Disneyland and How it all Began
Do you enjoy little-known facts and trivia about Disney history? History is being made this week with the opening of Cars Land, so we think it's a great time to reflect on past Disney milestones. Here are a some fun facts about Disneyland and how it all began!
The original Disneyland, the only Disney park overseen by Walt Disney himself, opened on July 17, 1955 in Anaheim, California. In the early 1950’s, Walt Disney initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain studio visitors. After hiring a consultant and doing research, Walt bought a 160-acre site in Anaheim in 1953. Today, Disneyland Resort covers 510 acres!
Opening day was known as “Black Sunday” because so many things didn’t go as planned. About 28,000 people attended opening day but only about half of those guests were actually invited. The others had fake tickets! In addition to the large unexpected crowd, some of the asphalt wasn’t dry, there weren’t enough bathrooms and people were tripping over camera cables everywhere. The opening day disaster was a minor detail in Disneyland’s success as over 600 million guests have been through the front gates since it opened.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle is modeled after Neuschwanstein, a castle in Bavaria, Germany. However, the true front of the castle is actually the backside of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It is said that Walt experimented with the castle turned around backwards in the original concept model and decided to keep it that way. Did you know the castle’s drawbridge actually works? It has only been lowered twice: once when the park opened in 1955 and again when Fantasyland had a makeover in the 1980s.
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, Mickey's Toontown in 1993, Disney California Adventure Park in 2001, and the newest addition: Cars Land, opening June 2012.
A few more fun facts:
- Did you know that Walt Disney’s apartment is located right above the Fire Station in Main Street where he would often times stay?
- You can hear Walt’s opening day dedication speech spelled out in morse code at the Frontierland train station.
- Many of the windows in Main Street USA pay tribute to those who designed, built and operated Disneyland in its early days.
- The gas lamps along Main Street are authentic antique street lamps from Baltimore and Philadelphia. Most of these lamps are over 150 years old!
- You can find “Hidden Mickeys” all over the resort- Wanna know where? Check out my last blog post about Hidden Mickeys and where to find them!