Welcome to the new blog series Credits Rolling on Main Street!
What does that mean though? There aren’t credits in WDW. Or are there? Well before I explain the meaning behind the title and what this series is about, let’s step back and talk about the Magic Kingdom.
Disney is all about telling the story. Therefore the Magic Kingdom is basically a giant theater. When we talk about Main Street sometime soon, I’ll go over all the details that point towards this idea. In this series, let’s focus on the windows. When strolling down main street, you might notice that most of the windows have writing on them. Cleverly hidden meanings and names, these windows serve as tributes to the men and women who contributed to the parks. Usually it involves a fictional business name such as “Ridgeway & Company” or “Dolls by Miss Joyce.”
This week’s window is above Crystal Arts. The window reads:
“M.T. Lott Real Estate Investments
A Friend in Deeds is a Friend Indeed
Donn Tatum, President
Subsidiaries: Tomahawk Properties, Latin American Development, Ayefour Corporation, Bay Lake Properties, Reedy Creek Ranch Lands, Compass East Corporation.”
Let’s start breaking it down and figuring out the backstories. First you’ll notice the M.T. Lott. Say that over and over again to yourself. M.T. Lott… EMT Lott…. Empty lot? This window’s theme features the dummy corporations Walt used to buy the land at a cheap cost.
The Compass East Corporation was founded in Delaware on December 7, 1964. In June 1965, The Orlando Sentinel reported that over 27,000 acres had traded hands. But who was buying up all the land? All the other “companies” used to buy the land were merged together on September 30, 1966 into the Compass East Corporation. A reporter from The Sentinel Star (Now The Orlando Sentinel) Emily Bavar, was the one to first to publish that the Disney company was the mysterious buyer. They bought the land for $80.00 an acre, and after the announcement, the land in Florida skyrocketed to $80,000 per acre!
Construction began May 30, 1967, and Compass East Corporation was finally renamed Walt Disney World on September 26, 1967.
If you think about it, some of the names of the companies are actually funny. Like Ayefour Corporation is a pun on Interstate 4, and Compass East (east coast Disney park.)
Now the window also mentions Donn Tatum. Born January 9, 1913, Donn was the first non Disney family member to be president of the company. He was hired as production business manager in 1956, and took over for Roy O. Disney as President of the Walt Disney Company in 1968. He held a major role in the creation of Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center, and Tokyo Disneyland. After Roy’s death in 1971, Donn became chief executive officer and board chairman. Later in life he also served as chairman of Disney’s executive committee, chairman of the board at The California Institute of the Arts, and president of the Disney Foundation until his death on May 31, 1993. CEO Michael Eisner and President Frank Wells stated, “The world will miss Donn, but we at Disney who looked to him for wisdom, guidance and balance will miss him more.”
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