of Walt and those who worked closely with him – and not anywhere near the old airstrip, which can still be seen from World Drive.

The name “Buena Vista” belonged to Walt’s day, but in light of Disney’s upcoming 100th anniversary, it seems much more appropriate to honor the man behind it all and officially register the airport as a Walter Elias Disney International Airport (and I hope the WED isn’t already used by another airport).

No airport project was discussed in Expo D23 2022 in Anaheim early September, and Disney is running out of time. For the first time since 1967, time is running out and Disney no longer has the unlimited freedom to build the airport as it once did. There is still a window, but it is actively closing as I type this.

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Since the passage of Reedy’s Creek Improvement Act, which gave Disney its own special district at Disney World, the company had the legal right to build anything from an airport to a nuclear power plant in the area. (Yes, we’re serious.) But when Florida lawmakers voted to repeal the Reedy’s Creek improvement district during special session in April of this year, time has begun to tick on this right and this window of opportunity. As it stands, Reedy Creek will be dissolved, effective July 1, 2023, and any special privileges the Betterment Act granted to Disney will also be dissolved.

But maybe all they need is a little faith, trust and pixie dust to complete the project on time – and a different contractor than the one overseeing the construction of TRON Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom. (Who knows how long an airport would take this entrepreneur?) This may be the perfect recipe for a whole new kind of attraction at Disney World – Walter Elias Disney International Airport – and the most impressive thing on this subject ? The fact that Disney had it built and up and running in just a few months!

Credit: Becky Burkett/Canva

Disney has always strived to make the impossible, possible, so that the new airport isn’t completely uncharted territory for the entertainment giant. And just think, if Disney can pull this off, Walt’s memory will be honored in a monumental way, and Universal will never be able to overshadow Disney on social media again! Win, win, win.

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