Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 17, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. In 1998, the theme park was re-branded Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the larger Disneyland Resort complex.
Walt Disney came up with the concept of Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wished to visit; however, he soon realized that the proposed site was too small. After hiring a consultant to help determine an appropriate site for his project, Walt bought a site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began in 1954 and the park was unveiled during a special televised press event on July 17, 1955.
Since its opening, Disneyland has undergone a number of expansions and renovations, including the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country (now Critter Country) in 1972, and Mickey's Toontown in 1993. Disney California Adventure Park was built on the site of Disneyland's original parking lot and opened in 2001.
Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world, with close to 600 million guests since it opened. In 2010, 15.98 million people visited the park, making it the second most visited park in the world that calendar year.
Concept and construction
Walt Disney (center) showing Orange County officials plans for Disneyland's layout in December 1954 The concept for Disneyland began when Walt Disney was visiting Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters Diane and Sharon. While watching them ride the 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 lay dormant for many years. Walt Disney also may have been influenced by his father's memories of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago (his father worked at the Exposition). The Midway Plaisance there included a set of attractions representing various countries from around the world and others representing various periods of man; it also included many rides including the first Ferris wheel, a "sky" ride, a passenger train that circled the perimeter, and a Wild West Show. Another likely influence was Benton Harbor, Michigan's nationally famous House of David's Eden Springs Park. Walt Disney visited the park and ultimately bought one of the older miniature trains originally used there; the colony had the largest miniature railway setup in the world at the time.
While many people wrote letters to Walt Disney about visiting the Disney Studio, he realized that a functional movie studio had little to offer to the visiting fans. This began to foster ideas of building a site near his Burbank studios for tourists to visit. His ideas then evolved to a small play park with a boat ride and other themed areas. Disney's initial concept, his "Mickey Mouse Park", started with an plot across Riverside Drive. Disney started to visit other parks for inspiration and ideas, including Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, Efteling in The Netherlands and Greenfield Village, Playland, and Children's Fairyland in the USA. He started his designers working on concepts, but these would grow into a project much larger than could be contained in .
Disney hired a consultant, Harrison Price from Stanford Research Institute, to gauge the proper area to locate the theme park based on the area's potential growth. With the report from Price, Disney acquired of orange groves and walnut trees in Anaheim, southeast of Los Angeles in neighboring Orange County.
Sleeping Beauty Castle during the Happiest Homecoming on Earth Difficulties in obtaining funding prompted Disney to investigate new methods of fundraising. He decided to use television, and 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. For the first five years of its operation, Disneyland was owned by Disneyland, Inc., which was jointly owned by Walt Disney Productions, Walt Disney, Western Publishing and ABC. In addition, Disney rented out many of the shops on Main Street, U.S.A. to outside companies. By 1960 Walt Disney Productions completely bought out ABC's, Western Publishing and Walt Disney's shares.
Construction began on July 16, 1954 and cost $17 million to complete. The park was opened one year and one day later. U.S. Route 101 (later Interstate 5) was under construction at the same time just to the north of the site; in preparation for the traffic Disneyland was expected to bring, two more lanes were added to the freeway before the park was finished.
July 1955: Dedication Day and Opening Day
Disneyland Park was opened to the public on July 18, 1955 with only 20 attractions. A special "International Press Preview" event was held on Sunday, July 17, 1955, which was only open to invited guests and the media. The Special Sunday events, including the dedication, were televised nationwide and anchored by three of Walt Disney's friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan. ABC broadcast the event live on its network, which added many problems of its own. Many guest tripped over the TV camera cables. Camera cuts went bad. In Frontierland, a camera caught Bob Cummings kissing a dancer. When Walt Disney started to read the plauqe for Tomorrowland, he read part way then stopped when a technition off camera said something to him. He relised he was live on air, and said "I though I got a signal.". He then started the dedication of Tomorrowland from the start. At one point while in Fantasyland, Linkletter tried to through coverage to Cummings, who was on the pirateship. Cummings was not really ready to take over, so he tired to give the coverage back to Art Linkletter, but for some reason, Linkletter had lost his mike, so Bob Cummings did a play-by-play of him trying to find a mike in front of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
An aerial view of Disneyland in 1956. The entire route of the Disneyland Railroad is clearly visible as it encircles the park.
