DIS Dads - All About Disneyland

ospopo5

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Disneyland. I have to say we were there a couple of February's ago for work. It was my first time visiting Disneyland after having been to WDW a dozen or more times. My wife and 5 month old daughter were staying with me. My group was staying at the Paradise Pier. It's a nice hotel but I was lucky since we needed overflow rooms to select the Grand Californian. It was a SPECTACULAR resort in every sense of the word. It surely was Disney in the look, feel and atmosphere. I have not been to the Wilderness Lodge but I assume it has similar characteristics.

i'll be honest and my wife can confirm, I wasn't a big fan, AT FIRST. I dont know if it was the fact that it was so compact compared to what I was used to at WDW. It didnt have that same secluded feeling that you get when you are in Florida. I mean you can see the other hotels and McDonalds, etc right out your window.

However as the days passed I became more and more in love with the Land. I dont know what it was, maybe it was the magic of seeming my daughter fall completely in love with vacationing at 5 months old? The fact that you could walk right out your door and into the park was awesome! Maybe that's why we bought DVC at Bay Lake tower? to try to get to that feeling.

For those who have not been to DL before and have only experienced WDW, go with an open mind! I am have a feeling that with Aulani now more folks will be stopping over there and it will become a new favorite for many.

I just hope that I can stay at the Grand Califronian again! I was able to stay there for work and only paid $95 a night which is dirt cheap but being right there will give you that Disney feeling for sure!

I cant wait to get back there soon!
 

afwdwfan

DIS Dad #460
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
THANK YOU STOPHER!

I love the information on Disneyland. I only hope to make it out there for a first hand experience sometime. And the sooner the better!
 

scott2997

DIS Dad #543 Northern Ohio
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Chris,

Just curious if you know why Walt chose to build Sleeping Beauty's Castle for Disneyland?
 
  • Cinderella's Fella

    DIS Dad #215 Maryland, The Land Of Merry!
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2008
    Obviously!

    No - just makes me wonder with Snow White and Cinderella both were produced before Sleeping Beauty
    It might have been to promote his next movie Sleeping Beauty, which was released in 1959, but had been in production since 1951.
     
  • Cinderella's Fella

    DIS Dad #215 Maryland, The Land Of Merry!
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2008
    I found this on IMDB. "To help promote the film, the imagineers working on the new Disneyland project modeled the castle on the one in the film."
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    WOW! Amazing thread, Stopher. Just an incredible amount of info you've packed in there, and the pictures are spectacular. I can't wait to see this park someday. I'll have to bookmark this thread.
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    It didnt have that same secluded feeling that you get when you are in Florida. I mean you can see the other hotels and McDonalds, etc right out your window.
    And this is exactly the primary regret Walt had about not being able to buy more land when they were looking to build Disneyland. Why he and Roy and their team of incognito experts were so set on purchasing as much land as possible for Walt Disney World before the press found out who was buying it all up. Walt didn't want people to feel like they were in the regular world, but rather a special place when inside the park. A big reason why the berm was built around the park, and trees planted around the edge of the berm - and a huge reason why Walt wanted the Magic Kingdom place waaaaaaaaaay up at the northern corner of the WDW property. Back when WDW was being laid out and designed, the primary entrance was the one way down south near on World Drive at 192 - that way the guests would have to drive for miles into a secluded environment, building the anticipation levels. Not possible in Anaheim, but clearly possible near Orlando.
     
  • RodBelding

    DIS Dad #589
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2010
    Christopher, this is a really cool thread, thanks for taking all the time and effort to put it together! I haven't been to DL yet, but do really want to get out there. Even more so after reading your first few posts here...:goodvibes
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Christopher, this is a really cool thread, thanks for taking all the time and effort to put it together! I haven't been to DL yet, but do really want to get out there. Even more so after reading your first few posts here...:goodvibes
    Thanks... I keep adding more. I hope sometime you will find the time to get out there. It really is a magical place, not to diminish WDW in any way (I can't wait to get back down to WDW in just over a week!)
     

    IamTrike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2010
    Stopher thanks so much for posting all this information. Trying to plan a trip to Disneyland in December. Money is tight, but I can use FF miles to cover everything but the Park tickets and food Having all this information in one place has been really invaluable.
     

    DisDadDoc

    <font color=red>DDC #403<br><font color=royalblue>
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2011
    Christopher,

    Wow. This is a real treasure trove of info and pics. Thank you for putting this together! I look forward to spending many a non-productive hour exploring it!
     

    theduck619

    DIS Dad #188
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2007
    Hey guys! I figured I would start this one... since I am the one who constantly loves to bring the ORIGINAL Disney Destination back into the mix... since I grew up about 30 minutes from the park; spent about 3 years in service to the Mouse as both a front line and back of house Cast Member; have been an Annual Passholder for more than 19 years; and have personally visited the park more than 2,000 times (including the time I worked there)... I kind of figured I would be the one to get this particular thread going. Got questions about Walt's park... the only one he ever stepped foot in; ate in, slept in... fire away. I'll be more than happy to address them - and of course - post pictures from time to time.

    As Walt Disney said on July 17, 1955 when dedicating his brand-new theme park, what's come to be known as the "granddaddy of them all"...

    "To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past; and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts which have created America; with the hope that it will be a source of joy, and inspiration to all the world."​
    Walt Disney's dedication speech, inscribed on a plaque in Town Square, Main Street, USA
    As Walt said, I say... WELCOME!





    Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have a number of things in common, including various attractions and experiences... but of course there are a great deal of differences between the two resorts as well. Many of those differences are quite obvious from first glance, while others are less obvious, even much more subtle. Since this board is very much Walt Disney World centric/focused, this entire thread is dedicated to the many differences and what truly makes DISNEYLAND stand out as a Disney destination that any true Disney-fan should get to visit at least once in his lifetime. A Disney "pilgrimmage" if you will. I hope that as you read through this thread and the various things that are presented, you'll get a better understanding of "the place that started it all" - and hopefully even start planning your own Disneyland getaway!





    But what IS Disneyland? