Disneyland is one of the world's most popular attractions, often compared to the likes of the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and other popular American attractions. The Disneyland park is located in Anaheim, CA and opened on July 17, 1955. Since it opened in 1955 the park has attracted over 500 million visitors.Walter Disney and his younger brother Roy, were already heads of one of the most successful Hollywood studios, before they created Disneyland. The original concept came from Walt Disney, because he realized the lack of parks that would be appealing to both parents and children.
So he thought of the idea of a family fun park similar to a carnival except unlike a carnival, his park would never leave town. The idea of a themed park, that would feature many of the famous Disney characters came after many Disney fans wrote letters to Walt asking him to allow them to meet some of their favorite Disney characters at the studio lot. Walt was going to initially open a small park near his Burbank studios called "Mickey Mouse Park" to accommodate the people that wanted to see and take pictures of Disney Characters.
His theme park idea snowballed from a small idea into a huge idea that would eventually become Disneyland. The idea for the park was also inspired by other notable theme parks of the time, such as the Children's Fairlyland in Oakland, CA, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.After Walt came up with the idea for a full fledged theme park, he came to the realization that he needed funds to make his dream a reality. So he decided to get the idea of Disneyland into American homes by creating a show called Disneyland which was broadcast on ABC, in return ABC decided to help finance the new Disneyland park. Walt Disney purchased 160 acres land in Anaheim, CA to build Disneyland on. Construction for the park began on July 18, 1954 and it cost an estimated $17 million to build.
The I-5 freeway was under construction at the same time as Disneyland to get ready for the traffic expected from the Disneyland park.Besides being funded by ABC, Disney also had other investors like Western publishing company, which was already a longtime licensee of Disney. As the opening of Disneyland grew closer, special events were held such as a "International Press Preview" which was opened only to the media and invitees.
The event which was thought to run smoothly turned into a huge disaster when thousand of people counterfeited tickets. The opening day of Disneyland was also a disaster, with all major roads nearby being congested, a plumber's strike which left the water fountains in the park not working in 110 degree weather and wet asphalt , which was just laid the day before, it caused many women's heels to sink into the asphalt. A gas leak at Fantasyland, caused other sections of the park to be closed and food vendors ran out of food.Despite a disastrous opening day, Disneyland quickly bounced back and became a thriving American landmark, which is still visited by millions of people today. The popularity of Disneyland also caused other parks to be constructed such as Disneyworld in Orlando, FL and Disneyland in Japan, China and France..Michael Russell.Your Independent guide to Theme Parks.
By: Michael Russell