Articles > Disneyland
is a theme park at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It
is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. The creation of
animation and entertainment pioneer Walt Disney and his business
partner and older brother Roy O. Disney, Disneyland has become the
world's most famous themed amusement park and one of the most visited
sites in the world. An estimated 515 million visitors have visited
the park since its opening on July 17, 1955. A worldwide celebration
began in commemoration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary on May 5,
Disneyland Concept and construction
Walt Disney and his brother Roy already headed one of Hollywood's
more successful studios founded in 1923 long before the idea of
a park even began to form. Walt's original concept was of a permanent
family fun park without the negative elements which traveling carnivals
often attracted. He developed the idea during his many outings with
his daughters Dianne and Sharon, when he realized that there were
no parks with activities that parents and children could enjoy together.
While many people had written letters to Walt Disney about visiting
the Disney Studio lot and meeting their favorite Disney character,
Walt realized that a functional movie studio had little to offer
to the visiting fan. He then began to foster ideas of building a
place at his Burbank studios for tourists to visit and perhaps take
pictures with Disney characters set in statue form. His ideas then
evolved to a small play park with a boat ride and other themed areas.
These ideas grew bigger and bigger into a concept for a larger enterprise
which was to become Disneyland.
Disneyland was partially inspired by Tivoli Gardens, built in 1843
in Copenhagen, Denmark and Children's Fairyland built in 1950 in
Oakland, California. Disney's original modest plans called for the
park to be built on eight acres (32,000 m²) next to the Disney
Studios in Burbank, California as a place where his employees and
families could go to relax.
Early in development, during the early 1950s, it became clear that
more area would be needed. Difficulties in obtaining funding caused
Disney to investigate new ways of raising money. He decided to use
television to get the ideas into people's homes, and so he created
a show named Disneyland which was broadcast on the fledgling American
Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network. In return, the network
agreed to help finance the new park.
On the suggestion of researchers at Stanford Research Institute
who correctly envisioned the area's potential growth, Disney acquired
160 acres (730,000 m²) of orange groves and walnut trees in
Anaheim, south of Los Angeles in neighboring Orange County. Construction
began on July 18, 1954 and would cost US$17 million to complete.
U.S. Highway 101 (later Interstate 5) was under construction at
the same time just to the north of the site; in preparation for
the traffic which Disneyland was expected to bring, two more lanes
were added to the freeway even before the park was finished.
Because of his brother Roy's distrust of the project, and because
of financial considerations, Walt Disney was forced to turn to outside
financing for his theme park. For the first five years of its operation,
Disneyland was owned by Disneyland, Inc., of which Walt Disney Productions
and ABC each owned half. In 1960, Walt Disney Productions bought
ABC's share of the theme park.
July 17, 1955: Disneyland's Opening day
Disneyland opened to the public on Sunday, July 17, 1955. The opening
ceremonies were televised nationwide and anchored by three of Walt
Disney's friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and
Opening day did not go smoothly. The park was overcrowded as the
by-invitation-only affair was plagued with counterfeit tickets.
All major roads nearby were congested. The high temperature was
over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and a plumbers' strike left many of
the drinking fountains dry. The asphalt that had been poured just
the night before was so soft that ladies' high-heeled shoes sank
in. Vendors ran out of food. A gas leak in Fantasyland caused Adventureland,
Frontierland, and Fantasyland to close for the afternoon. Parents
were throwing children over the shoulders of crowds to get in line
for rides such as Dumbo.
The park got such bad press for opening day that Walt Disney invited
members of the press back for a private 'second day' to experience
the true Disneyland, after which Walt held a party in the Disneyland
Hotel for them. Walt and his executives forever referred to the
first day as Black Sunday.
Disneyland parks around the world
Main article: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Despite the problems on the opening day, Disneyland was clearly
an enormous success. It attracted visitors worldwide in unprecedented
volume. Soon, even as they refined and developed Disneyland, Walt
and Roy were also planning an expansion of the concept to other
The Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida was built
with Walt's hatred of the cheap motels and amusements that popped
up around Disneyland in mind. It is the largest private-owned vacation
destination, and the most popular vacation destination in the world
although the yet-to-open Dubai Land in the United Arab Emirates
is twice the size. It opened in 1971 under the guidance of Roy O.
