Disneyland first opened its doors on July 17, 1955. Sixty one magical years later and the Park has seen a ton of changes–and new attractions that have been an absolute delight for guests of all ages. With such a rich history, there are many things even the biggest park fans aren’t aware of. To celebrate how much we love visiting and learning about the park, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you didn’t know about Disneyland. Enjoy!
1. Walt’s original location for Disneyland was Burbank, CA.
The very first concept art for the Park was created by artist Harper Goff in 1951. The original proposal had the Park located on a 16-acre plot across the street from the Disney Studios in Burbank. Walt later realized that the plot of land couldn’t contain everything he had in mind. It wasn’t until 1953 (after a marathon 48-hours at his studio with artist Herb Ryman) that the first true visualization of what we now know as Disneyland was created.
2. Individual tickets used to be required for each attraction.
When the park opened in 1955, park guests were offered individual tickets for each attraction. Later that year, the park offered the special “Day at Disneyland” ticket book, which consisted of park admission as well as a bunch of tickets for “A”, “B”, and “C” level attractions (with “D” added in 1956). The famous “E” ticket was added in 1959, and granted access to new attractions like the Submarine Voyage, Disneyland Monorail, and Matterhorn Bobsleds. It wasn’t until 1982 that the books were retired after the Disneyland Passport (which allowed access to all of the park attractions) was introduced.
3. Walt Disney actually dreamed up the original Space Mountain concept in the mid ’60s.
But it took 12 long years for technology to catch up to and be able to accomplish his idea for the first “indoor” roller coaster. It opened in May of 1977, two years after it opened at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The first passengers to ride the attraction was NASA’s Project Mercury team of astronauts–who were the first Americans in space.
4. A famous Disney songwriting duo wrote “it’s a small world.”
Ever heard of the Sherman Brothers? You should have! They wrote the music for Disney films like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and more, in addition to the catchy Disneyland attraction tune. It’s no surprise that the team also wrote the tune for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
5. The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction was the first thrill attraction created for Disneyland.
It also happens to be the first tubular steel roller coaster ever built, the first roller coaster that allowed multiple vehicles on a track at the same time, and the first fully themed indoor/outdoor coaster. It was inspired by Walt Disney’s interest in Switzerland and the 1959 live-action film Third Man on the Mountain.
6. The Jungle Cruise debuted on opening day.
Instead of the lifelike replicas that still populate the attraction to this day, Walt originally wanted real animals. However, zoologists warned him against that decision, because the animals would likely sleep through the day. The idea behind the cruise was to recreate the surroundings of exotic rivers like Irrawaddy, the River of Burma, Mekong, the Nile, the Congo, and the Rapids of Kilimanjaro.
7. The Indiana Jones Adventure features actual props from the movies.
At the entrance of the ride is the troop transport that dragged Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In another room, you can see the old mining car from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The attraction itself is set in 1935 in the fictional Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean was originally planned as a walk-through museum.
The attraction was originally titled “Pirate Wax Museum” and was to be part of a larger complex called “Blue Bayou Mart.” Construction began in 1961, but was halted so Walt could instead focus on the New York World’s Fair (1964-1965). After his experience with the fair, Walt decided the attraction should instead be an elaborate boat attraction, complete with swashbuckling audio-animatronics pirates.
9. Like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion attraction takes guests underground.
In fact, the house is just for show. While planning the Haunted Mansion, Walt and his Imagineers realized that the building was needed to house a majority of the attraction’s sets. That’s why they decided to take advantage of the limited space by extending the ride “beyond the berm.” Guests descend underground via the stretching elevator. As they walk down the portrait corridor, they’re actually walking beneath the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad.
10. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad features authentic objects.
To transport guests back to the Gold Rush era, Disney Imagineers scouted swap meets, auctions, real ghost towns, and abandoned mines throughout the west to find genuine antique mining equipment, including the 1,200 pound cogwheel used to break down ore. Other antiques include a 10 foot tall stamp mill and a hand-powered drill press.
Don’t miss your chance to see the Disneyland® Resort Diamond Celebration dazzle before it ends on September 5.
What was your favorite fact? Let us know in the comments!