What Role Did Walt Disney World Play in the Breakup of the Beatles?

John Lennon

Thousands of people spend their Christmas vacation at Walt Disney World each year. Nearly 40 years ago, one of those vacationers was John Lennon - and that trip included a historic event.

In 1974, John was in the midst of his 14 month separation from Yoko Ono - a period he called his "Lost Weekend" - and he decided on a whim to take son Julian and assistant/girlfriend May Pang to the Magic Kingdom. He booked a room at the Polynesian Village Hotel, now called Disney's Polynesian Resort.

Meanwhile, in London and New York, attorneys had finally put the finishing touches on the contractual paperwork that would solidify the Beatles' breakup. The contract was four years in the making, and the other three Beatles were ready to sign.

After years of red tape and millions of dollars spent, the official dissolution papers were drawn up and ready to be signed off on at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1974. George and Paul had arranged to fly in and be present, while Ringo signed the necessary documents at an earlier time, while still in England.

So as George, Paul, Apple lawyers and business managers grouped around a large table to dissolve the partnership, Ringo was on the phone to confirm that he was alive. Meanwhile, everyone in the room was curious about John’s whereabouts. This seemed especially ironic, given Lennon lived within walking distance of the Plaza Hotel.

The attorneys furiously worked to determine John's whereabouts. May Pang picks up the story:

On December 29, 1974, the voluminous documents were brought down to John in Florida by one of Apple's lawyers.

"Take out your camera," he joked to me. Then he called Harold to go over some final points.

When John hung up the phone, he looked wistfully out the window. I could almost see him replaying the entire Beatles experience in his mind.

He finally picked up his pen and, in the unlikely backdrop of the Polynesian Village Hotel at Disney World, ended the greatest rock 'n' roll band in history by simply scrawling John Lennon at the bottom of the page.

And that's how Walt Disney World bore witness to rock history.