Posts tagged “theme parks

Imagining the Future in Central Florida

Posted on June 14, 2012

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.

A Not-So-Small World

Posted on June 11, 2012

The title of the Sherman Brothers’ tune, made famous by Disney’s use in its iconic boat ride that debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair before being rebuilt at Disneyland, aptly describes the small size of the Anaheim, California, theme park carved out of orange groves less than ten years earlier. As suburban sprawl engulfed Disneyland, its 160 acres began to seem a big too small. The reason Walt Disney wanted a clean slate when he contemplated a second theme park and the reason he chose central Florida are apparent – albeit less so than in the past – in these satellite views. Even with sustained development over the past four decades, the 47-square-mile Walt Disney World Resort retains substantial forestland that creates…

A Fisheye View of Silver Springs

Posted on April 28, 2012

Silver Springs, located just east of Ocala in north-central Florida, is internationally known for its crystalline waters teeming with fish. As American Tourism contributor and Silver Springs historian Tom Berson demonstrates, visionary leaders, transportation innovations, and depictions in popular culture spread the attraction’s name far and wide. Apart from the famed theme park where glass-bottom boats glide atop the shimmering natural pool, the springs afforded ideal conditions for underwater filming. Silver Springs has served as a stand-in for the Everglades, the Amazon River, the Bahamas, and even Africa. Several early Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller were filmed at Silver Springs in the 1930s, and the popular late ’50s TV show Sea Hunt featured numerous underwater sequences shot at the Florida attraction. A fish-gilled monster man…