When Walt Disney opened Disneyland, the original Disney theme park, on July 17, 1955, he said he hoped it would be “a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” He famously observed: “Disneyland will never be completed…as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Since 1955, the Disneyland Resort has welcomed more than 700 million guests. It has expanded to become an approximately 500-acre, world-class, multi-day, family vacation destination, complete with two renowned Disney theme parks, three hotels and the exciting shopping, dining and entertainment district known as Downtown Disney.
With the completion in June 2012 of the Disney California Adventure Park expansion, including Cars Land, the parks of the Disneyland Resort offer guests more classic characters, more storytelling, more attractions and more of the unique Disney heritage that gives Disney theme parks their special personality.
Disneyland Park - Upon its opening on July 17, 1955, Disneyland introduced a new concept in family entertainment and launched the theme park industry. Disneyland presented 18 major attractions on its Opening Day including the Mad Tea Party, the Jungle Cruise, Autopia and the Mark Twain Riverboat, and it featured five themed lands: Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and Main Street, U.S.A. Today, Disneyland is an evolving 85-acre American institution featuring more than 60 adventures and attractions in eight themed lands, having added New Orleans Square in 1966, Critter Country (originally Bear County) in 1972 and Mickey’s Toontown in 1993. The newest stage show, “Mickey and the Magical Map,” debuted in 2013. Favorite attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, “it’s a small world,” Indiana Jones Adventure and the mountain range of thrill rides: Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.
Disney California Adventure Park - Since its opening in 2001 with such popular attractions as Soarin’ Over California, California Screamin’ and Grizzly River Run, Disney California Adventure has been bringing adventure and fun to life with Disney storytelling magic. The extremely popular Twilight Zone™Tower of Terror attraction debuted in 2004.
With the addition of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street in 2012, the park features more than 35 adventures and attractions plus distinctive entertainment and dining. Cars Land, based on the Disney•Pixar movie “Cars,” offers three attractions: Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Buena Vista Street creates a new entry to the park, highlighted by the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge
With the completion of a multiyear expansion project in 2012, Disney California Adventure has grown from its original three themed lands – Golden State, Paradise Pier and Hollywood Pictures Backlot – to a total of eight lands including the 12-acre Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, “a bug’s land” (which opened in 2002), a renamed Hollywood Land, Condor Flats, Grizzly Peak and Pacific Wharf (all formerly parts of the Golden State area) and Paradise Pier.
The expansion of Disney California Adventure (announced in 2007) launched with the 2008 opening of Toy Story Mania!, an interactive, ride-through attraction where guests enter into a 4D carnival midway hosted by the “Toy Story” characters. In 2010, the expansion continued with the debut of “World of Color,” an award-winning, nighttime water spectacular featuring nearly 1,200 fountains that bring Disney animation to life. In 2011, Disney opened The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a “dark ride” that transports guests “under the sea” to experience scenes and beloved songs from the Little Mermaid film.
In addition, several attractions in Disney California Adventure received new Disney themes during the park’s expansion. The Paradise Pier district now features Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Silly Symphony Swings, Goofy’s Sky School and Disney-themed Games of the Boardwalk.
Downtown Disney District -This lively, colorful, admission-free district of exciting restaurants, shops and nightclubs is centrally located between the Disneyland Resort theme parks and hotels. The 20-acre, 300,000 square-foot avenue features approximately 50 distinct venues including AMC Theatres, Catal Restaurant, ESPN Zone, House of Blues, La Brea Bakery Café, Rainforest Café, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Tortilla Jo’s, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, WonderGround Gallery and, of course, the World of Disney store. The Earl of Sandwich eatery opened in fall, 2012.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa -1600 S. Disneyland Drive, (714) 635-2300
Featuring 948 rooms and 50 Disney Vacation Club villas, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel is the flagship hotel of the Disneyland Resort. The design of this AAA Four-Diamond, award-winning luxury property is inspired by the turn-of-the-century California Craftsman movement. In 2009 the hotel became home to the first Disney Vacation Club units on the West Coast. It’s also the first hotel in the United States to be built inside a Disney park (Disney California Adventure).
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel offers suites, a large convention facility, swimming pools, Mandara Spa and two restaurants: Storytellers Cafe and the award-winning Napa Rose restaurant. With approximately 35 sommeliers, including several advanced sommeliers, Napa Rose boasts the most certified wine experts under one roof anywhere in the United States.
Disneyland Hotel - 1150 West Magic Way, (714) 778-6600
Significant new enhancements at the iconic Disneyland Hotel were completed in 2012, including re-imagined guest rooms, Disney-themed suites, a new restaurant and bar – Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar – and a water play area with Monorail-inspired water slides. Other distinctive restaurants at the hotel include Goofy’s Kitchen and the award-winning Steakhouse 55. This AAA Four-Diamond hotel features 969 rooms, including specially themed Disney character suites, and one of the largest contiguous convention spaces in the Western United States with 136,000 square feet.
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel - 1717 S. Disneyland Drive, (714) 999-0990
A casually elegant 481-room hotel themed to the colorful “day at the beach” California seaside culture of fun, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel features the whimsical Disney’s PCH Grill restaurant, a pool deck with cabanas and water slide, and 30,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.
Disneyland Resort Facts & Firsts
- Opening Date: July 17, 1955
- 26,000 cast members, making the Disneyland Resort the largest single-site employer in Orange County
- The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959, and it set the standard for modern-day roller-coaster design.
- Disneyland created the first daily operating monorail in the western hemisphere.
- The nighttime water spectacular “World of Color” uses a submersible platform that’s bigger than a football field, with more than 18,000 points of control and revolutionary lighting that infuses nearly 1,200 fountains with color — making it one of the largest show systems ever built.
- More than 800 species of plants, native to 40 countries, grow at the Disneyland Resort.
- Disneyland Resort cast members help to recycle more than 31 tons of material each day.
- The landscape surrounding the Jungle Cruise has evolved into its own ecosystem since the attraction opened in 1955. The trees have created a canopy that allows species of ground plants to grow that otherwise wouldn’t in Southern California.
- Through the years, a virtual “Who’s Who” of the 20th and early 21st centuries has visited the Disneyland Resort, including U.S. presidents (dating to Harry S. Truman), numerous heads of state and countless athletes, artists, authors and celebrities.
- The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are the only AAA Four Diamond Hotels in Anaheim.
- Disney California Adventure opened in 2001. It celebrated the completion of a five-year expansion in June, 2012, with eight themed lands, including Cars Land.
- Buena Vista Street, the entry into Disney California Adventure, invites guests to step into Los Angeles of the 1920s and ’30s, where they experience the sights and sounds Walt Disney may have discovered when he stepped off the train in California in 1923.
- At nearly 300,000 square feet and 125 feet tall at its peak, The Ornament Valley Mountain Range in Cars Land is the largest rock structure in any domestic Disney theme park.
- More than 30 different languages are spoken among Disneyland Resort cast members.
- The Disneyland Resort costuming cast members maintain more than 1,200 different costumes for use in the parks and hotels.
- More than 50 certified scuba divers work on the resort Facilities team, which maintains attractions such as “World of Color,” “Fantasmic!” and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.