It’s hard to find a person who had never heard of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck . Walt Disney changed the way people perceived animated films and revolutionized the entertainment industry. Those characters have since become an inseparable part of every kid’s childhood and has captured their imagination like no one else.
The idea of setting up an amusement park dedicated to the Disney characters was conceived by Walt Disney while visiting Griffith Park with his two daughters. Disneyland was initially started as “Mickey Mouse Park” , but the area was not sufficient to contain the project that Walt Disney had envisioned. It came into existence in its present location at Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955. Since then it has remained one of the top tourist attractions in USA. The park is divided into themed areas with the original layout having five distinct “lands”:
- Main Street, USA
Along with the five original lands, three more were subsequently added. They are New Orleans Square, Critter Country( formerly known as Bear Country) and Mickey’s Toontown. There was another land called Holidayland, but it was closed down in 1961.
A visit to Disneyland is akin to witnessing a theatrical performance. The visitors are referred to as guests, the staff members are termed as cast members. The area accessible to guests are called “on stage” and the areas off limits to the visitors are called “backstage”. The cast members are also expected to follow the “script”, a strict code of conduct. The designers of Disneyland are termed “Imagineers”, and are responsible for maintaining, designing and planning every detail of the attractions.
A lot of effort are put in to provide the magical experience of Disneyland. The chief aim of the imagineers is to make the guests suspend reality, and they go to great lengths to achieve that. All the cast members, including the CEO are expected to pick up any garbage they see. They are required to project a positive image and energy. Throughout the park are hidden easter eggs, which the visitors generally tend to overlook and there are hidden references to Mickey Mouse scattered throughout Disneyland.
Disneyland has a rail road encircling the entire park which consists of five steam-engined locomotives in addition to three passenger trains and a passenger carrying freight train. Disneyland also has a dedicated monorail service with a 4km track.
One of the chief attractions of Disneyland is the “Sleeping Beauty Castle”. Apart from that there are several parades that celebrate the Disney characters. As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, “Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams” had assembled one of the largest casts of Disney characters. The Disneyland Band plays the role of the town band of Main Street. The park also hosts magnificent firework shows, the latest being ” Remember… Dreams Come True”. There is also an exhibit that showcases the fifty years of Disneyland’s existence.
Visiting Disneyland is like being lost in a world of magic and fantasy. It gives children the chance to realize their dreams and adults, the chance to become children once again. Disneyland is not just an amusement theme park, but a magical experience that lasts a lifetime.