After the success of Disneyland in Southern California, the planning and development of Walt Disney World during the 1960s was known as The Florida Project. This, however, wasn’t the first name for Walt Disney World as it was initially a secret that Disney was building a theme park in Central Florida.
During the mid 1960s, the project was simply known as Project X. In order to get the land below market value, Disney made sure no one knew they were purchasing the land using dummy corporations. Over an eighteen month period, they acquired 27,440 acres of land, nearly twice the size of Manhattan. The average price they paid was $200 per acre, far less than the $131,000 per acre the land nearby would sell for after it was announced who was purchasing the land. The Orlando Sentinel published an article on October 24, 1965 speculating that Disney was the company purchasing the land and the very next day it was confirmed by the governor of Florida to be true.
On November 12, 1965, Walt Disney, his brother Roy Disney, and Florida Governor Haydon Burns held a press conference to discuss their “Florida Project” and what would soon open as Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971.