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History of Disneyland Tips:
The Highlights

Disney History

History of Disneyland. This place has got an interesting past, as you'd imagine.

There are volumes written about Walt Disney, his studio, and Disneyland. Here you'll find a few highlights.

  • Walt Disney was many things including a film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, philanthropist, and even an ambulance driver.
  • Walt's opening day speech:

    "To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past...and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
Disneyland History
  • Walt Disney received 59 Academy Award nominations and won 26 Oscars, including a record four in one year. He also won 7 Emmy Awards.
  • The history of Disneyland's Mickey Mouse:

    In 1928 during a contract negotiation, Walt Disney lost rights to one of his key characters and created Mickey Mouse to replace it. In 1932, Disney received an Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse.  Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

    The series' supporting characters included Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto, who got their own cartoons in the late 30's.
Disneyland History
  • Where did the idea for Disneyland come from? 

    People used to ask to visit his movie studio, but Walt Disney knew that a movie studio wasn't as interesting to most people as it sounded.

    He decided to build a site near his Burbank studios for tourists to visit and began touring amusement parks for ideas. He created a subsidiary of his company called WED Enterprises to develop the park over 5 years.

    Disneyland was originally to be about 8 acres big and eventually grew to 160 acres. It cost $17 million dollars to build.
  • It took one year to build Disneyland. Planning took longer, but the actual construction began on July 21, 1954, just 1 year before it opened on July 17, 1955. I think that's my favorite History of Disneyland tidbit.
Disneyland HistoryWalt Disney discussing plans for Disneyland Photo Credit: DisneyDreamer.com
  • Walt Disney was 53 when the park opened.
  • Opening Day was rough:

    - Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland had to close early due to a gas leak.

    - A plumbers' strike meant Disney had to choose between functioning toilets or water fountains. He chose toilets, and Pepsi was accused of shutting down the water fountains in order to sell their product.

    - The asphalt had just been laid the night before opening and was so soft people's heels sank.

    - 6,000 invitations to opening day were mailed. But by midday, nearly 30,000 visitors had arrived-- many tickets were counterfeit. As a result, the park was majorly overcrowded.

    - It was hot-- some say 101, others say 110 degrees.

    - The press was so bad that Walt Disney invited the press back for a second day. Now Disney calls July 17 "Dedication Day", and July 18 "Opening Day".
Disneyland History
  • In 1959, the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev wanted to go to Disneyland but wasn't allowed to. Apparently the LAPD thought it would be too risky. Khrushchev was not happy about it.
  • Main Street used to have its own functioning post office, bank, and printing press that published an actual newspaper.

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