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 750 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.
The parks of the Disneyland Resort continue to 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. Construction on a future land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, began in 2016 and will open in summer 2019.
Favorite Disneyland attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, “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. Entertainment is presented throughout the park, with nighttime spectaculars including seasonal themed fireworks shows and stage shows including “Mickey and the Magical Map.”
Disney California Adventure Park – Since its opening in 2001, Disney California Adventure has been bringing adventure and fun to life with Disney storytelling magic and popular attractions including Grizzly River Run and Soarin’ Around the World. 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.
Disney California Adventure has a total of seven lands including the 12-acre Cars Land, Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak featuring the newly reimagined Grizzly Peak Airfield and the exciting attraction Soarin’ Around the World, Pacific Wharf (all formerly parts of the Golden State area), Paradise Gardens Park and the reimagined Pixar Pier.
Among the attractions in Disney California Adventure are the Incredicoaster in Pixar Pier, where guests join the Incredibles in a mad dash to catch Jack-Jack as he wreaks havoc throughout a high-speed chase; Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, a rockin’ adventure where guests join Rocket in attempt to save his friends, the Guardians, from the Collector’s Fortress; Toy Story Mania!, an interactive, ride-through attraction where guests enter into a 4D carnival midway hosted by the “Toy Story” characters; “World of Color,” an award-winning, nighttime water spectacular featuring nearly 1,200 fountains that bring Disney animation to life; and 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.
The opening of Cars Land in 2012 added Radiator Springs Racers, a high-octane indoor/outdoor adventure that revs through Radiator Springs and concludes with a high-speed race through the mountains of Ornament Valley, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, in which baby tractors swing guests through a Cars Land hoedown. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters invites guests to climb aboard miniature Italian roadsters, Luigi’s Italian cousins, as they whirl into the traditional dances of their village. Buena Vista Street offers the Red Car Trolley attraction and Carthay Circle Restaurant, one of the premiere dining locations at the Disneyland Resort.
In summer 2018 Pixar Pier opened as a new land in Disney California Adventure, featuring four whimsical neighborhoods where guests can step into beloved Disney•Pixar stories. The first neighborhood, inspired by “The Incredibles,” features the exciting new Incredicoaster, and others celebrate themes from Pixar favorites such as “Toy Story” and “Inside Out.”
Downtown Disney District –This lively, colorful, admission-free district of exciting dining, retail and entertainment 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 Disney Home, Catal Restaurant, Earl of Sandwich, Sprinkles, La Brea Bakery Café, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Tortilla Jo’s, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, WonderGround Gallery and, of course, the newly re-imaginened World of Disney store.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes opened in early 2018. The new family-friendly restaurant features a unique combination of dining, bowling and live entertainment. The innovative Splitsville Luxury Lanes features 20 bowling lanes, four dining areas (indoors and out), two billiard tables, more than 25 flat screen TVs, the ability to host both live performers and DJs, and much more.
Disne y’s G rand Californian Hotel & Spa –1600 S. Disneyland Drive, (714) 635-2300 Featuring 948 rooms and 50 Disney Vacation Club villas, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa 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 & Spa was recently refurbished, bringing new magic to the property. The 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 973 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.
Disne y’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
- With 30,000 cast members, the Disneyland Resort is 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.
- The Disneyland Resort is committed to minimizing food waste throughout its operations, avoiding more than 15,000 pounds of organic waste from landfill per 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” and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
- Each time guests board Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, they will experience one of six randomized scenarios created by Disney Imagineers, accompanied by a popular song from the ‘60s, ‘70s, or early ‘80s.
- As part of the nighttime spectacular, “Fantasmic!,” the wicked Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” transforms into the dragon, which is 45 feet tall by 28 feet wide and weighs approximately 18,000 pounds.
- From fast-casual fare to haute cuisine, the menu of dining options at the Disneyland Resort offers something for every guest. Dining experiences range from character dining such as Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast in Disney’s PCH Grill; quick service stops like Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure Park; and table service restaurants as Carnation Cafe in Disneyland Park.