From Disney's Hollywood Studios Wiki
Disneyland is the first ever Disney Park, and the model of every Magic Kingdom park since. It was dedicated with a press preview on July 17, 1955, and opened to the general public the following day. Disneyland holds the distinction of being the only theme park to be designed, built, opened, and operated by Walt Disney.
Currently the park has been visited by more than 515 million guests since it opened, including presidents, royalty and other heads of state.
Concept and construction
The concept for Disneyland began one Sunday, when Walt Disney was visiting Griffith Park with his daughters Diane and Sharon. While watching his daughters ride the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round he came up with the idea of a place where adults and their children could go and have fun together. His dream would lie dormant for many years.
While many people had written letters to Walt Disney about visiting the Walt Disney Studios, Walt realized that a functional movie studio had little to offer to the visiting fans. He then began to foster ideas of building a site near his studios for tourists to visit. His ideas then evolved to a small play park with a boat ride and other themed areas. Walt's initial concept, his "Mickey Mouse Park", started with an 8 acre plot across Riverside Drive. Walt started to visit other parks for inspiration and ideas. He started his designers working on concepts, but these would grow into a project much larger than could be contained in 8 acres. Walt hired a consultant, Harrison Price from Stanford Research Institute, to gauge the area's potential growth. With the report from Price, Disney acquired 160 acresof orange groves and walnut trees in Anaheim, southeast of Los Angeles in neighboring Orange County.
Difficulties in obtaining funding prompted Disney to investigate new methods of fundraising. He decided to use television to get the ideas into people's homes, and so he created a show named Disneyland which was broadcast on the then-fledgling ABC television network. In return, the network agreed to help finance the new park. Construction began on July 18, 1954 and would cost $17 million to complete, and was opened exactly one year later.
1990s transition: Park becomes Resort
In the late 1990s, work began to expand on the one-park, one-hotel property. Disneyland Park, the Disneyland Hotel, and the site of the original parking lot as well as acquired surrounding properties were earmarked to become part of a greater vacation resort development. The new components of this resort were to be another theme park, Disney's California Adventure; a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, Downtown Disney; a remodeled Disneyland Hotel; Disney's Grand Californian Hotel; and the Paradise Pier Hotel. Because the existing parking lot (south of Disneyland) was built upon by these projects, the six-level 10,250 space "Mickey and Friends" parking structure was constructed in the northwest corner of the property, at the time of its completion in 2000, it was the largest parking structure in the United States.
Disneyland in the 21st Century
Matt Ouimet, formerly the president of the Disney Cruise Line, was promoted to assume leadership of the Disneyland Resort in late 2003. Shortly afterward, he selected Greg Emmer as Senior Vice President of Operations. Emmer is a long-time Disney cast member who had worked at Disneyland in his youth prior to moving to Florida and holding multiple executive leadership positions at the Walt Disney World Resort. Ouimet quickly set about reversing certain trends, especially with regards to cosmetic maintenance and a return to the original infrastructure maintenance schedule, in hopes of restoring the safety record of the past. Much like Walt Disney himself, Ouimet and Emmer could often be seen walking the park during business hours with members of their respective staff. They wore cast member name badges, stood in line for attractions and welcomed comments from guests.
In July 2006, Matt Ouimet announced that he would be leaving The Walt Disney Company to become president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Soon after this announcement, Ed Grier, executive managing director of Walt Disney Attractions Japan, was named president of the Disneyland Resort. Greg Emmer retired from his job on February 8, 2008.
The park is divided into realms, more commonly referred to as Lands, which radiate like the four cardinal points of the compass from Central Plaza, and well-concealed backstage areas. On entering a realm, a guest is completely immersed in the environment and is unable to see or hear any other realm. The idea behind this was to develop theatrical "stages" with seamless passages from one land to the next. These Lands are:
Main Street, U.S.A.
Main Street, U.S.A. is patterned after a typical midwest town of the early 20th century. Walt Disney derived inspiration from his boyhood town of Marceline, Missouri and worked closely with designers and architects to develop the Main Street appeal. It is the first area guests see when they enter the park, and is how guests reach Central Plaza. At the center of The Magic Kingdom and immediately North of Central Plaza stands Sleeping Beauty Castle, which provides entrance to Fantasyland by way of a drawbridge across a moat. Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland are arrayed on both sides of the castle.