Disney. Since its opening with one theme park and two hotels, the
resort has grown into a four theme park, two water park, twenty-three
hotel and two shopping complex vacation resort.
In 1983 the first international Disney theme park opened: Tokyo
Disneyland in Japan. Tokyo Disneyland is now part of the Tokyo Disney
Resort, and has a sister theme park Tokyo DisneySea, which opened
in 2001. In 1993 Euro Disney opened in France, and is now the Disneyland
Resort Paris with two theme parks. In September of 2005, Hong Kong
Disneyland Resort will open in Hong Kong, China.
1990s Transition: theme park becomes resort
In the 1990s, major construction began to transform Disneyland
from a theme park into a vacation resort. The Walt Disney Company
purchased land surrounding the park that was once the site of low-budget
motels and trailer courts, and dug up its original "Hundred-Acre
Parking Lot". On this land, Disney's California Adventure and
Downtown Disney opened in 2001. The "Grand Californian"
hotel, patterned after the Arts and Crafts movement of the early
20th century, extends into Disney's California Adventure and allows
paying guests to enter that park through the hotel itself.
Most of the resort's parking today is handled by the five-level
"Mickey and Friends" parking garage. With six levels and
10,250 parking spaces, it is the second-largest parking structure
in the world, behind only the structure at the Tokyo Disney Resort
in Japan. Propane-powered trams bring visitors to the entrance plaza
between the two parks. There are also some smaller, off-property
lots with regular shuttle service to the parks, and most nearby
hotels offer regular shuttle service as well.
The park's management team of the mid-1990s was a tremendous source
of contention to many Disneyland fans and employees. Headed by executives
Cynthia Harriss and Paul Pressler, each with a retail marketing
background, Disneyland's focus gradually changed from attractions
to merchandising. The leaders came under increasing criticism for
a host of cost cutting initiatives and profit boosting schemes.
Under their direction, few new attractions were built and many
were closed down. Shops that once carried a variety of items themed
to their locations now carried general Disney character products.
Themed restaurants and shops were closed and replaced by outdoor
vending carts which caused crowds to clog walkways. The decision
to remodel Tomorrowland, derided by some fans, was attributable
to Pressler, as was the closure of a great many popular attractions
within the area. Dewitt "T" Irby, a retired U.S. Army
officer hired as facilities manager, was blamed for the destruction
of much of the tooling and attraction components in storage in the
backstage areas in an effort to streamline operations as recommended
by outside consultants.
After nearly a decade of deferred maintenance, Walt's original
theme park was showing visible signs of neglect. Paint was peeling
off buildings, burnt out light bulbs, which were once replaced before
they could burn out, were so numerous as to make the facades they
outlined look like toothless poor relations of their counter parts
on reruns of the various Disney TV shows. Disney purists such as
Internet columnist Al Lutz decried the perceived decline in customer
value and park quality, and railed for the Pressler regime's dismissal.
In 2003, both Harriss and Pressler stepped down to take over operations
of national clothing retailer The Gap. Irby stepped down the following
Disneyland 2005 and beyond
Matt Ouimet, formerly manager of Disney Cruise Lines, was promoted
to assume leadership of Disneyland. Unlike his predecessors, Ouimet
was an amusement park fan and had worked summers in Disneyland in
his youth. Praised by Disney fan sites for his success in building
the Cruise Lines, Ouimet quickly set about reversing negative trends,
especially with regards to cosmetic maintenance and a return to
the original infrastructure maintenance schedule, in hopes of restoring
the good safety record of the past. Much like Walt Disney himself,
Ouimet can often be seen walking the park during business hours
with members of his staff. He wears a cast member name badge and
welcomes comments from guests.
Disneyland hosted its 500-millionth guest in 2004. The park is
undergoing a number of major renovation projects, and celebrates
its fiftieth anniversary (see below) in May, this year. Many classic
attractions (often ones neglected during Paul Pressler and Cynthia
Harriss' times as Disneyland Resort President) have been restored,
probably most notably Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise and Walt Disney's
Enchanted Tiki Room, which has received a completely rejuvenated
soundtrack based on the original forty year old music.
Disneyland Park layout
Main articles: List of current Disneyland rides and attractions,
List of past Disneyland rides and attractions.
