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WDW Trivia and Games Discuss Disney Airport Trivia in the Trivia and Games Forums forums; The other highway(s) in the Sky Disney fans love Disney facts and trivia (thankfully for Lou) and I recently challenged a friend to answer this: "How many actual airfields were ...
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    FrankVC is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Disney Airport Trivia

    The other highway(s) in the Sky

    Disney fans love Disney facts and trivia (thankfully for Lou) and I recently challenged a friend to answer this: "How many actual airfields were on Disney properties?" He responded back with a confident "One!". His answer references Walt Disney World's short lived STOL (Short Take Off / Landing) Lake Buena Vista airfield designated by the FAA as DWS. But I challenged back, no, three.

    The Lake Buena Vista airfield was opened in 1971 along with Walt Disney World for private planes and limited commercial service. Located on the west side of World Drive directly across from the WDW Speedway today. Commercially serviced initially by Executive Airlines who went out of business in October 1971 and then exclusively by Shawnee Airlines. Shawnee operated 11 flights daily during the fall of 1971 to and from DWS from Daytona Beach, Orlando-Herndon, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach International, Tampa and McCoy Jetport (now Orlando International/MCO). Shawnee went out of business in December 1972.

    The monorail extension in 1982 to service EPCOT precluded the 2000 foot airstrip from being used by planes ever again. The area can now be seen used for bus overflow and staging. Imagine the fun today if you could arrive to WDW from the air? Not only would you avoid the I-4 traffic, you would get a spectacular view of WDW from the air.

    So that was the easy one for my fellow Disney trivia aficionado. The second was located on the current site of the Pop Century hotel. The EPCOT Center Ultra light Flight park, designated by the FAA as 44FD was a 424 foot circular airfield. It is still register with the FAA today. The Ultra light facility was used for the Skylaidescope (1985 - 1988)
    and Surprise in the Skies (1991 - 1994) shows at Epcot. According to FAA information, the circular "allway" traffic pattern is to the left for a bonus question when you impart this trivia on to others.

    The third airfield is not in Walt Disney World (I never limited it to WDW) but on Castaway Cay. Many of us have cycled the runway or taking the tram to Serenity Bay via this runway and may not have thought twice about it. Designator MYXB, Castaway Cay's airstrip was used by drug smugglers when the island was known as Gorda Cay. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) targeted Colombian drug runners using amongst others the Gorda Cay air strip to drop off drugs by air and then shuttle them to Florida by boat at night. This campaign in the early 1980's was known as "Operation Grouper", I suspect there is no relation to the recreational facility called the Grouper Game Pavilion on Castaway Cay today.

    High above the "Highway in the Sky" that the monorail as know as, was a few other ways more conventional travel could take you to the magic without requiring pixie dust.

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    POM Tony's Avatar
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    this is cool
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    FrankVC is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Thanks. I find this stuff very interesting. I even gave a nod to EPCOT and Epcot.

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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Very cool! I did know about the MK adjacent airstrip and the castaway cay airstrip but didn't know about the Epcot one. Thanks for the info!
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Always nice to add some "trivia" to these Trivia and Games thread. Thanks!
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Thanks, those were some good trivia facts.

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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Great piece of trivia FrankVC. I had known about DWS and MYXB but not 44FD.

    For more information on DWS and 44FD, Go here...

    DWS - Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida: Southwestern Orlando area

    44FD - Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida: Southwestern Orlando area
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    The MK is a no fly zone now since 9/11. However, last year, my wife and I did a helicopter tour over DHWS, EPCOT, downtown Disney, ESPN sport complex and some of the resorts. It was very cool. I highly recommend and bring a camera. We did the one next the 7-11 behind the outlet mall. There was even a spring training baseball game going on.

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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) regarding the airspace over WDW restricts flight within a 3 mile radius of the center of the Disney property to an altitude of 3000 feet. Anything above 3000 feet is fair game for aircraft. That is why you see that sky writer and helicopters over the parks from time to time.

    3000 feet sounds high, but it really isn't when it comes to flying.

    Link to the FAA Notice to Airmen 9/4985 NOTAM Details
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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    I love the restriction. I do not miss the airplanes that use to advertise FL sights with banners flying behind the planes.

    I do remember the original airstrip. Bus drivers often would point it out.

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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    Great fun facts!


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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    What is it with that PARTICULAR sky-writer, exactly? I saw him again in the summer writing "LOVE GOD" while I was on Big Thunder.

    The local crazy, or just a very, very dedicated man?

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    Re: Disney Airport Trivia

    He was there in September/October also.


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