The design of Main Street, U.S.A. utilizes a process to give the appearance of height called forced perspective, frequently used in movies. Buildings down Main Street are built at 3/4 scale on the first level, then 5/8 on the second story, and 1/2 scale on the third.
- Disneyland Railroad
- Main Street Cinema (opened 1955)
- Fire Engine (opened 1955)
- Horse-Drawn Streetcars (opened 1955)
- Horseless Carriage (opened 1958)
- Omnibus (opened 1959)
- Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years (opened 2005)
- Remember... Dreams Come True Fireworks (opened 2005)
- Celebrate - A Street Part (opening 2009)
Adventureland is designed to be an exotic tropical place in a far-off region of the world. "To create a land that would make this dream reality", said Walt Disney, "we pictured ourselves far from civilization, in the remote jungles of Asia and Africa."
- Enchanted Tiki Room (opened 1963)
- Indiana Jones Adventure (opened 1995)
- Jungle Cruise (opened 1955)
- Tarzan's Treehouse (opened 1999)
New Orleans Square
New Orleans Square is a themed land based on 19th century New Orleans. It was opened to the public on July 24, 1966. Hidden in the walkway near the Blue Bayou Restaurant, there is a doorway with the number 33 beside it. This is the entrance to a private members-only club inside Disneyland, that members pay high amounts of money to get into. Club 33 is the only place in Disneyland proper to have alcoholic beverages.
- Haunted Mansion (opened 1969)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (opened 1967)
Frontierland recreates the setting of pioneer days along the American frontier. According to Walt Disney, "All of us have cause to be proud of our country's history, shaped by the pioneering spirit of our forefathers. Our adventures are designed to give you the feeling of having lived, even for a short while, during our country's pioneer days." Frontierland is home to the Pinewood Indians band of animatronic Native Americans, who live on the banks of the Rivers of America.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (opened 1979)
- Pirate's Liar on Tom Sawyer Island (opened 1956)
- Frontierland Shootin' Exposition (opened 1957 as Frontierland Shooting Gallery, became Frontierland Shootin' Arcade 1985, Frontierland Shootin' Exposition 1996)
- Fantasmic! (opened 1992)
- Mark Twain Riverboat (opened 1955)
- Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island (opened 1956)
- Sailing Ship Columbia (opened 1958)
- Big Thunder Ranch (opened 1986 and closed in 1996, reopened in 2004, as Little Patch of Heaven, became Big Thunder Ranch in 2005)
- The Golden Horseshoe Stage (opened 1955 as Golden Horseshoe Saloon, changed name to The Golden Horseshoe Stage in 1999)
Critter Country opened in 1972 as "Bear Country", and was renamed in 1988. Formerly the area was home to Indian Village where actual indigenous tribespeople demonstrated their dances and other customs.
- Splash Mountain (opened 1989)
- Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes (opened 1971)
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (opened 2003)
Fantasyland is the area of Disneyland which Walt Disney said, "What youngster has not dreamed of flying with Peter Pan over moonlit London, or tumbling into Alice's nonsensical Wonderland. In Fantasyland, these classic stories of everyone's youth have become realities for youngsters - of all ages - to participate in." Fantasyland was originally styled in a medieval European fairground fashion, but its 1983 refurbishment turned it into a Bavarian village.
- Alice in Wonderland (opened 1958)
- Casey Jr. Circus Train (opened 1955)
- Disney Princess Fantasy Faire (opened 2006)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (opened 1955)
- It's a Small World (opened 1966)
- King Arthur Carrousel (opened 1955)
- Mad Tea Party (opened 1955)
- Matterhorn Bobsleds (opened 1959)
- Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (opened 1955)
- Peter Pan's Flight (opened 1955)
- Pinocchio's Daring Journey (opened 1983)
- Snow White's Scary Adventures (opened 1955 as Snow White's Adventures)
- Storybook Land Canal Boats (opened 1955 as Canal Boats of the World)
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (reopened 2008)
Mickey's Toontown opened in 1993 and was partly inspired by the fictional Los Angeles suburb of Toontown in The Walt Disney Studios' 1988 release Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Mickey's Toontown is a 1930s cartoon come-to-life and is home to Disney's most popular cartoon characters.