Disneyland Park was designed by Walt Disney's movie studio staff
to have five distinctly-themed "lands". Three more lands
have been added since the park's opening.
At the center of the park stands Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Based on the stereotypical turn-of-the-20th-century city Main Street,
specifically Disney's boyhood home of Marceline, Missouri, Main
Street, U.S.A. is home to many shops but is the only land in all
of Disneyland without a permanent ride.
The 1880s-styled shops that line Main Street appear to be full
two-story buildings. In reality, however, they implement forced
perspective to give the illusion that they are full height. The
second levels of the buildings are a few feet short of being full
size. If the Disneyland architects had made the buildings a full
two stories high, they would have looked incongruously tall compared
to the castle.
Walt Disney said, "For those of us who remember the carefree
time it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For
younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar
to the days of grandfather's youth." Above the firehouse is
Walt Disney's personal apartment, fully furnished but off-limits
to the public. A lamp is kept burning in the window as a tribute
to his memory.
Adventureland is designed to be 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 the "Temple of the Forbidden Eye"
in Indiana Jones Adventure, the Jungle Cruise and "Tarzan's
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 Fantasmic!,
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, and Sailing
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
Fantasyland was originally styled in a fairground fashion, but
its 1983 refurbishment turned it into a Bavarian village.
King Arthur Carrousel
Walt Disney felt that no park was complete without a carousel.
Therefore, an 1875 Dentzel park model carousel which had operated
since 1922 at Sunnyside Park in Toronto, Ontario was taken from
Sunnyside and moved to Disneyland just before the park opened in
The carousel has been significantly altered since then. The original
chariots were removed and used as cars on the "Casey Jr. Circus
Train" attraction. A Wurlitzer #157 band organ is on the carousel,
but does not operate. Motifs from The Sword In The Stone were used
in 1955 to replace elements of the carousel. Original inner rounding
boards were replaced with mirrors, and the jester and princess head
shields on the outer rounding boards have been extensively altered
The carousel has seventy-two horses, carved in Germany in the late
19th century. Some of the horses were taken from a Stein and Goldstein
carousel and another carousel in 1955 to add a fourth row, completely
made of jumpers and operated by a custom-built crankshaft. Standers
on the original three rows were converted to jumpers in 1955. Because
of the overwhelming popularity of the carousel's single white horse,
all horses have been painted white since 1976.
King Arthur Carrousel (sic) reopened in February 2003 after extensive
renovations. These renovations included a new computerized operating
system that stops the carousel in the same spot every time, and
the replacement of about half of the mirrors with scenes from Sleeping
King Arthur Carrousel is a major attraction in Fantasyland, and
was featured during the finale number, When You Wish Upon A Star,
in a Sing Along Songs videocassette featuring Disneyland Park.
In Walt Disney's 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."
Tomorrowland's showpiece was his TWA Rocket to the Moon, derived
from his historic "Man in Space" set of three television
shows in the 1950s. It in turn was derived from the first spectacular
ride from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, the trip to the moon
ride which eventually became the anchor ride and namesake for Coney
Island's Luna Park. In the 1970s, the interior of the ride was updated,
and its destination was changed to Mars.
Another initial exhibit was Monsanto's "House of Tomorrow,"
a plastic house with four wings cantilevered from a central plinth.
This too had its precursors at World's Fairs, though in those cases
they were simply homes with modern conveniences and aimed at housewives.
Walt Disney was never completely satisfied with Tomorrowland. 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 changed yet again in 2005, with a new
blue, silver, white, and gold paint scheme, similar to its 1967-1997
paint scheme, but with a small mixture with its 1998 scheme.
Current attractions include the popular Space Mountain, which opened
in 1977; and Star Tours, a futuristic Star Wars ride created as
a collaboration between George Lucas and Disney Imagineers.
Just opened in 2005 is Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which first
appeared at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida. The
Submarine Voyage, which closed in 1998, is rumored to reopen in
2006 with a Finding Nemo theme.
New Orleans Square
New Orleans Square was among the last additions to Disneyland overseen
by Walt Disney himself. Opened in 1966, it is meant to capture the
flavor and architectural detail of New Orleans's Bourbon Street.
