In November of 1965, after numerous months of speculation surrounding a mystery industry that had been purchasing large amounts of land in central Florida, Walt Disney finally put an end to the rumors. He announced to the public his grandiose plans for the thousands of acres he had secretly purchased.
For the eighteen months prior to the announcement, Walt entrusted a small group of men to covertly make these purchases. Next, they were tasked with drafting a legislative act to submit to the state of Florida that would allow Disney to wield nearly absolute legal control over the property under a quasi-government municipality.
Staying true to its storytelling roots, Disney wove a tale of mystery centered around a high-ranking CIA operative, who was rumored to have been, just a few short years before, the paymaster behind the Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba.
This savvy and well-connected CIA agent became the de facto leader for the group of Disney executives and attorneys who orchestrated and executed a nearly perfect plan to keep Disney’s identity a secret from the public by utilizing aliases, shell corporations, and meandering travel itineraries, all in an effort to protect the company’s identity during the land acquisition process.
As told through the personal notes and files from the key figures involved in the project, Buying Disney’s World details the story of how Walt Disney World came to be, like you’ve never heard before. From conception to construction and everything in between—including how a parcel of land within Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort was acquired during a high-stakes poker game—explore how the company most famous for creating Mickey Mouse acquired central Florida’s swamps, orange groves, and cow pastures to build a Disney fiefdom and a Magic Kingdom.