- Chip 'n Dale Treehouse (opened 1993)
- Donald's Boat (opened 1993)
- Gadget's Go Coaster (opened 1993)
- Goofy's Playhouse (opened 2006)
- Mickey's House and Meet Mickey (opened 1993)
- Minnie's House (opened 1993)
- Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (opened 1994)
During the 1955 inauguration Walt Disney dedicated Tomorrowland with these words: "Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future."
Disneyland producer Ward Kimball had Rocket scientists Wernher von Braun, Willy Ley, and Heinz Haber served as technical consultants during the original design of Tomorrowland. The area underwent a major transformation in 1967 to become New Tomorrowland, and then again in 1998 when its focus was changed to present a "retro-future" theme reminiscent of the illustrations of Jules Verne.
- Astro Orbitor (opened 1998)
- Autopia (opened 1955)
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (opened 2005)
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (opened 2007)
- "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" (opened 1998)
- Innoventions (opened 1998)
- Space Mountain (opened 1977, closed 2003, reopened 2005)
- Star Tours (opened 1987)
- Jedi Training Academy (opened 2006)
Walt Disney had a longtime interest in transportation, and trains in particular. He even built a miniature steam railroad, the "Carolwood Pacific Railroad", on the grounds of his Holmby Hills estate. Throughout all the iterations of Disneyland during the seventeen or so years when Mr. Disney was conceiving it, one element remained constant: a train encircling the park. The primary designer for the park transportation vehicles was Bob Gurr who gave himself the title of "Director of Special Vehicle Design" in 1954.
Encircling Disneyland and providing a grand circle tour is the Disneyland Railroad (DRR), a short-line railway consisting of five oil-fired and steam-powered locomotives, in addition to three passenger trains and one passenger-carrying freight train. With a three-foot gauge, the most common narrow gauge measurement used in North America, the track runs in a continuous loop around The Magic Kingdom through each of its realms. Each turn-of-the-19th-Century train departs Main Street Station on an excursion that includes scheduled station stops at: Frontierland Station; Toontown Depot, the gateway to Fantasyland; and, Tomorrowland Station. The Grand Circle Tour then concludes with a visit to the "Grand Canyon/Primeval World" dioramas before returning passengers to Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland Monorail System
One of Disneyland's signature attractions is its monorail service, which opened in Tomorrowland in 1959 as the first daily-operating monorail train system in the Western Hemisphere. The monorail guideway has remained almost exactly the same since 1961, aside from small alterations while Indiana Jones Adventure was being built. Five generations of monorail trains have been used in the park, since their lightweight construction means they wear out quickly. The most recent operating generation, the Mark VII, was installed in 2008. The monorail shuttles visitors between two stations, one inside the park in Tomorrowland and one in Downtown Disney. It follows a 2.5 mile long route designed to show the park from above. Currently, the Mark VII is running with the colors Red and Blue with one more color to be added in the coming months.
The monorail was originally built with one station in Tomorrowland. Its track was extended and a second station opened at the Disneyland Hotel in 1961. With the creation of Downtown Disney in 2001, the new destination is Downtown Disney, instead of the Disneyland Hotel. The physical location of the monorail station did not change, however the original station building was demolished as part of the hotel downsizing, and the new station is now separated from the hotel by several Downtown Disney buildings.
Main Street vehicles
All vehicles that are found on Main Street were designed to accurately reflect turn-of-the-century vehicles, including a double-decker bus, a horse-drawn streetcar, a fire engine, and automobiles. They are available for one-way rides along Main Street, U.S.A. The horseless carriages are modeled after cars built in 1903. They are two-cylinder, four-horsepower (3 kW) engines with manual transmission and steering. Walt Disney used to drive the fire engine around the park before it opened, on most mornings. It has also been used to host celebrity guests and used in the parades.