September 19, 1966 – Walt Disney Holds Final Press Conference
“Walt’s plan for the picturesque area, located about equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco, provides for year-round recreational activities by people of all ages and athletic abilities.”
On September 19, 1966, Walt Disney held what was to eventually be his last press conference. Walt, who had not been doing well for the past few months, was announcing his plans for developing the Mineral King Valley as a ski resort. Inspired after the filming of Third Man on the Mountain, Walt had been developing the ski idea for several years. In 1965, after the United States Forest Service called for bids on the Mineral King Valley, Disney won the thirty-year lease by bidding $35 million. Walt quickly set to work to create plans for the January 1969 due date, which included fourteen ski lifts, a self-contained village, two hotels, a heliport, and many other amenities. Walt also forbade vehicles from the area, preferring that guests park at the entrance and be taken into the valley by other means. The press conference also featured California Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, with Walt and Brown making their statements. Afterwards, Walt rested a moment inside the general store before taking photos Brown then heading back to Visalia. Less than three months later, Walt would pass away, and the plans for the area fell through due to opposition to the development of the property. Mineral King Valley then reverted back to the parks service in1978, when Congress annexed it back to Sequoia National Park.