The History of Disneyland
Disneyland® Park opened to the world on July 17, 1955. At the dedication ceremonies, Walt Disney was joined by California Governor Goodwin Knight and celebrities such as Art Linkletter, Ronald Reagan and other distinguished guests. Total attendance on the first day was 28,154. Built at a cost of $17 million, Disneyland offered 18 attractions ranging from King Arthur Carrousel to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. After only seven weeks of operation, the Park welcomed its one millionth Guest.
Community Service Awards Debut
Disneyland launched its first major community outreach initiative, the Disneyland Community Service Awards. Over the life of the 47 year program, more than $8.5 million was donated to the community.
Matterhorn Bobsleds/Monorail/Submarine Voyage
Four years after opening, Disneyland added the Matterhorn, a 147-foot-high mountain bobsled adventure, to Fantasyland, and the eight-vessel Submarine Voyage attraction to Tomorrowland. Also in Tomorrowland, the Monorail became the Western Hemisphere’s first complete, daily-operating system of its kind when it was dedicated by Vice President Richard Nixon.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Unveiling a new media of three-dimensional entertainment called Audio-Animatronics®, birds, flowers and Tiki gods perform an exciting musical fantasy in Adventureland.
“it’s a small world”/Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, featuring a “human” Audio-Animatronics figure that could realistically simulate human movements, was installed in the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A. after a preview at the New York World’s Fair. One year later, more than 500 singing and dancing dolls representing children from around the globe came to life in “it’s a small world”.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The amazing attraction featuring dozens of Audio-Animatronics characters debuted in New Orleans Square and has evolved into one of the most popular Disney attractions of all time.
Complete with 999 ghosts from all parts of the world, the Haunted Mansion has been thrilling and scaring Guests at its New Orleans Square location for decades.
“The Main Street Electrical Parade”
The premiere of the “The Main Street Electrical Parade” brought an entirely new entertainment feature to Disneyland. The parade re-created scenes from classic Disney films through music and the use of more than a half-million twinkling lights.
After two years of construction, Space Mountain opened May 27, 1977 in Tomorrowland. The high-speed interstellar adventure which has thrilled millions of thrill seekers was “re-launched” in July 2005.
First Make-A-Wish Foundation Wish Is Granted
Disneyland united with the newly launched Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the Foundation’s first official wish — a trip to Disneyland – for 7-year-old Frank “Bopsy” Salazar.
Disneyland Forms the First Disney VoluntEARS Team
Originally known as the Disney Community Action Team (DCAT), this team of Disneyland cast members formerly launched an effort to provide support to not-for-profit organizations in the communities surrounding the theme park.
The new Fantasyland was unveiled on May 25, after 20 months of construction. Featuring a new attraction, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, the land also showcased enhanced versions of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Other attractions – Dumbo the Flying Elephant, King Arthur Carrousel and the Mad Tea Party – were spruced up and moved to new locations.
Located in the park’s newly dubbed Critter Country, the 87-foot tall Splash Mountain opened in 1989. The flume attraction takes riders on a journey through swamps and bayous, culminating in a five-story drop over a waterfall into a briar patch.
Disneyland Supports the Launch of CHOC Walk
CHOC Walk, a fundraising event benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), is developed through a partnership with Disneyland and the hospital. During its first year, the Walk had an estimated 850 walkers who raised $72,000.
Disney VoluntEARS Launched Company-wide
Stemming from the extraordinary success of the Disney VoluntEARS program in Anaheim, Michael Eisner announced a company-wide roll out of the initiative to bring support and assistance to communities throughout the world.
As the newest “land” in Disneyland, Mickey’s Toontown features the wacky adventures of Roger Rabbit’s Car-toon Spin and plenty of other adventures for guests of all ages.
Indiana Jones Adventure™
Based on the films created by George Lucas, the Indiana Jones Adventure™ began taking guests in jungle transports on a thrilling archeological journey in 1995.
