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The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida may soon be renamed

There’s talk about the name of the Walt Disney World Resort being permanently changed, and while that proposition enrages some fans, it’s not even on the radar for many.

cinderella castle

Credit: Becky Burkett/DisneyDining

Any time there’s a big change that involves Walt Disney World, there’s “buzz” about that change. It becomes breaking Disney Parks news, and both lovers and haters of the Mouse take to social media to make their case in favor of, or against, the proposed change or the changes on the horizon.

But even if the name of the Walt Disney World Resort were to be changed today, this writer has a hard time believing it should be regarded as news at all.

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Twitter user Parkscope Joe tweeted his opinion after listening to a podcast called the Disney Dish that offered to its listeners the idea that a name change may be in the Central Florida Resort’s future.

Parkscope Joe mentions the Resort’s name change, but he focuses on the brazenness with which “Josh and Bob” (Disney’s Josh D’Amaro and Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek) would be operating, should they choose to make such a change, omitting Walt’s name from the Resort’s official name–leaving Walt out altogether.

The Florida Project Walt Disney

Credit: Disney Archives

But in the mind of this writer, the resounding questions are these: “What’s the news? What’s the big deal? Hasn’t the company been leaving Walt out of Disney World for a few years now?”

When Walt Disney first spoke to his Imagineers about his plans for a fantastical new family park in Central Florida, he referred to those plans as “The Florida Project.” Whether it was because he hadn’t yet named his new park or because he wanted to preserve his anonymity outside his trusted circle, Walt didn’t refer to the new Central Florida plans as “Disney World” for a long time.

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But his untimely death in 1966 rocked the Disney company and left Imagineers and all those who worked alongside Walt stricken with grief, saddened, and downcast. But they were also more determined than ever to see Walt’s dream of a family park in Florida realized.

Disney World began welcoming Guests through its gates on October 1, 1971, but because of the fiasco of Disneyland’s opening day, the decision was made to delay the official Opening Ceremony and dedication of the park until October 25. During the ceremony, Walt’s brother Roy Disney named the parkWalt Disney World” so that all who visited the magical place would know that Walt, not Roy, was responsible for the ideas, the dreams, and the imagination that paved the way for the realization of the new park.

Roy O. Disney and Mickey Mouse at the Oct. 25, 1971, dedication ceremony for Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Disney Parks

Walt Disney World is the only member of the Disney Parks family to bear the name “Walt” in its title. Disney Parks Resorts like Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Aulani Resort don’t feature the visionary’s first name.

According to CinemaBlend, however, there is the very first spark of a rumor about The Walt Disney Company‘s possible plans to change the name of Walt’s beloved park from “Walt Disney World” to simply “Disney World” or even “Disneyworld,” removing “Walt” altogether. And at this time, it’s not clear whether the rumors are true.

But whether true or not, should a change in the Resort’s name that would leave “Walt” out completely really be “buzz” at all?

Cinderella Castle

Credit: Becky Burkett/DisneyDining

Many Disney fans–especially those who’ve been fans for years–feel like current Disney C-level execs have been leaving Walt out of things for a while now–that they’ve been forgetting the company’s roots and chasing the almighty dollar, even if it means bringing dishonor and disrespect to the name of Walt Disney and going against everything he stood for when he decided to build his parks.

Walt was clear that he created Disneyland because he wanted families to have a place where they could enjoy the day together–parents with their children, not simply parents taking their children to a park and sitting on a bench away from their children.

That had been Walt’s experience every Saturday with his two daughters, Diane and Sharon.

“Disneyland really began when my two daughters were very young,” Walt once explained. “Saturday was always Daddy’s Day, and I would take them to the merry-go-round and sit on a bench eating peanuts while they rode. And sitting there alone, I felt there should be something built, some kind of family park where parents and children could have fun together.”

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Family-UNfriendly elements added to Disney’s theme parks

But in recent years, there have been elements added to the Disney Parks that aren’t so family-friendly. Only a few years ago, alcohol wasn’t sold at Walt Disney World. Today, it’s readily available at each theme park: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT.

Toy story land

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At Disney Springs, the Edison Restaurant is strictly for Guests 21 and up in the evenings, regardless of whether those under 21 are accompanied by an adult. Evening entertainment includes a contortionist, burlesque dancers, and other offerings. Not only are those conditions and offerings not family-friendly, but they also serve to divide the family unit or exclude families with children altogether–quite the deviation from Walt’s initial inspiration.

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Walt Disney Company execs using their positions to further political agendas

While Walt Disney had a good rapport with a few U. S. Presidents and other public and political figures, he wasn’t into loud, polarizing activism and stance-taking when it came to Disneyland.

Nixon and disney at monorail dedication

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But The Walt Disney Company has spent a noticeable amount of time and effort “dabbling” in politics of late. Earlier this year, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek used his position to stand against legislation in the State of Florida that pertained to classroom curriculum for elementary school children in Kindergarten through third grade.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis fired back, and the bickering continued between the two entities.

Pricing out Guests, creating a vacation destination for the elite

When Walt first built Disneyland, it was for families, which makes sense. Even today, because of work responsibilities, school, etc., families often spend the bulk of their time together on the weekends and during family vacations.

Remembering Sharon Disney Lund

Credit: Disney Family Archives

But Walt never intended his parks to be exclusive when it comes to Guests who are welcomed through the gates, and many Disney fans (and haters) feel like Disney is pricing out many families by continually increasing prices of tickets, experiences, dining, Resort stays, and more.

Disney fans say fees and rising prices are taking the 'magic' out of parks  - The Washington Post

Credit: The Washington Post

Some feel that this is intentional–that Disney is raising prices so that only the most elite of Guests can visit. Others feel like Disney’s continual price hikes are an intentional attempt to exclude some Guests.

Only time will tell if Walt Disney Company execs truly plan to change the name of the Walt Disney World Resort, leaving “Walt” out altogether.

But it’s already extremely obvious that the company left Walt out altogether long ago. And that’s hardly news at all.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!