|Walt's Aerial View|
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. However, November 22nd, 1963 is also an important date in Walt Disney World history. In the months leading up to this day, Walt had been looking for the best spot to build his "second Disneyland." On this fateful morning, he was flying over Central Florida in his private plane, when Bay Lake caught his eye. He found the perfect location for Disney World. However, shortly after his plane landed, he was informed of the tragedy that had just taken place. Walt was a very patriotic man and the news was obviously upsetting to him. In the following months, the Disney company started buying up huge amounts of land in the area of Bay Lake, using fictitious company names. If the owners knew that it was Disney, the price of the land would have skyrocketed.
I was able to take this photo a few years back, when I was a pilot and flight instructor. I was on final approach to Kissimmee Airport when I saw Bay Lake off to the right of the plane. You can see Discovery Island in the middle of that lake and Seven Seas Lagoon in the background. If you look closely, you can see the Contemporary Resort sitting between the two bodies of water. You can also see Space Mountain in this shot. I have to believe that Walt had a very similar view on that historic morning, 50 years ago.