Do you consider yourself to be quite the Disney World buff? Can no one else hold a candle to your wisdom of Walt and all things mouse-related??
Well then, it’s time to put your Disney knowledge to the test!
That’s because although we pride ourselves on knowing almost everything there is to know about Walt Disney World, sometimes things slip throughout the cracks of even OUR ever-expansive wisdom!
In fact, we’ve got five surprising facts we dug up to share with you today! Believe it or not, some of us just found this stuff out and our minds are still totally blown!
The Beatles Officially Broke Up at Disney World
While The Beatles had been on the outs after releasing Let It Be in 1970, the band was legally dissolved in 1974 AT DISNEY WORLD! Yup — it’s TRUE!
John Lennon was staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort on Christmas holiday when he received the documents that would officially disband The Beatles. Who knew this tropical hideaway hid such a deep, dark secret?!
Isn’t it crazy to think you could book THE room where John Lennon officially disbanded The Beatles? Disney won’t share the ACTUAL room number, but from photos, fans have pieced together it was a ground room floor with a Magic Kingdom View in the Samoa Longhouse (if you’re eager to hunt it down!).
As crazy as it is to think, Cinderella Castle was a distant observer of this momentous occasion! Next time you’re sipping a Lapu Lapu from Tambu Lounge, maybe hum a little “Here Comes the Sun” in your head, you know…out of respect. 🙂
Nixon Gave His Famous “I Am Not a Crook” Speech at Disney World
Another major historical event took place at Disney World in 1973, just ONE YEAR before the crazy Beatles sitch over at the Polynesian! In the Ballroom of the Americas on the second floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, President Richard Nixon gave his famous speech during which he exclaimed the infamous phrase, “I am not a crook!”
The speech was filmed during an hour-long Q&A session which took place in November! One year later, Nixon resigned from office.
You could have knocked us over with a feather when we found out Disney’s Contemporary Resort served as the backdrop for this iconic moment in American History! Next time you’re on a monorail ride through this hotel (or, ya know, charging your phone or taking a nap on those sweet couches on the 2nd floor), consider the HUGE American history that happened steps away!!
Disney World’s Original Plan Included Asian, Persian, and Venetian-Themed Hotels
Disney’s Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts were the first hotels to open in Disney World, but did you know these were only two of the five initial hotels planned for Disney World’s Phase One and Two? In fact, they were seen all throughout the original promotional materials for Disney World!
The other three hotels were set to live around Bay Lake, the lake that connects to Seven Seas Lagoon. This is the same lake that Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds resides on. The land was even cleared to begin construction, but due to an oil embargo in 1973, tourism dropped sharply causing construction to stop.
By the time construction was able to resume, the projects were stalled by other problems. Ever notice how this prime land in Disney World sits vacant around the backside of Bay Lake? There’s a reason: Florida swamp.
The ground is essentially wet mush. Every time the Imagineers sent crews out to hammer pylons in the waterfront, they’d basically be sucked up by the earth over time! The swampy land was considered too unstable and costly to securely house the resorts at the time.
To entice visitors back to the park as the 1973 Oil Crisis eased up, it was decided that resorts weren’t as much of a priority as having more attractions for visitors, so the resorts were shelved in favor of ramping up construction on the next Disney World theme park: Epcot.
When building new resorts was put back on the table, the new CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner, favored the idea of a flagship beachfront resort inspired by the Florida shoreline (sound familiar? Hint: it’s now Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!) over resorts heavily themed to foreign cultures.
After the success of the Grand Floridian, Eisner revisited the idea of construction of the lavish Venetian resort but, again, the mucky swampland proved problematic and plans were put on hold again.
The project was put on a shelf and hasn’t been revisited since (at least publicly). How amazing would it be if you could hop on the monorail and ride to Disney’s Asian, Persian, or Venetian-inspired resorts? We imagine the food at these places would’ve been GREAT! 😉
Dolphins and Humans Are Eating Off the Same Menu at Epcot
Speaking of great food, did you know Disney World feeds its animals as well as it feeds its guests? For instance, the dolphins that are swimming around The Seas at Epcot are enjoying the exact same quality fish you get served at the adjoining Coral Reef Restaurant! But where do they keep their wallets to pay the bill?
One of our team members picked up this tidbit on the Epcot Seas Adventure — Aqua Tour at Epcot. She also found out it contains over 5.7 million gallons of water making it one of the top ten biggest aquariums in the whole world!
Disney World Has an Abandoned Airstrip
If you’ve ever wished you could fly straight to Disney World, you actually could at one time!
The Lake Buena Vista STOLport was built in 1971 (the same year Magic Kingdom opened) to allow direct flights by Shawnee Airlines to Disney World!
Although it was operational for fewer than 10 years, with Shawnee Airlines only running flights there for about three of them, it was conveniently located right next to Disney World’s Transportation and Ticket Center!
The runway proved too impractical for the airline, and eventually the monorail was extended out near the end of the runway, making it impossible to safely land on the airstrip.
Walt Disney World is now a designated no-fly zone after 9/11, meaning you won’t see planes or helicopters in the air space above the parks with the occasional rare exception.
The space is now used as storage and parking. And another fun fact — the grooves on the runway (which is STILL THERE to this day) are rumored to have played “When You Wish Upon a Star” when you drove over them at a rate of 45MPH, earning it the nickname “The Singing Runway!”
That’s some pretty incredible stuff we just learned and now you’ve learned it too! Did you know all these cool facts? WE sure didn’t! See, there’s always something interesting to be learned about the Most Magical Place On Earth! Go forth and spread your newly-found wisdom with the Disney masses!
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Which Disney fact were you super-surprised by? Let us know in the comments below!