Last article in our 5 week series on Disney!
Everyone has a dream. One man’s dream would one day be the source of countless hours of fun, excitement and togetherness for many families and people of all ages. Walt Disney would take his daughters to Griffith Park in Los Feliz to ride the merry-go-round he would sit on the bench watching them ride, he dreamed of a place where parents and children could play together.(1)(2)
Walt Disney couldn’t convince the financiers to give him money because “they wouldn’t buy a dream” so he turned to television for financial support and shared his plans with the public. The series was called Walt Disney’s Disneyland and helped bring the reality of Disneyland to fruition.
On July 21, 1954, construction on Disneyland began. The park was scheduled to open a year later. Disneyland consists of themed lands: Main Street, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and Adventureland. Walt had his movie studio designers come up with the ideas for the park and if he didn’t like something in the plans he would change them himself. For example, he thought his designers had misunderstood the idea for Tom Sawyer’s Island. Walt took the plans home and worked on them. The next day he returned with what is now Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Walt Disney was 53 when he dedicated the park on Opening Day. On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened. During that time a 15 day heat wave was going through the area, the plumbers were on strike so not all of the drinking fountains were operational and the cement had been poured the night before which “trapped” high-heeled shoes. 6,000 invitations were mailed out and by mid afternoon 28,000 ticket holders were at the Magic Kingdom although most of the tickets were counterfeit.(3)
Disney California Adventure(DCA)construction began in 1997 and officially opened on February 8, 2001. Before the park opened there were many problems with critics asking why build a park about California in California? The park attendance was extremely low and there were rumors going around that the Imagineers were buying “off the shelf attractions” and then “Disneyfying” them.
The park was panned by the general public and critics for not having rides for young children, having to much of a California theme, not having enough “E” ticket rides and lacking “Disney” ambiance. Guests were also complaining about the price of admission (it was the same as Disneyland) but they felt they shouldn’t have to pay as much as this park was not as great as Disneyland.
The first fix for DCA was “A Bug’s Land” an area aimed at very young children. Again, Disney purchased “off the shelf attractions” and “Disneyfied” them. However, guests were still not impressed. Imagineers also added the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” attraction and in 2004 they finally added “The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror”.
In 2005, Michael Eisner was replaced by Bob Iger as CEO. In 2007, a 1.1 billion dollar expansion was announced for DCA that included many modifications to the park. DCA was rededicated on June 15, 2012.(4)
To view the changes made to DCA please read all six articles Click here.
In the early 1960’s, Walt had envisioned a place that would give people on the East Coast an opportunity to experience Disneyland. Florida was chosen because of the weather and the fact that Florida was already a number one tourist state. Orlando speficially was chosen because of the availability for growth, easy access to major highways and because of the available land.
Nearly 5.5 million dollars was used to purchase the land from almost 100 property owners. At that time a total of 28,000 acres was acquired to begin construction. Since then another 2,000 acres has been acquired.5
The Walt Disney World Resort includes Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. The resort is also home to many hotels and a night-time entertainment district.
Disneyland Paris (DLRP) opened on April 12, 1992. It encompasses a total of 4,800 acres and is located 20 miles east of Paris. It has two theme parks, six hotels, a shopping district, a campground and a golf course. It is the second largest of the Disney Resorts after Walt Disney World.
The resort opened during a European recession and as a result lost money during its first years in operation. The name of the resort was changed from Euro Disneyland to Disneyland Paris in October of 1994. The were several reasons for the change. The name “Euro” to Americans, means beauty and elegance but to the French it means business and commerce. The name of Disneyland Paris was to soothe the French because there was some hostility from the French when Disney announced plans to build there.6
DLRP consists of the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park includes Main Street, Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Adventureland and Frontierland. The Walt Disney Studios Park includes Toon Studio, the Backlot, the Frontlot, and the Production Courtyard.78
On September 12, 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland opened to the public and is located on Lantau Island. It is Disney’s fifth resort and eleventh park. Like its predecessor, Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland has also had its share of problems. The main problem being its size and the fact that on opening day the size of the crowds was underestimated. This led to long waits for the attractions.9
Hong Kong Disneyland consists of Main Street, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch. It also has two hotels, The Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.10
Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983 and is located in Chiba outside of Tokyo.11 The park includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.(12) The themed lands within Tokyo Disneyland are World Bazaar, Adventureland,Westernland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Toontown and Tomorrowland.(13)
The themed lands within Tokyo DisneySea are Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island.(14)
The hotels offered with the Tokyo Disneyland Resort are the Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel Miracosta and Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.(15)
The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a Disney version of a timeshare. It was created in 1991 by Disney Vacation Club Development, Inc. DVC members purchase points instead of weeks. With these points they can go to any Disney Vacation Club resort, as well as other destinations. (16)
The Disney Vacation Club Resorts are Disney’s Old Key West, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Aulani at Disney Vacation Club Villas.(17)
From one man’s dream came an empire of happiness, laughter, love and lasting legacy. As the Walt Disney World cast members say I hope you “Have A Magical Day!”