The event did not go smoothly. Traffic backed up on the two-lane Harbor Boulevard. The park was overcrowded as the by-invitation-only affair was plagued with counterfeit tickets. Only 11,000 people were expected to show up, but a staggering 28,154 was the eventual population. Movie stars and other famous figures scheduled to come every two hours showed up all at once. All major roads nearby were empty. The temperature was an unusually high , and a plumbers' strike left many of the park's drinking fountains dry. Disney was given a choice of having working fountains or running toilets and he chose the latter.
This generated negative publicity since Pepsi sponsored the park's opening; disappointed guests believed the inoperable fountains were a cynical way to sell soda. The asphalt that had been poured just that morning was so soft that ladies' high-heeled shoes sank into it. Vendors ran out of food. A gas leak in Fantasyland caused Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland to close for the afternoon. Some parents were seen throwing their children over the shoulders of crowds to get them onto rides such as the King Arthur Carrousel.
The park got such bad press for the "International Press Preview" that Walt Disney invited attendees back for a private "second day" to experience Disneyland properly. In later years Disney and his 1955 executives referred to July 17, 1955 as "Black Sunday". Today, cast members wear pin badges on July 17 in celebration of the park's anniversary, stating how many years it has been since the 1955 opening. But for the first decade or so, Disney officially stated that opening day was on July 18, 1955 and celebrated the 18th as its Anniversary. For example, a 1967 Disneyland press release referred to July 17, 1955, as "Dedication Day" and not "Opening Day."
On Opening Day, Sunday July 17, crowds started to gather in line as early as 2 a.m., and the first person to buy a ticket and enter the park was David MacPherson with admission ticket number 2, as Roy O. Disney arranged to pre-purchase ticket number 1 from Curtis Lineberry, the manager of admissions. Walt Disney had an official photo taken with two children, Christine Vess Watkins (age 5) and Michael Schwartner (7); the photo of the three carries an inaccurate caption identifying the children as the first two guests of Disneyland. Watkins and Schwartner both received lifetime passes to Disneyland that day, and MacPherson was awarded one shortly thereafter, which was later expanded to every single Disney-owned park in the world. Approximately 50,000 guests attended the Monday Opening day.
The early years
In September 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev spent thirteen days in the United States. On his visit Khrushchev had two requests: to visit Disneyland and to meet John Wayne, Hollywood's top box-office draw. Due to the Cold War tension and security concerns, he was famously denied an excursion to Disneyland. The Shah of Iran and Empress Farah were invited to Disneyland by Walt Disney in early 1960s. The video of the Shah and Disney riding the Matterhorn roller coaster is available on YouTube.
There was some controversy about the lack of African American employees at the park. Since 1963, civil rights activists were pressuring Disneyland to start hiring black people. The Disneyland executives said they would "consider" their requests. Despite a lack of Black employees, Disneyland had hired people of Asian descent like Ty Wong and Bob Kuwahara.
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 California Adventure Park; a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, Downtown Disney; a remodeled Disneyland Hotel; Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; and the acquisition of the Pan Pacific Hotel (later to be remodeled and renamed Disney's 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.
Disney California Adventure Park
The park's management team during the mid-1990s was a source of controversy among Disneyland fans and employees. In an effort to boost profits, various changes began by then-executives Cynthia Harriss and Paul Pressler. While their actions provided a short-term increase in shareholder returns, they drew widespread criticism from employees and guests alike for the lack of foresight. With the retail background of Harriss and Pressler, Disneyland's focus gradually shifted from attractions to merchandising. Outside consultants McKinsey & Company were also brought in to help streamline operations, which resulted in many changes and cutbacks. After nearly a decade of deferred maintenance, Walt Disney's original theme park was showing visible signs of neglect. Fans of the park decried the perceived decline in customer value and park quality and rallied for the dismissal of the management team.
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 held 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.
Plaque at the entrance
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. In October 2009, Ed Grier announced his retirement, and was replaced by George Kalogridis as the new President of the Disneyland Resort.
The "Happiest Homecoming on Earth" was an eighteen-month-long celebration (held through 2005 and 2006) of the 50th anniversary of the Disneyland theme park, which opened on July 18, 1955. The Happiest Celebration on Earth commemorated fifty years of Disney theme parks, and celebrated Disneyland's milestone throughout Disney parks all over the globe. In 2004, the park undertook a number of major renovation projects in preparation for its fiftieth anniversary celebration.
