How Walt Disney Used Land Trusts to Purchase and Build Disney World

Walt Disney is one of the most well-known cases where a high net worth individual used Land Trusts to obtain an upper hand in expanding their empire. Unknown to most people, Disney Land (in Anaheim, California) was actually the first Park that Walt Disney opened to the Public. Disney Land opened on July 17, 1955 in California (not to far from Los Angeles), whereas Disney World in Orlando, Florida was finally opened on October 1, 1971. After the success that Walt Disney received in California, the expansion to the East Coast was the practical and most natural growth plan. The most interesting aspect of Disney’s expansion to the East Coast is that the Real Estate, that is now widely known as Disney World, was acquired using Land Trusts.

Walt Disney knew that if he purchased the Orlando Real Estate in his individual capacity that the sales prices would be dramatically inflated due to Walt Disney’s net worth and success in Disney Land in California. In the year 1965, Real Estate in the swampy Orlando, Florida area, which was earmarked for Disney World, was selling for $180 an acre (very reasonable price at that time). To bypass the risk of prospective Buyers increasing the price solely due to Walt Disney’s fame and/or intended use of the Real Estate, he decided to purchase all of the Real Estate in and around Orlando, Florida using several private Land Trusts.

By doing so, Walt Disney was able to purchase said Real Estate at a reasonable and fair price rather than an inflated price had the Seller knew of his identity. In turn, the Land Trusts had the ability to do everything Walt Disney could do in his individual capacity. Specifically to build, rent, sell and/or transfer assets to future heirs all with the luxury of remaining anonymous.

Today, there are many more options other than the Land Trust to purchase real estate anonymously. Contact The Presser Law Firm, P.A. for a complimentary consultation to learn more about Land Trusts, Asset Protection, Business Law, and Estate Planning.

The Presser Law Firm, P.A.
6199 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL 33487
(561) 953-1050 or e-mail