Disneyland is a theme park in Anaheim, California, that opened in 1955. It is the only one conceived and built directly under Walt Disney’s supervision, who came up with the idea for Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He first planned to develop a tourist attraction near to his Burbank studios to entertain admirers who came to visit; however, he soon realized that the chosen site was too small. In 1953, Disney purchased a 160-acre (65 ha) land near Anaheim after hiring the Stanford Research Institute to conduct a feasibility study to determine an ideal site for his project. The park was designed by a creative team assembled by Walt from both internal and external talent. They established WED Enterprises, the forerunner to Walt Disney Imagineering. Construction began in 1954, and the park was dedicated on July 17, 1955, during a special broadcast press event on the ABC Television Network. Disneyland has experienced numerous expansions and major restorations since its inception, including the additions of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country in 1972, Mickey’s Toontown in 1993, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019. In 2001, Disney California Adventure Park opened on the site of Disneyland’s original parking lot.
With 726 million visits since its opening, Disneyland has the highest cumulative attendance of any theme park in the world (as of December 2018). In 2018, the park saw around 18.6 million visitors, making it the world’s second most visited amusement park that year, trailing only Magic Kingdom, the attraction it inspired. According to a 2005 Disney estimate, the Disneyland Resort supports 65,700 employment, including approximately 20,000 direct Disney employees and 3,800 third-party employees (independent contractors or their employees). In 2019, Disney unveiled “Project Stardust,” which entailed extensive structural modifications to the park to accommodate increased attendance.
Disneyland Park spans over 100 acres (40 hectares) and has nine themed “lands” as well as a variety of hidden backstage locations, with the upcoming addition of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway set to open in Mickeys Toontown in 2022.
The park first opened with Main Street, United States of America, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland, and has subsequently added New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country (now known as Critter Country) in 1972, Mickey’s Toontown in 1993, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019. Holidayland first opened to the public in 1957, with a nine-acre (3.6 hectare) leisure area that included a circus and a baseball diamond, but it closed in late 1961. It is frequently referred to as Disneyland’s “lost” land. “Hidden Mickeys” are replicas of Mickey Mouse heads incorporated discretely into the design of attractions and environmental decor across the park. The 3 ft (914 mm) small gauge Disneyland Railroad that circles the park is supported by a raised berm.
Aside from the rides, Disneyland offers live entertainment around the park. The majority of the specified entertainment is only available on certain days of the week or during certain times of the year.
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