Many classic attractions were restored, notably Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Attractions that had been in the park on opening day in 1955 had one ride vehicle painted gold, and the park was decorated with 50 Golden Mickey Ears. The 50th Anniversary celebration started on May 5, 2005 and ended on September 30, 2006. It was followed by the "Year of a Million Dreams" celebration, which lasted 27 months and ended on December 31, 2008.
Starting on January 1, 2010, Disney Parks hosted the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day volunteer program, in which Disney encouraged people of all ages to volunteer with a participating charity and receive a free Disney Day at either a Disneyland Resort park in California or at a Walt Disney World Resort park in Florida. On March 9, 2010, Disney announced that it had reached its goal of one million volunteers and ended the promotion to anyone who had not yet registered and signed up for a specific volunteer situation.
Aerial view of Disneyland in 1963, looking southeast. The Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) is in the upper left corner. Harbor Boulevard forms the eastern boundary of the park. Anaheim's newly completed Melodyland Theater ("theater-in-the-round") is at the top of the photo. May 1965 aerial photo of Disneyland and surrounding Anaheim area. Includes Disneyland Hotel with its Monorail Station, the Disneyland Heliport, orange groves, Santa Ana Freeway and Melodyland Theater.
The park is divided into "lands" (themed areas) and well-concealed backstage areas. On entering a land, a guest is completely immersed in a themed 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. The public areas occupy approximately . When the park initially opened, it consisted of five themed areas:
Main Street, U.S.A., designed to resemble an early 20th-century Midwest town;
Adventureland, featuring jungle-themed adventures;
Frontierland, illustrating an American Old West frontier town;
Fantasyland, bringing to life characters and places from Disney's animated movies.
Tomorrowland, an optimistic vision of the future.
Since the initial opening, additional areas have been added:
- In 1957, Holidayland, a recreation area including a circus and baseball diamond, which was closed in late 1961.
- In 1966, New Orleans Square, based on 19th-century New Orleans.
- In 1972, Bear Country, themed around the mountain forests of the American South. It was later renamed Critter Country and themed around Splash Mountain's Song of the South elements.
- In 1993, Mickey's Toontown, themed around the Toontown seen in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Throughout the park are 'Hidden Mickeys', or representations of Mickey Mouse heads inserted subtly into the design of attractions and environmental decor.
An elevated berm supports a narrow gauge railroad that circumnavigates the park. Disney California Adventure Park was added in what used to be a parking lot for Disneyland guests.
Lands of Disneyland
Disneyland has eight themed areas or "lands" that host various shops, restaurants, live entertainment, and attractions. A ninth area (albeit defunct) is Holidayland, a picnic ground which operated between 1957 and 1961 and is often referred to as the "lost" land of Disneyland.
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 (if not entering by monorail), 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.
Main Street, USA as seen on July 4, 2010
Main Street, U.S.A. is reminiscent of the Victorian period of America with the train station, town square, movie theater, city hall, firehouse complete with a steam-powered pump engine, emporium, shops, arcades, double-decker bus, horse-drawn streetcar, jitneys and other bits of memorabilia. Main Street is also home to the Disney Art Gallery and the Opera House which showcases Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln a show featuring an Audio-Animatronic version of the president. There are many specialty stores on Main Street including: a candy store, jewelry and watch shop, a silhouette station, a store that sells Disney collectable items created by various artists, and a hat shop where you have the option of creating your own ear hat along with a personalized embrodiery. At the far end of Main Street, U.S.A. is Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the Central Plaza (also known as the Hub), which is a portal to most of the themed lands. Several lands are not directly connected to the Central Plaza namely, New Orleans Square, Critter Country and Mickey's Toontown.
The design of Main Street, U.S.A. uses the technique of forced perspective to create an illusion of height. Buildings along 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 reducing the scale by 1/8 each level up.
Adventureland is designed to recreate the feel of 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." Attractions include opening day's Jungle Cruise, the "Temple of the Forbidden Eye" in Indiana Jones Adventure, and Tarzan's Treehouse, which is a conversion of the earlier Swiss Family Robinson Tree House from the Walt Disney film, Swiss Family Robinson. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room which is located at the entrance to Adventureland is the first feature attraction to employ Audio-Animatronics, a computer synchronization of sound and robotics.
