These two images, drawn from the Department of Commerce Collection at the State Archives of Florida, give a sense of the land as Roy Disney and his entourage of company officials found it during their mid-1960s exploratory trips into the area to the southwest of Orlando. The Walt Disney Company would quietly assemble tens of thousands of acres in what would forever transform the economy of Florida.

Roy Disney (center, in glasses and dark sweater) and company during an inspection of the future site of Walt Disney World, ca. 1964. C069089CH. State Archives of Florida

Disney inspectors navigate one of the many small lakes that dot central Florida, ca. 1964. C067089BV. State Archives of Florida