CA and Californians Term Paper

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History of Disneyland

Walt E. Disney sat down on a bench at a small amusement park in California to watch his daughters play. While he was setting there, he noticed how tattered and filthy the small amusement park was. He also observed people's reactions to the different rides and noticed the parents of the children had nothing to do. They would be ready to go home halfway through the day, and their children were still playing and having fun.

This is where Walt started thinking about building a new type of amusement park. He wanted to create an amusement park that was clean, with safe rides, and one that had rides for and attraction for children and their parents. Eventually, this idea turned into Disneyland.

Years before he started construction on Disneyland, Walt completely created the entire theme park in his mind. He traveled the United States, and visited buildings of America's most prolific inventors and creators, such as Thomas Edison's Workshop, the Wright Brothers Bicycle shop, and even the home of Noah Webster. While visiting these places, he was contemplating and dreaming of a theme park with different land, rides, attractions, and more. These ideas eventually formed Disneyland, one of the best things to happen to California.

While trying to get entrepreneurs to invest in the theme park he wanted to create, he told them, "What this country really needs is an amusement park that families can take their children to. They've [The small amusement parks] gotten so honky tonk with a lot of questionable characters running around, and they're not too safe. They're not well kept. I want to have a place that's as clean as anything could ever be, and all the people in it [his park] are first class citizens, and treated like guests."

At first, Walt had planned to put the park on an eight-acre tract next to the Burbank studios where his employees and families could go to relax. Because of World War II, however, all of his plans were put on hold. This gave him many more years to think about his plans for the park, and it was soon clear to him that the eight acres next to the studio would not be enough. As he began to figure out more about how he was going to construct the park, he new it was going to take a lot more land, and a lot more money. He began talking to investors and entrepreneurs, but could not get anyone to bite on his idea. Because of the war, money was being used in different places, and it was hard to get people to believe in a dream. Walt once said, "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral." Walt then decided to use the television to get his idea across, with the help of ABC. He created a show called Disneyland, and eventually, this idea helped the park to become a reality of Walt and the people of America.

When they finally got their financial backing to build Disneyland, in September of 1953, Walt chose Herbert Dickens Ryman to be the master imagineer. Eventually, throughout the construction and because of his artwork, Herbert became know simply as "The Master." With the help of several other imagineer's, Walt and he began working on the blueprints. Once that was done, they decided to by a large orange grove close to a major highway in Anaheim, California, because it had the best featured to a mountain, rivers and the other various ideas Disneyland now contains.

Construction began on July 21, 1953. Unfortunately, everything did not go as well as planned during the construction. The first major problem was with the removal of all of the trees. They had marked all of the trees they wanted to save with red tape, and the ones they wanted bulldozed with green tape. No one realized that the bulldozer driver was color blind, however, and he ended up bulldozing every tree with tape. Another problem was with the sandy soil of the land. The first time they filled the Rivers of America, the water quickly disappeared back into the sand. After a lot of experimenting, they brought in clay to fix the problem. Despite all of the setbacks, progress was being made. Plants were planted all over the park, which emptied out all of the nurseries from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Walt was
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very precise about the way things were done, and if there was something that he did not like, he would to it himself. On Tom Sawyer's Island, he thought that the designers had misunderstood the idea he wanted, so he home the plans, and the next day he had it designed the way it is today.

When the real designing came around, Walt met with inevitable questions. For safety reasons, they wanted to have believable wild animals, but not real ones. He wanted to create a Mississippi paddle ship, and he wanted to create a giant castle. Therefore, they put their heads together, and came up with the five different lands. Walt planned all of the lands to every detail. Main Street, USA was located at the very front of the park He created it to look like the turn of the century, and said, "For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreated, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar to the days of grandfather's youth."

Next, he created Adventureland. He wanted it to resemble going to a tropical place far away, to give the people a feeling of traveling somewhere exotic, without actually going anywhere far away. Walt said, "To make a land that would make this dream reality, we pictured ourselves far from civilization, in the remote jungles of Asia and Africa.

The next project was Frontierland. This was made so people could relive the pioneer days of the American frontiers. To this land, Walt said that everybody should be proud of America's history, so he created the land so that people could go back and time to see what it was like to be a pioneer, and how they helped mold the way of life that is current.

Fantasyland was created with the goal to "make dreams come true" from the lyrics of "When You Wish Upon a Star." He created this land based on his popular movies. "What youngster has not dreamed of flying with Peter Pan over moonlit London, or tumbling into Alice's nonsensical Wonderland?" Walt said about this area of the park. "In Fantayland, these classic stories of everyone's youth have become realities for youngsters of all ages to participate in."

The fifth and final land he created was Tomorrowland. Walt created this land so people could see the marvels of the future. He said, "Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of the future."

Once all of these worlds where created, and the final details where worked out, it was time for their opening. It took only one year to complete the contract, and his "magic little park" turned out to be a 17,000,000 "Magic Kingdom." Walt's dream had finally come true and Disneyland was ready to open.

Opening day is a day that will never be forgotten by all the people who came to it. They only mailed six thousand invitations to the Grand Opening, but by midday, over 28,000 people had come through the gates. Most of them had counterfeit tickets, because the tickets where so easy to duplicate. On the backside of the park, a mad held a ladder against the wall and let people climb over it for five dollars, even though the tickets were only going to cost one dollar when it opened to the public.

While the people stormed through the gates, Walt stood in his apartment above the fire station on Main Street, and looked out the window. Sharon Baird, a mouseketeer, said that she was standing next to him at the window, watching the guests come in. She looked up at him, and he had his hands behind his back, and grin from ear to ear, and she could see a lump in his throat and a tear streaming down his cheek. He had seen his dream come true for the first time.

Unfortunately, the first day was actually a disaster. A fifteen-day heat wave raised the temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, due to a plumbers strike, few water fountains where operating in the hot weather. Asphalt was steaming because it had just been laid the night before, and was actually catching woman's high heel shoes when they walked across it. Even though…

Sources Used in Documents:

References /

Bob Sehlinger. The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, 1990. Hungry Minds, Inc.; ASIN: 002862615X; (September 1998)

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