New Orleans Square is also home to a private club and restaurant,
Club 33, located above the "Blue Bayou Restaurant" around
the corner from the entrance to the Pirates Of The Caribbean. Not
open to the general public and rarely mentioned in any of the park's
promotional material, Club 33's membership costs around $7,500-$10,000
per year with a waiting list several years long. The entrance to
the club is a plain blue door, marked only with an address plaque
bearing the number "33", immediately to the right of the
Blue Bayou. It is the only place in Disneyland where alcoholic beverages
Critter Country opened in 1972 as "Bear Country," and
was renamed in 1988. Its main draw is Splash Mountain a log flume
attraction themed after the animated segments of Disney's 1946 movie
Song of the South. In 2003, a dark ride called The Many Adventures
of Winnie the Pooh replaced the long-running Country Bear Jamboree,
a show featuring singing Audio-Animatronic bears.
Opened in 1993 and patterned after "Toontown" in the
Disney/Touchstone Pictures 1988 release Who Framed Roger Rabbit,
Mickey's Toontown looks like a 1930s Max Fleischer cartoon short
come to life. The land is built like the town where Disney characters
live and work, and Mickey's Toontown Fair at the Magic Kingdom in
Walt Disney World is built like a country home where the characters
Disneyland Backstage Areas
Areas closed to park visitors are considered in Disneyland lingo
"backstage". There are several points of entry from the
outside world to the backstage areas: Ball Gate (at the terminus
of Cast Place off Ball Road), TDA Gate (adjacent to the Team Disney
Anaheim building), Harbor Gate (off Harbor Boulevard, behind Tomorrowland),
and Winston Gate (off Disneyland Drive, behind the Mickey and Friends
Berm Road encircles the park from Firehouse Gate (behind the Main
Street Fire Station) to Egghouse Gate (adjacent to the Main Street
Opera House). The road is so called because it generally follows
outside the path of Disneyland's earthen berm, although with the
addition of Mickey's Toowntown, the road now strays as much as 100
yards from onstage areas at some points. A stretch of the road,
wedged between Tomorrowland and Harbor Boulevard, is called Schumaker
Road. It has two narrow lanes divided by a double yellow line, runs
underneath the Monorail track. There are also two railroad bridges
that cross Berm Road: one behind City Hall and the other behind
Tomorrowland near Harbor Gate. The speed limit for most parts of
Berm Road is 15 miles per hour, although a section cutting through
Disneyland's maintenance shops behind the park's northwestern corner
has a speed limit of 5 miles per hour.
The major bulidings backstage include Team Disney Anaheim, where
many of the park's support staff and top-level managers work and
the Old Administration Building, behind Tomorrowland and Main Street.
Walt Disney had a longtime interest in transportation, and railroads
in particular. He had built a miniature steam railroad on the grounds
of his own home. Therefore a number of different modes of transport
were incorporated into the park. The transportation systems are
in some respects intended more as entertainment rides than as a
means of transporting guests.
Disneyland incorporates a steam railroad. Originally known as the
Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad, it was sponsored by the Atchison,
Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Laid to three-foot gauge, the most
common narrow gauge measurement used in North America, the railroad
is laid in a continuous loop around the park. All the Disneyland
locomotives burn diesel fuel, which is less polluting (though more
expensive) than the coal, wood or heavy "Bunker C" oil
normally used on steam locomotives.
Originally, two trains could operate on the railroad, running in
opposite directions. A passing track was incorporated at Main Street
station where one train had to wait to allow the other to pass.
Later, for safety reasons and to allow the use of more than two
trains, the line was changed so that trains in normal service run
in a clockwise direction only. The passing track was disconnected
and now is only used to display a handcar. The 1958 addition of
the "Grand Canyon/Primeval World" diorama necessitated
a change in the rolling stock as well; instead of facing forward,
the benches of the new flatcars now faced right so that the diorama
could be better enjoyed by the passengers. Five open-air, clerestory-roofed
observation cars with forward-facing seats dating from the park's
opening were returned to service in 2004 after undergoing a three-year
Another detail dating from the park's opening can be seen from
the railroad. As the train passes behind the "it's a small
world" attraction in Fantasyland, it crosses a service road
that is protected by two miniature wigwag crossing signals. Santa
Fe offered the use of full-scale crossing signals, but Disney declined
as they would be out of scale with the trains. These scaled-down
replicas were designed and built by the San Bernardino shops of
the Santa Fe Railroad as a gift to Disneyland. They operate with
automotive windshield wiper motors.
