Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California is one of America’s most-loved theme parks. Attractions at the park incorporate the fantasy locations and characters from the Disney films into rides, activities and events. Over 54 indoor and outdoor attractions offer varying levels of thrill for all ages. Rides original to the park when it opened in 1955 include the Disney Railroad, an 18-minute tour of the park aboard an authentic steam train, The Mad Tea Party, a spinning ride aboard giant pastel tea cups, and the Mark Twain Riverboat, a half-mile ride aboard a steam-powered 19th century-inspired river boat.
Other water rides at the park include It’s a Small World, an slow cruise to the world peace theme song of the same name, past representations of 7 continents. Splash Mountain, the log-flume ride, ranks as one of the park’s more thrilling water rides and includes a 5-story drop down a waterfall. Space Mountain and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy are two of the park’s largest indoor roller coasters. Other all-ages rides deemed ‘scary’ include Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The park is divided into differently themed areas. Visitors enter through Main Street USA, which leads directly to Fantasyland, home of Cinderella’s castle. Tomorrowland includes Space Mountain and the 1955 original ride Autopia. Mickey’s Toontown is geared towards younger children and includes Goofy’s Playhouse and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. Frontierland is home to Mark Twain’s Riverboat and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, one of the park’s thrill rides. Critter Country offers Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and Splash Mountain. New Orleans Square is home to the Haunted Mansion Holiday and Pirates of the Caribbean. Adventureland offers Tarzan’s Treehouse and the Indiana Jones Adventure, among other rides. Each section of the park also offers ample dining options as well as souvenir shops. Transportation throughout the park is provided by the Disneyland Railroad as well as a monorail system. The Main Street Vehicles, modeled after turn-of-the-century automobiles are available for one-way rides down Main Street USA.
History: Disneyland Park was opened in 1955, and is the only of the Disney theme parks to have been designed under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Disney was inspired to open a theme park after having visited numerous amusement parks with his daughters during the 1930’s and 1940’s. While watching his daughters enjoy a merry-go-round, he had the idea to plan an amusement park where parents and their children could enjoy the rides together. Originally, the park was planned as an attraction adjacent to the Disney Studios in Burbank, but the site was too small. In 1953 Disney settled on the 165-acre parcel of land in Anaheim, California. To secure funding for the park, Disney created a show called Disneyland for ABC Television, who in turn helped fund the park’s construction. Shops on Main Street USA were rented to outside vendors. By 1960, five years after the opening of the park, Disney had bought out all the outside partners, and became sole owner of the park, as well as owner of the ABC network. Disneyland Park was a pioneer in theme park operations, and is known for using theatrical terminology to reiterate that a visit to the park is similar to watching a live performance. Public areas are referred to as ‘on stage,’ staff are considered ‘cast members,’ while crowds are referred to as the ‘audience.’ Over 50,000 guests attended the park on opening day in 1955. Today, the park has over 18 million visitors per year.
Ongoing Programs and Education: In addition to the rides, visitors to the park are entertained by daily performances, parades and more. The Dapper Dans are a barbershop quartet who sing on Main Street USA every few hours throughout the day. Visitors may meet Disney characters throughout the park. The Disney Princesses meet guests at Royal Hall while others roam throughout the park. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade marches through the park each afternoon, while other seasonal parades take place during holidays. Stageshows include Storytelling at the Royal Theater, Mickey and the Magical Map at Fantasyland, and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, a Star Wars themed show at Tomorrowland. Fireworks take place every evening after dark at multiple locations throughout the park.
What’s Nearby: Visitors to Disneyland Park may also be interested in a visit next door to Disney’s California Adventure Park which brings additional Disney and Pixar characters to life through rides and attractions, or to the Downtown Disney District, a promenade just outside the Disneyland Park offering additional entertainment, dining and shopping.
1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, Phone: 714-781-4636
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