National Geographic looks Beyond Disney World

National Geographic magazine has a wonderful history of detailing Disney properties. This time they look beyond the gates to see what changes Walt Disney’s Florida Project hath wrought on Central Florida.

When people tell the story of Orlando’s stunning transformation from swamp and sinkhole to 21st-century metropolis, they begin, inevitably, with the man and the mouse. The mouse is Mickey, the man Walt Disney. If it weren’t for Disney, the local saying goes, the Orlando region would be called Ocala, a rival town up the road. Disney first flew over central Florida in an airplane chartered under an alias to keep his mission secret. It was the fateful day of November 22, 1963. The Kennedy assassination would mark America forever. So would the decision Walt Disney made that day to turn an inland Florida agricultural center into an epicenter of world tourism.

The story then goes on to interview people from different walks of life and why they’ve chosen to live in Orlando. For me, it was definitely the mouse. The cost of living here is still much less than southern California. So, although I miss the original Disneyland, I like the quality of life my family can have here. If you live in the Orlando area, why?