The Walt Disney Company constructed the original two locomotives
in its own workshops under the supervision of Roger E. Broggie.
Patterned after the Lilly Belle, a miniature steam locomotive Broggie
had made for Walt's backyard Carolwood Pacific Railroad, these were
also models of classic "Wild West" style American 4-4-0s,
but built to a larger three-fifths scale. No. 1 was given a big
wood-burning 'balloon' stack and large, pointed pilot (cowcatcher)
while No. 2 was given a straight stack and smaller pilot common
to East Coast coal-burning locomotives.
Two more locomotives were later acquired from outside sources,
since this was cheaper than building new ones and since many narrow-gauge
lines were closing down and selling their equipment. All three were
given extensive renovations before entering service, including new
boilers. No. 4 is a "Forney" locomotive, a type of tank
locomotive. As an 1894 product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works,
No. 4 is the oldest locomotive in service at any Disney property.
In 2004, Disney purchased the inoperable Maud L locomotive from
the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, and sent it to
a Southern California shop to restore it and transform it into a
Disneyland Railroad locomotive. This 1902 Baldwin loco will be Disneyland
Railroad train #5, and will be the first Disneyland Railroad train
added since 1959. The train will be named after the late Ward Kimball,
one of Disney's Nine Old Men.
The railroad reopened in March 2005 after undergoing a three-month
restoration to bring the roadbed back to gauge in time for the park's
fiftieth anniversary. It is the most prolonged closure of the railroad
in park history.
One of Disneyland's signature attractions is its Alweg monorail
system, installed in 1959. The monorail track has remained almost
exactly the same since 1961, aside from small alterations while
Disney's California Adventure and Downtown Disney were being built.
The monorail shuttles visitors between two stations, one in Disneyland
itself (in Tomorrowland) and one outside the park, originally at
the Disneyland Hotel but now, after the 2001 remodel, at the Downtown
Disney shopping complex. It follows a 2.5 mile (4 km) long route
designed to show off the park from above. Three generations of monorail
cars have been used in the park, since their lightweight construction
means they wear out quickly.
As of 2004, three monorail trains, Monorail Red, Monorail Blue,
and Monorail Purple, are in regular service. A fourth train, Monorail
Orange, was removed from service and shipped to Disney's engineering
department in Burbank for disassembly and study so that new blueprints
can be created from it, because Alweg, the company which originally
built the monorail trains, has gone out of business.
Disneyland had signed a contract with the Alweg company which required
the Alweg name to be displayed on the monorail. This conflicted
with the contract with the Santa Fe that only their name could be
associated with railroad attractions at the park. This caused a
rift between Disneyland and the Santa Fe railroad, and eventually
caused the breakdown in their relationship and the removal of Santa
Fe sponsorship from the Disneyland Railroad.
Main Street vehicles
A number of vehicles, including a double-decker bus, a horse-drawn
streetcar, an old-fashioned fire engine, and an old-fashioned automobile,
are available for rides along Main Street, U.S.A.
The fire engine was built for Walt Disney, who used it to drive
around the park and host celebrity guests. The horseless carriages
are modeled after cars built in 1903. They (as well as the fire
truck) have two cylinder, four horsepower (3 kW) engines and manual
transmission and steering.
The Disneyland Skyway, "the first aerial tramway of its kind
in the United States"1, was one of the signature attractions
at the park. Opened in 1956 by Walt Disney himself, it shuttled
passengers between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland 100 feet (30 m)
above the ground, giving passengers fantastic views of Sleeping
Beauty Castle, the Matterhorn (which it went through), and the Autopia.
A distinctive feature was that Disneyland maintained the 'on-stage/backstage'
illusion to Skyway guests, covering any sites that would be unsuitable
to guests that were also hidden to guests on foot.
Due to the enormous impending cost to retrofit the Skyway for earthquake
safety and handicap accessibility, the attraction closed permanently
on November 10, 1994. Four years later, Tokyo Disneyland removed
their Skyway; finally, in 1999, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
removed theirs. No Skyways are left at any Disney park (Disneyland
Paris never had a Skyway attraction).
