ORLANDO, Fla. — When Walt Disney flew over Florida in 1963, he was looking for three things: land, roads and protection from hurricanes.
Miami and Ormond Beach were considered but were too close to the ocean.
Ocala was a leading contender, but it didn’t have sufficient road access.
That left Orlando -- a site with open land at the interchange of Interstate 4 and Florida’s Turnpike, situated at least 60 miles from either coast.
Walt Disney World opened in 1971 and remained open until Sept. 14, 1999, when it had to close early for Hurricane Floyd.
Five years later, the park would close three times in two months when Florida was hit by hurricanes Charlie, Francis and Jeanne.
Since then, a hurricane has forced the resort to close three more times: Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
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