Adventureland provides a 1950s view of adventure, capitalizing on the post-war Tiki craze.
New Orleans Square
The Haunted Mansion's Antebellum architecture is styled as a Southern plantation home.
New Orleans Square is a themed land based on 19th-century New Orleans. It was opened to the public on July 24, 1966. Despite its age, it is still very popular with Disneyland guests, being home to some of the park's most popular attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, including nighttime entertainment in Fantasmic!.
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. Entertainment and attractions include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, and Frontierland Shootin' Exposition. Frontierland is also home to the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, an Old West-style show palace, where currently the comedic troupe "Billy Hill and the Hillbillies" entertains guests.
Critter Country opened in 1972 as "Bear Country", and was renamed in 1988. Formerly the area was home to Indian Village, where indigenous tribespeople demonstrated their dances and other customs. Today, the main draw of the area is Splash Mountain, a log-flume journey inspired by the Uncle Remus stories of Joel Chandler Harris and the animated segments of Disney's Academy Award-winning 1946 film, Song of the South. In 2003, a dark ride called The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh replaced the Country Bear Jamboree, which closed in 2001. The Country Bear Jamboree presented shows featuring singing bear characters that were visualized through Disney's electronically controlled and mechanically animated puppets, known as Audio-Animatronics.
Splash Mountain is a combination log flume and dark ride attraction at three Walt Disney Parks, based on the 1946 Disney film Song of the South.
Fantasyland is the area of Disneyland of 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. Attractions include several dark rides, the King Arthur Carrousel, and various family attractions. Fantasyland has the most fiber optics in the park; more than half of them are in Peter Pan's Flight. Sleeping Beauty's Castle once again features a walk-through story telling of Briar Rose's adventure as Sleeping Beauty. Opened in 1959, changed in 1972, then closed in 1992 for reasons of security and the new installation of pneumatic ram firework shell mortars for "Believe, There's Magic in the Stars". The walkthrough reopened 2008 and it features new renditions and methods of storytelling and the restored work of Eyvind Earle (not Mary Blair).
"It's a small world" cruise marquee.
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 based on a 1930s cartoon aesthetic and is home to Disney's most popular cartoon characters. Toontown features two main attractions: Gadget's Go Coaster and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. The "city" is also home to cartoon character's houses such as the house of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy, as well as Donald Duck's boat.
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 serve as technical consultants during the original design of Tomorrowland. Initial attractions included Rocket to the Moon, Astro-Jets and Autopia; later, the first incarnation of the Submarine Voyage was added. 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.
Tomorrowland as seen in 2010
Current attractions include Space Mountain, Innoventions, Captain EO Tribute, Autopia, the Disneyland Monorail Tomorrowland Station, the Astro Orbitor and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opened on June 11, 2007, resurrecting the original Submarine Voyage which closed in 1998. Star Tours was closed in July 2010, and replaced with Star Tours: The Adventures Continue in June 2011.
Disneyland staff use theatrical terminology. This is to emphasize that a visit to the park is intended to be similar to witnessing a performance. For example, visitors are referred to as "guests" and park employees as "cast members". "On stage" refers to any area of the resort that is open to guests. "Backstage" refers to any area of the resort that is closed to guests. A crowd is referred to as an "audience". "Costume" is the attire that cast members who perform the day-to-day operations of the park must wear. Terms such as "uniform" are not used. "Show" is the resort's presentation to its guests, such as the color and fa ades of buildings, placement of rides and attractions, costumes to match the themed lands. When signing credit card receipts for souvenirs or food, guests are asked for their "autograph". "Stage managers" are responsible for overseeing the operation of the different areas of the park. Cast members who are in charge of a specific team are called "leads," as in a film or theater "lead role". In the earlier years of the park, the offices where administrative work took place were referred to as "production offices". "Production schedulers" build employee work schedules to meet the necessary workload, while "stage schedulers" handle day-to-day changes in that work schedule (such as a change in park hours, necessitating a change in everybody's shifts).
Each cast member's job is called a "role". When working in their roles, cast members must follow a "script". This is not a traditional play script, but more of a strict code of conduct and approved, themed phraseology that cast members may use when at work. Park employees are often reminded that "no" and "I don't know" are not a part of a cast member's script.