Disneyland Cast Community Fund is Formed
The Cast Community Fund was launched in 1997 at Disneyland as an additional employee-based giving option in conjunction with the Resort’s annual United Way campaign. During the first year, $161,000 was raised in support of local not-for-profit organizations.
Disney California Adventure® Park
Exactly 45 years, six months and 22 days after Walt opened his original theme park, at 8:00 a.m., Disney California Adventure® park opened to the public. The 2001 opening came 10 years after The Walt Disney Company announced that it would develop the Disneyland® Resort, a multi-day destination that would include two parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney entertainment district
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, a new addition to Disney California Adventure® park, opened May 5, 2004. It combined the thrill of the television show from the 1960s with classic Disney attention to detail and innovative storytelling.
Disneyland’s 50th anniversary will be the biggest celebration yet, taking place in all the Disney theme parks around the world. Everyone who’s ever been to Disneyland, dreamed of going, or brought the magic of Disney to life for our Guests is invited to experience new surprises and enjoy the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth”, during the 18-month-long event.
The Disneyland Resort unveiled a significant expansion including new family-oriented attractions and shows that feature more stories and characters from both Disney and Pixar. Entirely new and more immersive worlds, fantasy, magic and spectacular shows are at the heart of the transformation occurring at Disney California Adventure® park.
Toy Story Mania!
The Resort expansion, announced in 2007, began with the 2008 opening of Toy Story Mania! at Disney California Adventure® park. The ride-through, interactive adventure allows guests to enter into a high-energy 4-D carnival midway hosted by “Toy Story” characters.
“World of Color”
“World of Color,” a nighttime spectacular featuring nearly 1,200 colorful fountains dancing to animation projected on a water screen the size of a football field, debuts at Disney California Adventure® park.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue / The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
At Disneyland park, the original Star Tours attraction that opened in 1987 was reimagined as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, featuring more than 50 3-D adventures that send voyagers for the first time to Coruscant, Tatooine and other destinations in the Stars Wars galaxy.
Across the esplanade at Disney California Adventure park, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure debuted, taking guests “under the sea” to experience a classic dark ride featuring scenes and songs from The Little Mermaid film.
Cars Land / Buena Vista Street
The 12-acre Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park invites guests to enter a world inspired by the hit Disney•Pixar film “Cars,” featuring three new attractions – Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.
The addition of Buena Vista Street transformed the gateway of Disney California Adventure park into the 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles that greeted a young Walt Disney.
Fantasy Faire / “Mickey and the Magical Map”
At Disneyland park, the royal red carpet rolled out at Fantasy Faire, a picturesque village square that welcomes guests to meet Disney’s fairy tale heroes and heroines.
“Mickey and the Magical Map” is a new, live stage show in the Fantasyland Theatre featuring Mickey Mouse in his timeless role as the sorcerer’s apprentice.
Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration
Celebrating 60 years of the Happiest Place on Earth, the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration featured the all-new “Paint the Night” parade, “Disneyland Forever” fireworks and “World of Color – Celebrate!,” as well as special food and merchandise. The celebration also brought a special sparkle throughout the Disneyland Resort including a diamond-encrusted Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure Park debuts, an exhilarating adventure that blasts guests into the story of these characters with all-new visual and audio effects, plus the attraction’s own “awesome mix tape” of music inspired by the films’ soundtracks. Guests experience multiple, random ride experiences as they join Rocket, one of the galaxy’s most unusual heroes, in a daring plan to free the captive Guardians from The Collector’s Fortress.
Pixar Fest, the biggest and most exciting Pixar celebration to come to Disney Parks, brings guests together to celebrate friendship and beyond through Sept. 3, 2018. The first-ever Pixar Fest features a new fireworks spectacular, “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” the return of two favorite parades with fresh elements, “Paint the Night” and “Pixar Play Parade,” plus even more Pixar characters, new décor, atmosphere entertainment, themed food and beverage and merchandise.