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Slide Show: Actually, you missed out on the greatest real estate deals in American history

In 1963, Walt Disney was looking for a place to build his second theme park. He wanted it to be east of the Mississippi and to cover a much larger parcel of land than Disneyland, in California. Disney asked his legal counsel, Bob Foster, to scout and acquire land around Orlando, which Disney liked for its accessibility to highways and a recently-opened airport. A Disney archivist interviewed Foster, who said “I was asked to go into the hinterlands and, in a quiet manner, surreptitiously buy a piece of real estate – somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 acres.” Disney ultimately paid an average of $180 per acre, but when it was revealed that the corporation was the “mystery” buyer of so many parcels of land, values surged to $300,000 per acre.

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