Somber Remembrance: Iger’s Tweet About JFK, 1963
A Day Disneyland Closed
Several generations of Americans remember where they were when they heard of the asasination of President John F. Kennedy
Today, 57 years later, Robert Iger, the Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, tweeted:
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) November 22, 2020
Disneyland Closed: November 23, 1963
Forty six years ago this week, America lost its 35th president, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy is known to have visited Disneyland park only once, as Senator, in October 1959.
He is shown here during that visit at the Main Street Station of the Disneyland Railroad with the President of Guinea, Ahmed Sékou Touré.
Searching through our archives, we also found this photo showing that Disneyland park closed its gates on November 23, 1963, in honor of the president.
Juxtaposition: Walt Picks Orlando
Strangely enough, that same day, Nov. 22, 1963, Walt Disney “discovered” Orlando.
The next morning [Nov. 22, Walt Disney] boarded his private plane and headed for Orlando.
[Meanwhile, Disney] flew over the coastal areas in his Gulfstream, but it convinced him of what he already knew: He did not want his park built near the coast… his primary concern was that the free beach would be a strong competitor for tourists.
He then headed for Orlando, flying low near the intersection of the turnpike and Interstate 4. The land was owned by Bill and Jack Demetree, two cousins who had formed a development company… Walt Disney looked out the window of the plane and said, “That’s it.” Mary Demetree, the daughter of Bill Demetree, remembers her father saying that Walt pointed out the location that would become Tom Sawyer’s island.
Finally, Clark added:
Secrecy was already vital to Disney’s plans, and he decided not to land his plane in Orlando and stopped to refuel in New Orleans on his way back to California. When he landed, he was told that Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.