It was a Friday. It was about week before Christmas. And it was official: The U.S. Forest Service awarded the right to develop the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Forest to Walt Disney Productions. The year was 1965.
A wire service article quoted Walt Disney: “When I first saw Mineral King five years ago, I thought it was one of the most beautiful spots I had ever seen and we want to keep it that way.” To Walt Disney, that meant a self-contained “Alpine Village” designed to preserve the natural beauty of valley.
Other people wanted “to keep it that way” too. But to them it meant no development at all.
, Curator of Yesterland, December 16, 2011
“U.S. Chooses Disney to Develop Sequoia Resort.” The news was on page 11 of theLos Angeles Times on December 18, 1965. According to the article, the U.S. Forest Service awarded a preliminary permit to Walt Disney Productions giving the company three years to complete a satisfactory plan. The next step would be a permanent 30-year permit.
Just a month earlier, Walt Disney announced that his company had purchased more than 27 thousand acres south of Orlando, Florida. According to initial reports, it would be a $70 million project, dubbed “Disneyland East” by the press, and include a “City of Yesterday” and a “City of Tomorrow.”
And now Walt Disney would also build a $35 million year-round resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. According to the article, “The Disney firm in its winning bid estimated that the new facility, 227 miles northeast of Los Angeles, would attract 2.5 million visitors annually—800,000 of them from out of state—by 1976, the first full year of operation.”