If you’re in Orlando and have some time to take a short trip to Downtown, stop into the Orange County Regional History Center for some local history, before and after Disney opened in 1971. The exhibit called “Disney: The Day We Changed” is tucked away on the 4th floor of the museum. While you enjoy the many artifacts, like the Life Magazine article “Disney World Opens” from October 15, 1971, you can learn how Disney became the worlds #1 tourist destination. There’s another exhibit that describes Orlando in the earlier years called “Destination Florida: Tourism Before Disney“.
There are a lot of artifacts in the exhibits from Opening Day of the Magic Kingdom. The most interesting items from the “Opening Spectacular and Dedication Ceremony” include original invitations, a Master Event Script Procedures and Itinerary as well as classic souvenirs such as Mickey Ears! They even have a Diorama of Orlando with every Disney Park depicted. It was fun to see all the stuff and get a sense of how important Disney is to the economy of Orlando. It tripled the population by 1995 and inspired other lesser attractions like Sea World and Universal to take root.
The museum has lot of local history of Orlando. You can sit in a judges chair in a historic court room, see how Orlando went from a winter destination for the fortunate to life after Disney, peruse the collection from the Historical Society of Central Florida, and shop in the wonderful gift shop.
The museum is open daily but are closed for certain events and major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Call 407-836-8500 for more information.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Noon – 5 p.m.
- Here’s a link to the Center: http://www.thehistorycenter.org/.
- If you’re looking to save some money and you have a Bank of America Bank card then make plans to go on the first weekend of the month since it’s free!
- Any other time would be $8 for adults; $7 for seniors (55+), military, and students with I.D.; $6 for children 5-12; free for History Center annual pass holders and children 4 and under.