The Tomorrowland station remained and was used as a maintenance
bay for Rocket Rods beginning in 1998. It was removed shortly after
the Rocket Rods closed in spring 2001.
The Fantasyland station remains.
Disneyland live entertainment
In addition to the attractions, Disneyland provides live entertainment
throughout the park. Through the years, this has included:
- Elaborate fireworks shows featuring Disney songs and an appearance
by "Peter Pan" character Tinker Bell. Since 2000, the
presentations have become more elaborate, featuring new pyrotechnics,
launch locations, and storylines, such as the show Believe...
There's Magic in the Stars and the 50th anniversary celebration
fireworks presentation Remember... Dreams Come True.
- Disneyland's Fantasmic! in Frontierland, a popular nighttime
show with a live Mickey Mouse, special effects, floating barges,
fountains, lasers, a pirate ship, a forty-five foot fire-breathing
dragon, fireworks, and thirty-foot-tall "mist screens,"
upon which animation is projected.
- The Disneyland Band, which has been part of the park since its
opening. Its members gather in flashy matching uniforms to open
and close the park daily, then disburse and change costumes to
spend the day playing music appropriate to the various themed
lands, such as Dixieland music in New Orleans Square. One currently
popular group is the Trash Can Trio, which pops up unexpectedly
in random places in the park. The Disneyland Band is traditionally
- The Golden Horseshoe Saloon offers a live stage show with a
frontier or old-west feel. The Golden Horseshoe Revuean
old-west Vaudeville type of show starting Slue Foot (or Sluefoot)
Sue and Pecos Billran 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.
- The Dapper Dans barbershop quartet often sings on Main Street.
- Rod Miller is a ragtime pianist that plays at Coke Corner.
- Stages throughout the park provide singing and dancing shows.
- Character actors in Frontierland provide small humorous skits
with an old-west theme.
- A steel drum band often plays on the roof of the Jungle Cruise
- Disney cartoon characters (cast members in costume) greet visitors,
talk with children, and pose for photos. Characters who wear full-head
masks to create their personas never speak; characters who do
not need masks, called "face charactersincluding many
of the female characters, such as princesseshave no such
restriction. Besides greeting visitors in regular places, they
often participate in Disneyland parades.
- Character actors stroll up and down Main Street occasionally,
chatting to guests and performing humorous skits with each other.
Characters include the town gossip, the mayor, and a host of others.
- Merlin appears in Fantasyland several times a day to help some
lucky child pull a sword from an anvil and stone.
From Disneyland's opening until 1982, the price of attractions
was in addition to the price of park admission. Park-goers paid
a small sum to get into the park, then bought coupons (also called
tickets), individually or in booklets, that allowed them access
to rides and attractions. The least-expensive "A" tickets
gave access to the smaller attractions, while the most-expensive
"E" tickets gave access to the newest thrill rides or
the most interesting and unusual attractions. This led to the still-popular
term "E ticket ride" for any particularly outstanding,
special, or thrilling experience. Astronaut Sally Ride described
her launch into space as an "E-ticket ride." Disneyland
opened in 1955 with "A" through "D" tickets.
The E-ticket was introduced in 1959 with the opening of the Matterhorn
Bobsleds, the Submarine Voyage, and the Disneyland Monorail, all
of which required an "E" ticket to experience.
In the 1970s, nearby Magic Mountain introduced a one-price admission
ticket which allowed free access to all attractions within the park.
This model spread rapidly to all other parks, including Disneyland,
because 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. Disneyland began using one-price admission tickets in 1982.
In 1999, in an effort to offset the long waits for the most popular
attractions, Disney implemented a new service named FASTPASS. At
attractions featuring Disney's FASTPASS, a guest can use his park
admission ticket to obtain a FASTPASS ticket with a return time
later that day (an hour-long window) printed on it. If the guest
comes back to the attraction at his return time, he will get to
wait in a shorter line and be on the attraction within ten minutes,
or often much more quickly. Initially, only a few attractions offered
this service, but its popularity ensured its spread to many of the
In the half-century that Disneyland has been in operation, nine
guests and one cast member have died at the park. A greater number
of guests have been injured.
