Jacksonville's Ten Major Missed Opportunities

October 27, 2014 39 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Parts of Jacksonville would look completely different if the opposite decisions were made on these ten missed opportunities.

1. Sorry Walt Disney, We Don't Deal With Carnival Folk

Image courtesy of http://piccartoon.com/mickey-mouse-cartoon.html/mickey-mouse-cute

Believe it or not, if one Jaxson would have dealt with "carnival folk," Walt Disney World possibly would have been located in North Florida. Seeking land for an east-coast theme park in Florida, Walt Disney initially reached out to Jacksonville's Ed Ball. After being told by Ball that "I don't deal with carnival folk," Disney eventually found 27,000 acres in Central Florida, opening Walt Disney World in 1971.

Today, Walt Disney World is the largest employer in Central Florida, with about 70,000 employees. The city that has benefited the most is Orlando. Once a podunk citrus town, its metropolitan area has almost doubled in population since 1990 to 2.3 million while also attracting more annual visitors than New York City and Paris.

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