These Fun Old Photos Show The Early Days Of The Most Magical Place On Earth

In 1971, Florida got the gift of Disney with Walt Disney World Resort being built outside Orlando. Take a look at moments from the first days of its existence.

Crowds watch a parade on Main Street at Walt Disney World Resort

On Oct. 1, 1971, Walt Disney World Resort opened its magical gates for the first time to tourists in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The ticket price for admission was $3.50, or $24 in today's money. Disney's main character, Mickey, was already 43 years old, Disneyland in California had been open for 16 years, and Walt Disney himself had died five years prior in 1966. The Florida resort and theme park started with the Magic Kingdom and would grow over time to include EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

These photos show the early days of Disney World in Florida.

Two men dressed in suits - one the governor of Florida and the other Roy Disney - hold a press conference to announce the opening of Disney in Florida
Disney's construction manager is seen in a suit pointing towards a field where Disney World would be built
An open landscape view of construction site for Disney World with a castle in the middle
An architectural view of a hotel and train line under construction
A young father holds his son outside the castle at Walt Disney Resort
Julie Andrews performs a dance in the street at Disney World
Mickey Mouse stands between two females who hold his hands for a photo
Disney characters are seen walking in a parade for bystanders to celebrate the opening of Disney World
Donald Duck is seen reaching for a real live duck from a guest at Disney World
A candid view of Disney characters behind the scenes getting into a shuttle at Disney World
Disney characters and tourists fill a street in a parade
Three children enjoy a ride at Disney World with Goofy the Disney character
Hundreds of people queue in a line to enter Disney World
Cinderella's Castle lit up at night and reflected in an artificial stream at Disney World

Skip to footer