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Exploring the Wonder of Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth

Image Source: Konstantin Yolshin / Shutterstock

In the ballroom of the Cherry Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida, on November 15, 1965, around 2:00 pm, a press conference was hosted by Governor Haydon Burns along with the Disney Brothers, Roy, and Walt. It was during this conference that the Governor made the exciting announcement of Walt Disney bringing forth new prospects for economic growth, happiness, and entertainment to the state of Florida. This declaration marked the commencement of the strategy for what would ultimately evolve into the globally distinguished Walt Disney World Resort. It took almost half a dozen years to construct this magical realm, though it is unfortunate that Walt Disney passed away due to lung cancer before its fruition.

The Genesis of the First Disneyland

The idea of a theme park designed for both kids and grown-ups was sparked in the mind of Walt Disney as he witnessed his daughter reveling in joy on a carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. His inspiration further burgeoned during a family outing to Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan back in 1948, which boasted steamboat excursions and a bustling Main Street. Afterward, Walt Disney corresponded with Dick Kesley, a production designer at Disney, exchanging thoughts on a theme park that would feature diverse attractions like a town hall, opera house, cinema, magic emporium, fairground area, and a railway depot. This laid down the foundational concept for the merriest place on the planet.

From its inception by Walt Disney to its materialization, it took a span of seven years for Disneyland to come to life. Originally, plans were afoot to erect it in Burbank, California, close to the Disney Studios, on an 8-acre expanse on Riverside Drive.

Nevertheless, it soon became apparent that the vision for Disney World couldn’t be accommodated on this parcel of land. Furthermore, the city of Burbank wasn’t keen on having a carnival-style ambiance nearby, leading to the rejection of the proposal by the city council in 1952. Consequently, Walt Disney redirected his focus 37 miles southward to Orange County.

Furthermore, Walt Disney sought the expertise of Harrison Price from the Stanford Research Institute to amalgamate scientific and financial insights in determining the most fitting site for Disneyland. Price proposed Anaheim, California, where Walt Disney acquired 160 acres of rural landscape teeming with walnut and citrus orchards. The construction of the inaugural Disneyland kicked off on July 16, 1954.

Price eventually became an iconic figure at Disney, assisting in pinpointing over 150 locations for subsequent Disney projects. In 1999, Variety magazine lauded Price as the “Pioneer of Entertainment Economics.”

The creation of Disneyland demanded close to $17 million, equivalent to about $151 million in today’s economy. The entire endeavor was accomplished precisely a year and a day post the commencement of construction.

Wrapping Up

Today, there exist six Disneyland resorts globally, with the grandest one situated in Florida. These six destinations sprawl across California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

Though Walt Disney wasn’t able to witness the inception of his grandest project, Disneyland in Orange Country, Florida stands as a reflection of his vision and aspirations. The Walt Disney World stands as a tribute to the life and beliefs of the influential media magnate, Walter Elias Disney.

Image Source: Konstantin Yolshin / Shutterstock

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