Today I learned that Walt Disney World has an Airport. Or, perhaps, more appropriately, Disney World had an airport? Except it was called a STOLport because the runway was only 2,000 feet long, making it viable only for smaller planes with “Short Takeoff and Landing” (STOL) capabilities.
The field, just to the East of the main Magic Kingdom parking area, was in service for only a year, from late 1971 until December 1972 when Shawnee Airlines went bankrupt and ceased operations. There were only a couple routes flown, mainly on Twin Otter aircraft to McCoy Field (a/k/a Orlando International Airport) and to Tampa International Airport. With no flights the strip eventually found “DWS” removed from the list of active FAA airports. It is currently used as a parking lot and storage area.
So why mention it now? It turns out that the company is looking to perform some development in the area, sparking hopes that the field might return to aviation service.
— The DIS (@TheDIS) May 7, 2018
Alas, looking at the initial filing for the “Stolport Stockpile” project, it is hard to believe that the work will result in the field will return to service, at least for flying reasons.
Yes, the project is named after the STOLport, suggesting that it is related to that historical use of the space. But the monorail location makes using it for flights hard. So does the no fly zone in the area. And the part where the construction really isn’t close enough to make sense. Unless it is about building a more permanent storage facility for all the stuff currently on the runway.
And even if it did return to service a hop across from MCO or TPA on a STOL-capable aircraft might not be the luxury a Disney visitor is looking for. Then again, it probably beats the heck out of traffic on I-4.
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