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Happy birthday to Walt Disney World, Epcot... and the new Amway Center in Orlando

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Published: October 1, 2010 at 2:54 PM

October 1 is a very special day in the Orlando area. Why is that? Today is the 39th birthday of the Walt Disney World Resort and its first theme park, the Magic Kingdom, which opened on this date in 1971.

The Magic Kingdom isn't the only Disney park celebrating a birthday. Epcot is 28, having opened October 1, 1982.

The birthdays of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks aren't the only ones being celebrating in Orlando today. Today at 10:01 a.m., on 10-01-2010 the ribbon was cut to Orlando's newest attraction, the brand new Amway Center.

But why am I writing about a new NBA arena on a theme park website?

Because you paid for it.

Tourist tax dollars helped to pay for Orlando's new, 875,000-square-feet basketball arena, which features an 8-million LED center-hung sideboard (the tallest, most high-definition in an NBA venue, measuring 42 ft.), two LED ribbon boards on the interior fascia of the seating decks, and more than 1100 high-definition video displays.

Fans attending an event in the new arena will find 37 restrooms, 227 food and beverage points of sale with 18 permanent concession stands and 37 portable units, plus 10 fan interactive areas such as the Nutrlilite Magic Fan Experience, Orlando on Demand, and Gentleman Jack Terrace to name a few.

And, yes, Disney is among the many sponsors of the new arena, the home of the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic.


Mickey with the Magic's Dwight Howard. Photo courtesy Of The Orlando Magic

Disney is the presenting sponsor of the Amway Center atrium. As Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises said, "As you would expect, Disney believes in Magic."

The new Amway Center will host the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend, in addition to Magic and indoor football games. (FWIW, the Magic's old arena also was known as the Amway Center Arena, and before that, as the TD Waterhouse Centre and the Orlando Arena.)

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on October 1, 2010 at 4:06 PM
Looks like a nice arena. I'd consider going, though I'm a bigger hockey and baseball fan.

I'm interested to know what percentage of this place was paid for by Disney and tourists... It'd be sweet if Disney could tie-in Magic tickets as an add-on to their ticket packages.

From Nick Markham on October 1, 2010 at 4:10 PM
The NBA and basketball as a whole is the greatest thing ever invented aside from theme parks. And the fact that my third favorite team is Orlando (behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and, of course, the greatest team in the NBA, Utah Jazz!!!) I would totally be there!
From 84.56.67.200 on October 1, 2010 at 9:19 PM
Guess that means subsidies for sport teams have broad public support, especially when one frames it as the other, the tourist paying the bill. Do they really pay the bill in an economic sense? Doubtfull. If tourists do pay the bill, maybe they could pay for something more usefull. Wheres the market failure the government has to correct with subsidies to sport arenas?
From 68.205.221.151 on October 1, 2010 at 9:53 PM
Just letting you know that the old arena was the Amway Arena, not Amway Center.

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