This weekend, on October 1, Walt Disney World is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Of course, things were a bit different back in 1971 than they are now. At the time, there was just one park, the Magic Kingdom. And there were two hotels, the Contemporary and the Polynesian, and the Monorail connecting the park and the hotels together. Fort Wilderness Campground opened a month later, in November 1971.
I remember the opening day well, obviously, since I was only seven and a half months old. Okay, so I really don’t remember it at all. Or much of anything else from that time period, for that matter. But I do always enjoy it when they reference 1971 in their merchandise and other stuff, because that was also the year that I was born. And no, 40 isn’t old at all.
October 1 also marks another milestone. On October 1, 1982, EPCOT Center opened at Walt Disney World. The park has changed some over the years, which includes its name being changed to Epcot. Personally, I still prefer the EPCOT Center name, because it was supposed to be a center to showcase new ideas of Walt Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. EPCOT Center was the park, while EPCOT was the community that Disney was going to build. But unfortunately, the real EPCOT never came to be.
I first visited Walt Disney World just about nine months after EPCOT Center opened. And as a young lad of twelve years old, I immediately fell in love with the place. I started reading all the books I could about it (there weren’t many) and learning all I could about it.
I have been back to Walt Disney World several times since that first trip. And each time, I am glad that it is there and that it did open all those years ago. And if you have spent any time at all around Burnsland.com, you can probably tell that I enjoy Walt Disney World. At least a little.
In a way, it is a little disappointing to me that Disney isn’t making a bigger deal out of this. But then, it is just a 40th anniversary, which usually doesn’t carry nearly as much importance as a 50th anniversary. Or even a 25th anniversary. They aren’t having an official “celebration” as in a big year-long event, but they are having a special ceremony on October 1, which is better than nothing.
And speaking of anniversaries, I was there for the 15th anniversary celebration. And then I was there for the 20th anniversary celebration. And the 25th anniversary celebration. But after that, they didn’t really do anything for the 30th or 35th anniversaries. So at least this time around they have some 40th anniversary merchandise out. In fact, I got a 40th anniversary t-shirt and some other stuff this summer. I guess they started celebrating early. At least as far as making money goes.
Hopefully, Walt Disney World will have many more good years ahead of it! And hopefully, I’ll be back there sometime in the not too distant future.