In the 1990s, The Walt Disney Company unveiled plans for a new theme park in Haymarket, Virginia, near some of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War. Watch how the local community challenged one of America’s most beloved icons in the television broadcast debut of the 30-minute documentary special "When Mickey Came to Town."
Originally the plan was hailed by state government officials as a boon to the State of Virginia. Soon, however, local residents, regional environmentalists, and national Civil War historians came to realize that the promise of new jobs and the shine of the Disney brand were masking the many ways in which a multi-billion dollar development on historic ground on the edge of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region was a bad idea.
Against a 75 percent public approval rating, a small team of residents and advocates joined forces and mounted a campaign to convince Disney and the State of Virginia that these rural and sacred lands were not the appropriate site for a Disney’s “American History” theme park. In less than a year, in the face of mounting opposition, Disney withdrew its plans.