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Disney shares 7 Rare Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

On May 30, 1967, the first ground was broken for the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort.

7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

This week in 1967, Disney officially broke ground in Florida for what would become Walt Disney World! And to mark the occasion, Disney has delved into the archives and shared a few rare images, including somw that have never been shared before.


As you can see in this fascinating image that Disney has never shared before from the Walt Disney Archives Photo Library, the iconic Cinderella Castle was one of the first structures to be built on the site. It was spectacular from the beginning – created with nearly 280 tons of steel and other materials.   


To the left of the photo is the future location of “it’s a small world” and in the top right, the early structure for the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea among other future attractions.   


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

Disney artists created and sculpted the Castle’s features, like the turrets, gargoyles and stonework, during early work on the property. Many of the fascinating ornamental additions to Cinderella Castle were created offsite and then delivered to the site and added by cranes.  


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

After work began on Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park began to come together as you can see in another rare image above. The park opened with experiences similar to those found at Disneyland, as well as its own unique attractions, including The Country Bear Jamboree.


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

As it all started to come together and blueprints were worked on, a press event in 1969 gave visitors a first look at what Disney World would actually be.    


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

At the Ramada Inn Tower in Ocoee, Florida, visitors were among the first to explore scale models and artwork for the creation of Disney World – and Audio-Animatronics figures!  


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

Disney leaders who spoke and signed autographs included Roy O. Disney, Charlie Ridgway, John Hench, Donn Tatum and Card Walker. And during the event, leaders also announced Oct. 1, 1971 as Walt Disney World Resort’s opening date. 


7 Rare, Vintage Images to celebrate Walt Disney World's Groundbreaking

During the event, Roy O. Disney told a crowd how happy he was to oversee Walt’s dream of a new Disney theme park saying, “Everything you will see here today is something Walt worked on and began in some way. And today, the Walt Disney organization is dedicated to carrying out these wonderful plans in Walt Disney World.”


Since the historic opening in 1971, Walt Disney World has continued to grow with the opening of EPCOT in 1982, Disney-MGM Studios (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in 1989 and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in 1998 – along with other major openings over the years that have inspired generations of guests who have made Walt Disney World the most visited theme park destination in the world.


Disney’s impact on Florida continues today, fueling Florida’s economy, supporting small businesses, and giving back to nonprofit organizations doing amazing work in the community. To read more about these efforts, visit DisneyFlorida.com.


Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom

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