Seven of the deaths at Disneyland were the result of negligence
on the guests' part rather than the park's:
- In 1964, 15-year-old Mark Maples of Long Beach, California
died after he stood up in the Matterhorn Bobsleds and fell out.
- In 1966, Thomas Guy Cleveland, 19, of Northridge, California
was crushed by the Monorail during a Grad Nite celebration while
trying to sneak into the park by climbing its track.
- In 1967, Ricky Lee Yama, 17, of Hawthorne, California was crushed
while jumping between two moving PeopleMover cars.
- In 1973, Bogden Delaurot, 18, of Brooklyn, New York drowned
while trying to carry his little brother swimming across the Rivers
- In 1980, Gerrardo Gonzales, 18, of San Diego, California was
crushed by the PeopleMover while jumping between moving cars.
- In 1983, Philip Straughan, 18, of Albuquerque, New Mexico drowned
in the Rivers of America while trying to pilot a rubber emergency
boat from Tom Sawyer's Island.
- In 1984, Dolly Regene Young, 48, of Fremont, California unbuckled
her seatbelt and was thrown from a Matterhorn Bobsleds car and
struck by an oncoming train.
In 1974, cast member Deborah Gail Stone, 19, of nearby Santa Ana,
California was crushed to death by a revolving wall in the now-closed
"America Sings" attraction. She was in the wrong place
during a ride intermission; it was unclear whether this was due
to inadequate training or a misstep. The attraction was subsequently
refitted with breakaway walls.
On December 26, 1998, a metal cleat aboard the sailing ship "Columbia"
tore loose, striking three people in the head. Of them, Luan Phi
Dawson, 33, of Duvall, Washington, died of a head injury. The normal
non-elastic rope (designed to break easily) to tie the boat off
was improperly replaced by an elastic rope which stretched and pulled
off the cleat. The park received much criticism for this incident
due to its policy of restricting outside medical personnel in the
park to avoid frightening visitors, as well as for the fact that
the cast member in charge of the ship at the time was a novice.
On September 5, 2003, 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of nearby Gardena,
California died after suffering injuries in a derailment of the
Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster. The cause of the accident was
determined to be improper maintenance.
Incidents at Disneyland
In August 1970, Disneyland was literally invaded by several Yippies
who planned the stunt as an attack on what they saw as bloated establishment
decadence. In their leaflets, they stated they would help "liberate"
Minnie Mouse. They raised a Viet Cong flag on Tom Sawyer's Island,
filled the now-closed Inner Space dark ride with marijuana smoke,
and caused the closing of the park for the rest of the day until
they were rounded up by police.
With memories of this event in mind, in May 1989, park security
personnel were prepared for rumors of an invasion of the park by
neo-Nazis, in honor of the birth of an obscure Nazi leader named
Gregor Strasser. Although several leaflets were published announcing
this, only one car of skinheads was seen in the parking lot before
the park opened, and none entered.
Some cast members and visitors have reported seeing ghosts in the
park, including those of the people who have died in the park. Supposedly,
there also are actual ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. Some claim
to have witnessed Walt Disney's spirit itself in the Disney Gallery
above the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Disneyland has only been forced to close twice in its history.
The first occurrence was due to President Kennedy's assassination,
yet urban legends have circulated that Walt Disney refused to lower
the US Flag in Town Square in respect - although Disney and his
brother were on the other side of the country surveying land for
the future site of Walt Disney World. Disneyland closed again during
the attacks of September 11th, 2001, for two reasons - firstly in
respect and secondly in case there were plans to target the park,
which is a famous symbol of American culture.
A scheduled closure occured on May 4, 2005, Disneyland was again
closed to the public. Though the original stated reason was to put
the finishing touches on the 50th Anniversary Celebration, Disneyland
also played host to a large media event designed to generate interest
in the 50th anniversary celebration. The celebration began on May
Disneyland's Fiftieth Anniversary
In 2005, The Walt Disney Company celebrated Disneyland's 50th anniversary,
marketed as the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth." The official
celebration began on May 5, with a dedication from Michael Eisner,
Bob Iger, and Art Linkletter. For more details, see the Happiest
Homecoming on Earth.
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