Backstage areas include closed areas of attraction, store, and restaurant buildings, as well as outdoor service areas located behind such buildings. Although some areas of the park, particularly New Orleans Square, have underground operations and storage areas, there is no park-wide network of subterranean tunnels, such as Walt Disney World's utilidors.
There are several points of entry from outside the park to the backstage areas: Ball Gate (from Ball Road), T.D.A. Gate (adjacent to the Team Disney Anaheim building), Harbor Pointe (from Harbor Boulevard), and Winston Gate (from Disneyland Drive).
Berm Road encircles the park from Firehouse Gate (behind the Main Street Fire Station) to Egghouse Gate (adjacent to the Disneyland Opera House). The road is so called because it generally follows outside the path of Disneyland's berm. A stretch of the road, wedged between Tomorrowland and Harbor Boulevard, is called Schumacher Road. It has two narrow lanes and runs underneath the Monorail track. There are also two railroad bridges that cross Berm Road: one behind City Hall and the other behind Tomorrowland.
Major buildings backstage include the Frank Gehry-designed Team Disney Anaheim, where most of the division's administration currently works, as well as the Old Administration Building, behind Tomorrowland. The Old Administration Building additionally houses the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas visible on the Disneyland Railroad.
The northwest corner of the park is home to most of the park's maintenance facilities, including:
- Company vehicle services, including Parking Lot trams and Main Street Vehicles
- Scrap yard, where the Resort's garbage and recyclables are sorted for collection
- Circle D Corral, where the Resort's horses and other animals are stabled
- Parade float storage and maintenance
- Distribution center for all Resort merchandise
- Ride vehicle service areas
- Paint shop
- Sign shop
Backstage also refers to parts of show buildings that are normally not seen by guests. Backstage areas are generally off-limits to park guests. This prevents guests from seeing the industrial areas that violate the "magic" of on-stage and keeps them safe from the potentially dangerous machinery. Cast members can also find some solace while they work or rest, as backstage offers alternate routes between the park's various areas.
Many attractions are housed in large, soundstage-like buildings, some of which are partially or completely disguised by external theming. Generally, these buildings are painted a dull green color in areas not seen by guests; ostensibly, this choice has been made to help disguise the buildings among the foliage and make them less visually obtrusive. Walt Disney Imagineering has termed this color, "Go Away Green." Most of them have off-white flat roofs that support HVAC units and footpaths for cast members. Inside are the rides, as well as hidden walkways, service areas, control rooms, and other behind-the-scenes operations.
Photography is forbidden in these areas, both inside and outside, although some photos have found their way to a variety of web sites. Guests who attempt to explore backstage are warned and often escorted from the property. The boundary between on and off-stage is demarcated at every access point. Everything within guest view when a door or gateway is open is also considered on stage. It is from this point, that characters start playing their part. That way, when the door is open, guests will not accidentally see a person out of character backstage.
Various amenities exist for Cast Members backstage when they are on breaks, or before and after their scheduled shifts. A number of cafeterias, now run by Sodexo, offer discounted meals throughout the day. These include Inn Between (behind the Plaza Inn), Eat Ticket (near the Team Disney Anaheim building behind Mickey's Toontown), and Westsider Grill (located approximately behind New Orleans Square). Partners Federal Credit Union, the credit union for employees of The Walt Disney Company in Orange County, provides nearly 20 ATMs backstage for cast member use and maintains an express branch at the Team Disney Anaheim building.
Walt Disney had a longtime interest in transportation, and trains in particular. Disney's passion for the "iron horse" led to him building a miniature live steam backyard 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 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. Originally known as the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad, the DRR was presented by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway until 1974. From 1955 to 1974, the Santa Fe Rail Pass was able to be used in lieu of a Disneyland "D" coupon. 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: New Orleans Square Station; Toontown Depot; 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 Railroad Engine 2
Disneyland Monorail System
The original red Mark I ALWEG Monorail train, with one car added, and then designated Mark II. Both trains were created especially for Disneyland. The other train was identical, but blue color. Seen at the Disneyland Hotel station, in August, 1963
The blue Mark II ALWEG Monorail train. Seen at the Disneyland Park station, in August, 1963
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 (4 km) long route designed to show the park from above. Currently, the Mark VII is running with the colors red, blue and orange.
