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Old 04-29-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
LSUfan4444
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Looking for old rumors on the Florida Project

It seems every Disney fan in the New Orleans area has heard the story about Walt Disney having an interest in building WDW there, prior to Orlando. The specific area of interest is up to debate, but the reasons he chose Orlando are pretty agreed upon.

The vast majority believe when it came time to discuss infrastructure, the crooked politicians that decorate Louisiana's history basically asked Walt how much would he give them to let him build his little theme park here. Florida had already started building roads and highways and basically offered the opposite of Louisiana and had the vision to say, "what can we do for you to build your park here?"

Question is, what other areas were rumored to be considered? Any of them were serious contenders like South Louisiana/New Orleans and Orlando?

Is the New Orleans rumor all just hype passed down from generation locally, or is that generally accepted as true other places as well?
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:40 PM   #2
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Or it was subterfuge by Disney to get eyeballs looking elsewhere while put Orlando together.

NO is so far from the East coast population masses I find it hard to believe.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
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I had heard at one time St. Louis was actually going to be announced, with Walt and the Disney staff there to do so. Something came up and at the last minute it was changed to Orlando.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSUfan4444 View Post
It seems every Disney fan in the New Orleans area has heard the story about Walt Disney having an interest in building WDW there, prior to Orlando. The specific area of interest is up to debate, but the reasons he chose Orlando are pretty agreed upon.

The vast majority believe when it came time to discuss infrastructure, the crooked politicians that decorate Louisiana's history basically asked Walt how much would he give them to let him build his little theme park here. Florida had already started building roads and highways and basically offered the opposite of Louisiana and had the vision to say, "what can we do for you to build your park here?"

Question is, what other areas were rumored to be considered? Any of them were serious contenders like South Louisiana/New Orleans and Orlando?

Is the New Orleans rumor all just hype passed down from generation locally, or is that generally accepted as true other places as well?

~I never heard about New Orleans, but I know about St. Louis. Disney World would have been in St. Louis but they lost the deal over beer & a bad attitude!

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That night, the Disney entourage attended a big dinner party with the politicians, businessmen, and local bankers involved in the project. It was there the offending remark was made. "Any man who thinks he can design an attraction that is going to be a success in this city and not serve beer or liquor, ought to have his head examined," said the head of the city's leading business. Hearing the remark, the mayor gasped, "Oh, my god." He turned to Adm. Fowler, who sat next to him, and apologized, saying, "I just can't control that guy."

But the damage was done. Walt hated being challenged, especially in public. Upon returning from the dinner party to his hotel suite, he asked Card Walker, another Disney vice president, "What time can we have the plane in the morning?" Surprised, Walker responded, "But you know we've got" He tried to say they had legal papers to sign the next day, but Walt cut him off. "It's all finished," said Walt. "We're not coming. Forget about it."2 Afterwards, local bankers made three trips to California trying to change Walt's mind, all unsuccessful. August (Gussie) Busch, Jr.'s insulting remark had killed the deal Disney World would not be in St. Louis.

As this incident shows, urban economic development involves an element of serendipity. A city's growthits increase in population, employment, and tax basecan be planned, but only so much. Local development efforts are subject to chance events and the influence of human conduct, for good and ill. So it was that night in St. Louis in November 1963. Were it not for Gussie Busch's boorish behavior, a Disney "River Front Square" might shoulder the banks of the Mississippi, next to Busch Stadium, its entertainment drawn from the themes of old St. Louis and New Orleans, Louis and Clark, and the Louisiana Purchase. The events that evening changed the history of two cities. For the beer baron was like the guilty party in a broken engagement: in repulsing the Disney fiancée, he enabled another city to win her. The failure of the first relationship facilitated the second one.

As everyone knows, it was Orlando that "won" Walt Disney World.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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Never been to St. Louis but isn't it pretty cold there in the winter months? Orlando was a better choice, IMO.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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Here is a wikipedia link to Disney attractions that were never built.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...re_never_built

It states that WDW was originally planned at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Which had plenty of Disney influence. Then those plans were shifted to become WDW.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_Ne...World%27s_Fair
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:51 PM   #7
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A few years ago Chad Emerson wrote a book about Project Future. He was a speaker at a meeting of the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club. His book was very informative and detailed. I know he did talk about other locations that were considered and what they did not make the final cut. I don't remember if anything in the NOLA area was considered.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRDISNEYMD View Post
~I never heard about New Orleans, but I know about St. Louis. Disney World would have been in St. Louis but they lost the deal over beer & a bad attitude!

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I read one time that the St Louis idea was not intended to be a theme park the scale of WDW, but rather a one or two city block indoor facility geared towards the midwest, but not a location for WDW.

The "square" referred to one or two "square" city blocks form my understanding.

Walt had learned from Disneyland, he needed more room than what he had in Cali and St Louis did not offer them that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:44 PM   #9
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I don't know that NOLA was ever considered, but I do know for a fact that a gentelman with a large amount of land on the mississippi/alabama line was approached by Walt about development. He refused to sell, but has photos taken at the meeting with Walt.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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I don't know that NOLA was ever considered, but I do know for a fact that a gentelman with a large amount of land on the mississippi/alabama line was approached by Walt about development. He refused to sell, but has photos taken at the meeting with Walt.
If he has pictures, then that was almost certainly not for WDW. It would have been for something else. The land for the Florida Project was all gathered through multiple shell corporations. Walt Disney wanted his name, and face to stay as far away from any deal as possible. I forget the specifics, but once the Florida Project was revealed to be WDW, the price for the last few needed tracts of land went up by something like a factor of 10.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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If he has pictures, then that was almost certainly not for WDW. It would have been for something else. The land for the Florida Project was all gathered through multiple shell corporations. Walt Disney wanted his name, and face to stay as far away from any deal as possible. I forget the specifics, but once the Florida Project was revealed to be WDW, the price for the last few needed tracts of land went up by something like a factor of 10.
It was later, I think possibly for a water park type venture as there was a large man made lake in place on the property with a sand beach.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:08 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Figment View Post
A few years ago Chad Emerson wrote a book about Project Future. He was a speaker at a meeting of the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club. His book was very informative and detailed. I know he did talk about other locations that were considered and what they did not make the final cut. I don't remember if anything in the NOLA area was considered.
I've been hoping my library would get a copy of this in at some point, but I might have to just order it from amazon. Been wanting to read this for a couple years now.
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:31 PM   #13
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I've been told numerous times that Tampa had been Walt's preferred location. However, local government demands were either too high or they were not interested !
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:50 PM   #14
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Never been to St. Louis but isn't it pretty cold there in the winter months? Orlando was a better choice, IMO.
Its pretty cold Today!!! May 4. :-)

And it is just as hot as Florida in the summer. St. Louis would have been a terrible place weather wise.

I can't even imagine how the city would have changed if it had come here though. Wow!
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by LSUfan4444 View Post
I read one time that the St Louis idea was not intended to be a theme park the scale of WDW, but rather a one or two city block indoor facility geared towards the midwest, but not a location for WDW.

The "square" referred to one or two "square" city blocks form my understanding.

Walt had learned from Disneyland, he needed more room than what he had in Cali and St Louis did not offer them that.
The Illinois side of the river directly across from the Arch would have offered quite a bit of room to grow. A monorail going back and forth across the river would have been cool.
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