From HelloGiggles.com (and other sources) - Midwestern Disneyland

Disney World was thisclose to being built in a midwestern city
Rachel Paige — December 8, 2015 10:25 am

Disney World was thisclose to being built in a midwestern city
You know Disneyland is located in sunny Anaheim, California. You know Disney World is located in sunny, hot, humid Orlando, Florida. But did you know that the World was almost located somewhere completely different?

On Thursday, plans for “Walt Disney’s Riverfront Square” go up for auction. These plans are the original blueprints for the St. Louis, Missouri theme park. Yes, Missouri. Yes, once upon a time Walt Disney almost built a theme park in the midwest.

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With the success of Disneyland, the Disney Company started looking to the future of their parks in the late 50s, early 60s, and began scouting out new locations for a second park. Location and money were a huge factor, because Walt was looking for a TON of space for not a whole lot of Disney Dollars. That brought him to St. Louis, where the idea was to build a theme park over two blocks of space, and, it would all have been indoors. Yes, a five-story indoor theme park complete with attractions, restaurants, and Pirates of the Caribbean (and yes, this does sound a lot like the current Disney World indoor attraction, DisneyQuest).

This idea was on the fast-track to happen, and Walt even met with the Mayor of St. Louis in 1963 to discuss everything, according to the AP. If St. Louis still sounds like a surprising choice for a Disney park, Walt grew up in Marceline, Missouri, and yes, some of the inspiration behind Main Street U.S.A. came from this midwestern town. Now the idea was to actually put a park there.

But, like many things in life, it all came down to money. According to the Disney History Institute, “Disney was willing to pay for the rides and attractions, but wanted St. Louis’ redevelopment corporation to pay for the building. The corporation declined to do so.” This led Walt to say, “see ya real soon!” and then found this great piece of swamp land in Florida and began building Disney World.

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