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To make a long story short, by the 1950s the Disneys had decided that animated movies were too hit-or-miss to rely on. Some of the films would be big successes, while others would fail to cover their costs. Walt had taken an interest in amusement parks and decided he could build something better than the typical carnival rides and down-scale atmosphere of such parks at the time. And his Disneyland would provide a stable source of revenue for the company.
Disneyland was a huge success, but Walt was not satisfied. He hated that the surrounding land was bought up by opportunists eager to take advantage of the attraction of Disneyland by setting up tacky tourist traps. He was bothered by the fact that Disneyland was visited by almost nobody from the East Coast. So he decided a second Disneyland must be built, and it must be built east of the Mississippi.
Numerous locations were considered. But ultimately, Orlando hit the trifecta: weather that would permit year-round operation, cheap land, and transportation access. In the 1960s, Orlando wasn't much of a city. But local leaders had big ideas, and saw greater road access as key to fuel development. They ensured that I-4 and the Florida Turnpike would connect their city to the major north-south highways I-95 and I-75. Walt Disney reportedly flew over the area, saw the newly-built roadways, and decided it would be perfect for what would be one of the most ambitious construction projects ever attempted.
Too be continued...