Swindon to become official twin town of Walt Disney World

By Culture24 Staff | 09 December 2009
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A photo of a roadsign for a complicated network of roundabouts

The only magical feature most visitors to Swindon encounter is the town's Magic Roundabout, a cheekily-dubbed network of dozens of gyratories where drivers get migraines and pedestrians run for their lives.

But things could be about to change forever in the Wiltshire borough after it fended off competition from the likes of Brighton, Blackpool and Cambridge to become the first official twin town of Walt Disney World.

A seductive slideshow showcasing the town's numerous virtues, produced by 20-year-old resident Rebecca Warren, has convinced a panel from the world-famous theme park to pick Swindon for their Mickey Mouse merger, and local officials are now planning signposts, joint projects and community outreach work with their lucrative new American partnership.

A close-up photo of a roundabout on a bright day

A close-up of Swindon's "Magic Roundabout", which has often provided an adrenaline rush for visitors to the town, with key fellow attraction Swindon Town Football Club in the background

"I think there are a lot of similarities between Swindon and Walt Disney World – the friendly atmosphere, the fact that there is always something new and exciting in the town and all the famous people we have coming to gig here," Warren told the Swindon Advertiser.

"I still cannot believe that my entry has been selected – it's fantastic. We got the call yesterday morning and me and my mum couldn't stop screaming. I am so thrilled – this is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

A photo of a castle in a theme park

Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. © Carlos Cruz

Warren will fly to the Florida landmark in January next year to unveil a plaque announcing the alliance, and a Swindon-themed exhibition is planned at Disney, although precise details on the delights this will display are yet to be discussed.

Critics have wasted no mockery time in comparing the two regions, illuminating the notable differences in climate, culture and tourist numbers.

Their origins provide perhaps the most striking disparities between the pair – Swindon was named in the Domesday Book as "pig hill", after an Anglo-Saxon swine, while Disney World was created by Walt Disney when he flew above the site on the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Check out Rebecca's winning entry on the competition website.

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