Monorail Red travels over the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in Tomorrowland.
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, but 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, including ESPN Zone and the Rainforest Caf .
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 an automobile. 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.
Main Street at Disneyland as seen from a Horseless Carriage.
From the late 1950s to 1968 Los Angeles Airways provided regularly scheduled helicopter passenger service between Disneyland and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and other cities in the area. The helicopters initially operated from Anaheim/Disneyland Heliport, located behind Tomorrowland. Service later moved, in 1960, to a new heliport north of the Disneyland Hotel. Arriving guests were transported to the Disneyland Hotel via tram. The service ended after two fatal crashes in 1968: The crash in Paramount, California, on May 22, 1968 killed 23 (the worst helicopter accident in aviation history at that time). The second crash in Compton, California on August 14, 1968, killed 21.
A Los Angeles Airways S-61L helicopter lifting off from the Disneyland heliport, August, 1963, with the Matterhorn visible in the background
In addition to the attractions, Disneyland provides live entertainment throughout the park. Most of the mentioned entertainment is not offered daily, but only on selected days of the week, or selected periods of the year.
Mickey Mouse greeting guests
Many Disney characters can be found throughout the park, greeting visitors, interacting with children, and posing for photos. Some characters have specific areas where they are scheduled to appear, but can be found wandering as well. Some of the rarest are charecters like Rabbit(from Winnie-the-Pooh), Max, Mushu, and Agent P.
Periodically through recent decades (and most recently during the summers of 2005 and 2006), Mickey Mouse would climb the Matterhorn attraction several times a day with the support of Minnie, Goofy, and other performers. Other mountain climbers could also be seen on the Matterhorn from time to time. As of March 2007, Mickey and his "toon" friends no longer climb the Matterhorn but the climbing program continues.
Every evening at dusk, there is a military-style flag retreat to lower the Flag of the United States for the day, performed by a detail of the Disneyland Security Personnel. The ceremony usually is held between 4 and 5 pm, depending on the entertainment being offered on Main Street, USA, to prevent conflicts with crowds and music. Disney does report the time the Flag Retreat is scheduled on its Times Guide, offered at the entrance turnstiles and other locations.
The Disneyland Band
The Disneyland Band, which has been part of the park since its opening, plays the role of the Town Band on Main Street, U.S.A. It also breaks out into smaller groups like the Main Street Strawhatters, the Hook and Ladder Co., and the Pearly Band in Fantasyland.
Fantasmic!, which debuted in 1992, is a popular multimedia nighttime show on the Rivers of America. The star Mickey Mouse summons the characters and spirit of beloved Disney cartoons and uses the power of imagination to defeat the evil villains that try to turn his dream into a nightmare. The presentation is made at the Laffite's Tavern end of Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer Island and uses the Rivers of America as part of the stage. It uses Frontierland and New Orleans Square as the spectator arena.
Fantasmic! finale as seen on July 4, 2010
It consists of synchronized lighting and special effects, with floating barges, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, fountains, lasers, fireworks, thirty-foot-tall "mist screens" upon which animated scenes are projected, and an automated 45-foot fire-breathing dragon.
Disneyland fireworks from Sleeping Beauty Castle Elaborate fireworks shows synchronized with Disney songs and often have appearances from Tinker Bell or Dumbo, flying in the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. Since 2000, presentations have become more elaborate, featuring new pyrotechnics, launch techniques and story lines. In 2004, Disneyland introduced a new air launch pyrotechnics system, reducing ground level smoke and noise and decreasing negative environmental impacts. At the time the technology debuted, Disney announced it would donate the patents to a non-profit organization for use throughout the industry.
Regular fireworks shows:
- 1958 1999: Fantasy in the Sky
- 2000 2004: Believe... There's Magic in the Stars
- 2004 2005: Imagine... A Fantasy in the Sky
- 2005 present: Remember... Dreams Come True
Special fireworks shows:
- June 12, 2009 September 20, 2009: Magical: An Exploding Celebration In The Sky
- September 25, 2009 November 1, 2009: Halloween Screams
- November 12, 2010 - January 2, 2011: Believe... In Holiday Magic
Since 2009, Disneyland has moved to a rotating repertoire of firework spectaculars.
