Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100: DISNEY’S 50TH

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When my family moved to Orlando in August of 1971, three months before Disney opened, it was a very different place. Air transportation was located at a converted Air Force base; the biggest tourist attractions were Cypress Gardens and Six Gun Territory; and FTU was a respected, but smallish, commuter school. Today, Central Florida boasts a world-class international airport, the second-largest university in the nation, and an explosion in high-tech/high growth industries. It is virtually impossible to exaggerate the impact Disney has had on Central Florida’s economy and lifestyle. It is also a case study in what one significant catalyst can do to transform a region.

Originally posted for the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100.

Photo: www.disney.com