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Niagara Falls News

Niagara Falls Once Considered by Walt Disney for Disney World Location

Walt Disney in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a very popular tourist destination, but could you imagine how big it would be if it was also the home to Disney World? For a very brief time Walt Disney himself once considered Niagara Falls as a possible location for his Disney World theme park before choosing Orlando Florida.

In 1963 Walt Disney was exploring locations for a second “Disneyland” after the over whelming success of his Anaheim based park. As one could imagine Walt Disney had plenty of suitors.

Disney considered St. Louis Missouri at one point, but he turned out to be no fan of the Busch family who hosted his trip. Several successful businessman in the East coast also tried to lure Walt Disney to the opposite coast and he at one point looked at a few possibilities.

In August of 1963 Walt Disney and his wife Lillian and brother Roy and wife Edna actually visited Niagara Falls Canada to investigate a possible location for his new “Disney World” in a close proximity to the Falls themselves.

Disney was invited by the Seagrams Liquor company and spent the night at the Sheraton Brock Hotel. Disney and his family had dinner at the home of Paul Schoellkopf and the next morning they toured the Falls with Niagara Falls Ontario Mayor Franklin Miller.

As the story goes Walt and his entourage were swarmed by tourists who recognized him due to his many appearances on his Disney TV program.  Walt viewed Niagara Falls from the Seagram’s observation tower and was impressed with their beauty. However, Walt Disney was looking for a year-round location and knew the cold Niagara winters would hinder his plan.

Disney's Rocket To The Moon Niagara Logo

Courtesy Disney Art © DIsney

The trip did give Walt Disney an idea to partner with Seagrams and construct a Rocket to the Moon ride on the famous tower. Walt Disney envisioned a ride similar to what he constructed in his Disney Park Tomorrowland for the Niagara Falls toursits.

According to Chad Denver Emerson and his book “Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World“, Disney was never able to agree on a licensing agreement with the Seagrams corporation and the Rocket to the Moon partnership never occurred.

So for a fleeting moment  Ontario was a possible location for the most successful theme park in the history of the world. Others have proposed theme parks at a close proximity to the Falls and Marineland Canada has been in operation for decades, but  nothing could compare to what a partnership of Disney World and Niagara Falls would have been.

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