Within the Walt Disney universe there are certainly alot of acronyms floating about. From the good ole days of WED and MAPO to more recent vernacular as simple as CMs, but what do all these things mean?
We humans have an incredible talent for shortening names, terms, places, etc. to make them more convenient for topical discussion. From the IT world to the travel and tourism field, they all maintain a set of acronyms for people, places and things and the Walt Disney experience is not immune to this phenomenon.
As a first in an ongoing series, here are some of the acronyms that have popped up across the Disney Lexicon over the years.
Let’s start with one of the oldest and greatest, WED Enterprises, or WED for short. When Walt had his first inkling for this new idea of his, a new kind of amusement park that would be like nothing anyone had ever seen before, Roy had heard this many times before. He told Walt there was no way that the company took take on another project of this scale considering all the other obligations of the day.
That did not stop Walt, he had his own money and with it he created a new company whose sole purpose was the design and development of this new park. When considering what to name it, he chose his own initials as the core name, Walter Elias Disney Enterprises, WED for short. Although there were acronyms before in the corporate universe at Disney, this was the grand-daddy of them all.
This is also the company where Walt coined the term, Imagineers; a combination of imagination and engineer.
Along this same story, comes the research and development team that created the singing robin in the film, Mary Poppins, within WED. After the great success of the film, MAPO became an official division within WED and has built every 3-Dimensional animated figure that has ever come to life in a Disney Show and Attraction. As homage to the film that brought its success, MAPO stands for MAry POppins.
By the time Walt was developing the plans for Disneyland, he had already enormous experience in Hollywood, film production and show business. His approach to developing this park was the same as any film production and as such he created a refined system for every aspect of the park and its operation down to the front-line employees. He realized the multitude of components required to put on a show and every worker had their place in the cast; Walt’s employees were more integral to putting on the show, so they were named Cast Members.
When Walt was planning the Florida Project, he realized the immense undertaking required to not only build, but manage a district of this size. After the news broke about the new park being built by Disney, he had already received provisions from the state of Florida that allowed a new governing district, controlled by Disney, to manage this new jurisdiction.
Reedy Creek is a natural waterway that runs through Disney’s property and was one of the names of a shell company used to buy land as the Florida Project began to take shape. Once the plans were in order the Reedy Creek Improvement District, RCID, became the official governing body of this district.
The original plan for Walt’s new development in Florida, the Florida Project, was much more than a simple extension of the Disneyland theme park for the East Coast. It was for a full-blown, planned community. New technologies were to be incorporated into every aspect of the design and planning as well as the construction and maintenance of the community. Walt had become fascinated with urban planning over the years since building Disneyland, he was sure he could do it better than anyone else considering his past successes.
That is one of the main reasons he was able to negotiate such broad powers for his new property in Central Florida. The community would be a beacon for the growing suburbia that was taking over America, providing an exciting place to live, work and learn. Showcasing the latest in technologies that would enable a better life for tomorrow, today. It was to be the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, EPCOT.
Unfortunately, for us all, Walt passed away before he could accomplish his dream city, but the name lived on and became the second gate (park) in Central Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort.
When the park opened in 1971, it offered a new means of transportation for most people, a monorail. The monorail system circumnavigates the Seven Seas Lagoon to provide a scenic tour up to the gates at the park. The monorail originally had two lines that ran around the lagoon: one from the guest parking lot and another that stops at the resorts on around the lagoon. Both lines ran through a central terminal that grew over the years as the resort evovled and now offers transfers to the Epcot line, speeding them on their way to Epcot.
This central station is the Transportation and Ticket Center (some say Ticket and Transportation Center), TTC, and then can hop on one of the monorails that run continuously throughout the day. You can also catch a ferry to the parks or board a bus to one of the other destinations that route the guests through this hub.
Wrapping it Up
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Disney-specific acronyms and code-words used throughout any given day at the Walt Disney World Resort. This was the first, in a continuing series, that will review some of the Disney Lexicon.