Yearly fireworks repertoire
- Late winter/spring: Remember... Dreams Come True
- Summer: Magical: Disney's New Nighttime Spectacular of Magical Celebrations
- Independence Day Week: Disney's Celebrate America: A 4th of July Concert in the Sky
- Mickey's Halloween Party Exclusive: Halloween Screams
- Holiday: Believe... In Holiday Magic
During the holiday season, there is a special fireworks presentation called Believe... In Holiday Magic, which has been running since 2000, except for a hiatus in 2005 during the park's 50th anniversary celebration.
Scheduling of fireworks shows depends on the time of year. During the slower off-season periods, the fireworks are only offered on weekends. During the busier times, Disney offers additional nights. The park offers fireworks nightly during its busy periods, which include Easter/Spring Break, Summer and Christmas time. Disneyland spends about $41,000 per night on the fireworks show. The show is normally offered at 8:45 PM if the park is scheduled to close at 10 pm or later, but shows have started as early as 5:45 pm. A major consideration is weather/winds, especially at higher elevations, which can force the cancellation of the show. The park will usually wait an additional 15 minutes or so to see if the winds die down. Shows, with a few minor exceptions, such as July 4 and New Year's Eve, must finish by 10 pm due to the conditions of the permit issued by the City of Anaheim.
The Golden Horseshoe Revue
The Golden Horseshoe Saloon offers a live stage show with an Old West feel. The Golden Horseshoe Revue was an American frontier-themed vaudeville show starring Sluefoot Sue and Pecos Bill. It ran until the mid-1980s, when it was replaced by a similar show starring Lily Langtree (or Miss Lily) and Sam the Bartender. Most recently, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies have played their guitars and banjos in a bluegrass-and-comedy show.
Additionally, in front of the Golden Horsehose Saloon, The Laughing Stock Co. enacts small humorous skits with an Old West theme.
Disneyland has featured a number of different parades traveling down the park's central Main Street - Fantasyland corridor. There have been daytime and nighttime parades that celebrated Disney films or seasonal holidays with characters, music, and large floats. One of the most popular parades was the Main Street Electrical Parade, which now resides at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
From May 5, 2005 through November 7, 2008, as part of the Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams was presented, celebrating several of the classic Disney stories including The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, and Pinocchio.
In 2009, Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams was replaced by Celebrate! A Street Party, which premiered on March 27, 2009. Disney does not call Celebrate! A Street Party a parade, but rather a "street event." During the Christmas season, Disneyland presents "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade.
Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams was replaced by Mickey s Soundsational Parade which debuted on May 27, 2011.
The Tomorrowland Terrace is a stage in Tomorrowland. It is a two-story stage where the lower stage rises from below floor level. It was popular in the 1960s with music performers of the day. Over the years, it was eventually replaced with Club Buzz, a Buzz Lightyear-themed stage and show featuring the space character from the Toy Story films. In 2006, it was restored to the Tomorrowland Terrace with the same style and design as the original. It is now home to the Jedi Training Academy interactive stage show where children are chosen as Jedi padawan and taught how to use a lightsaber. Each child then has the opportunity to face Star Wars antagonists Darth Vader or Darth Maul. Also, local bands have returned to play in the evenings, just as Tomorrowland Terrace hosted in the 1960s.
Alice, along with other characters from her movie, host "Disneyland Musical Chairs" at Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, accompanied by a ragtime pianist. Various other unscheduled street performers play and sing throughout the park, sometimes only seasonally.
- The All-American College Band performs around the park during the summer season. The band is composed of talented college students who have auditioned for the chance to perform in Disneyland.
- Ragtime Piano Player will perform at Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, also known as "Coke Corner", on Main Street.
- Alice in Wonderland characters stage a wacky game of "Disneyland Musical Chairs" at Coke Corner each afternoon.
- The Bootstrappers are a band of pirates who perform songs based on Pirates of the Caribbean, along with other sea-shanties.
- The Dapper Dans barbershop quartet sing in harmony on Main Street.
- The Firehouse Five Plus Two, originally a band composed of Imagineers, can be found at the Firehouse on Main Street.
- The Trash Can Trio, a Stomp-like group that performs using trash cans in Tomorrowland.
