Remembering the Walt Disney World dedication with Roy Disney

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65DE9383 13C3 4D48 9C60 B6EA0981136C
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It’s been 50 magical years for Walt Disney World, but it’s important to remember the man who made it all possible. Even though Walt Disney passed away before he could see the Florida project finish, his brother, Roy Disney, helped see the completion of Magic Kingdom.

On Oct. 25, which is officially 50 years ago as of today – Walt Disney’s older brother, Roy O. Disney, officially dedicated the Orlando theme park resort. 

Related: Characters Returning for Meet & Greets at Disney World next month

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The dedication was part of a three-day grand opening weekend celebration held from Oct. 23 to 25. Celebrities, guests from around the world and thousands of Disney cast members were on hand to mark this milestone.

At 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, 1971, Roy read the dedication while standing behind a podium flanked by the one and only Mickey Mouse:

“Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney … and to the talents, the dedication and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn – together.”

Related: Celebrate Disney World 50th Anniversary At Epcot!

Immediately following Roy’s remarks, the official Grand Opening Parade stepped off on Main Street, U.S.A., with a small marching band, Disney characters and toy soldiers making their way toward Cinderella Castle.

Herald Trumpeters of the United States Army Bandthen sounded off to announce the arrival of a 1,076-member marching band led by Meredith Willson, composer of “The Music Man,” and comprised of many Central Florida high school students. A mass choir soon appeared on the castle stage to join the band in “When You Wish Upon A Star.”

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Years later, on Oct. 25, 1999, a special statue of Roy with Minnie Mouse, titled “Sharing the Magic,” was dedicated near the spot where Roy read the original 1971 dedication. The sculpture was created by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson, who also made the “Partners” statue of Walt and Mickey a few years earlier.

Today, the “Sharing the Magic” statue is found in front of City Hall. Look carefully and you’ll see Roy is holding Minnie’s hand from underneath, a nod to how he supported his brother throughout their history together. And now there are two more special statues at Magic Kingdom Park, as up near Cinderella Castle, golden sculptures of Mickey and Minnie are dedicated to the cast members past, present and future in honor of the 50th anniversary.

Be sure to look for the statue on your next visit to Magic Kingdom!

Check back here on Chip & Co. for the latest theme park and entertainment news updates!

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Kevin Koszola