- Various bands, including the park's own electric guitarist Ernie Maclean may perform solo or with a quartet, the Jambalaya Jazz Band, the Side Street Strutters, the Royal Street Bachelors, performwith a jazz influence in New Orleans Square.
- During the holidays, additional small groups of entertainment offerings are added, such as the Main Street Carolers who perform throughout the day.
Attendance of Disneyland Park (in millions)
Attendance of Disneyland Park
From Disneyland's opening day until 1982, the price of the attractions was in addition to the price of park admission. Park-goers paid a small admission fee to get into the park, but admission to most of the rides and attractions required guests to purchase a book of tickets that consisted of several coupons, initially labeled "A" through "C". The coupons were also sold individually. "A" coupons allowed admission to the smaller rides and attractions such as the vehicles on Main Street, whereas "C" coupons were used for the most common attractions like the Peter Pan ride, or the Tea Cups. As more thrilling rides were introduced, such as the Monorail or the Matterhorn bobsled, "D" and then eventually "E" coupons were introduced. Coupons could be combined to equal the equivalent of another ticket (e.g. two "A" tickets equal one "B" ticket). From the thrill ride experience at Disneyland, the colloquial expression "an E ticket ride" is used to describe any exceptionally thrilling experience.
Disneyland ticket book circa 1975 1977. The tickets are actually printed as "coupons".
Later Disneyland featured a "Keys to the Kingdom" booklet of tickets, which consisted of 10 unvalued coupons sold for a single flat rate. These coupons could be used for any attraction regardless of its regular value. Obviously it would behoove the buyer to use these for the most thrilling attractions or rides.
In 1982 Disney dropped the idea for individual ride tickets to a single admission price with unlimited access to all attractions, "except shooting galleries". While this idea was not original to Disney, its business advantages were obvious: in addition to guaranteeing that everyone paid a large sum even if they stayed for only a few hours and rode only a few rides, the park no longer had to print tickets or ticket books, staff ticket booths, or provide staff to collect tickets or monitor attractions for people sneaking on without tickets.
Later, Disney introduced other entry options such as multi-day passes, Annual Passes (which allow unlimited entry to the Park for an annual fee), and Southern California residents' discounts.
Adult admission price to Disneyland Park, 1981-2011 (in US$)
|Month & Year
Before 1982, passport tickets were available to groups only.
Accidents, injuries and deaths
Since the park's opening in July 1955, there have been numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths at Disneyland.
Disneyland Park has had three unscheduled closures since it opened in 1955:
- In 1963, following President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
- In 1994 for inspection after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
- Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park were closed following the September 11 attacks. Unlike Disney World, where the parks had already opened for the day and were closed while already in operation, the Disneyland Resort theme parks never opened (the parks were not scheduled to open for several more hours, due to the time difference).
Additionally, Disneyland has had numerous planned closures:
- In the early years, the park was often scheduled to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the off-season. This was in conjunction with nearby Knott's Berry Farm, which closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays to keep costs down for both parks, while offering Orange County visitors a place to go 7 days a week.
- On May 4, 2005 for the 50th Anniversary Celebration media event.
- The park has closed early to accommodate various special events, such as special press events, tour groups, VIP groups, private parties, etc. It is also common for a corporation to rent the entire park for the evening. In such cases special passes are issued, which are good for admission to all rides and attractions. At the ticket booths and on published schedules, regular guests are notified of the early closures. In the late afternoon, cast members announce that the park is closing, then clear the park of everyone without the special passes.
- Halloween Time
Every year in October, Disneyland has a Halloween promotion when parts of the park are decorated in a Halloween theme. Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion are temporarily rethemed as part of the promotion.
- Holidays at the Disneyland Resort
From early November until the first few days in January, the park is decorated for the holidays. Seasonal entertainment includes the Believe... In Holiday Magic firework show and A Christmas Fantasy Parade, and the Haunted Mansion and It's a Small World are temporarily redecorated in a holiday theme. The Sleeping Beauty castle is also known to become snow-capped and decorated with colorful lights during the holidays as well.
- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
- List of Disney attractions
- List of current Disneyland attractions
- List of past Disneyland attractions
Theme parks that were closely themed to Disneyland:
- Nara Dreamland Now defunct Japanese theme park
- Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park Mainland Chinese theme park
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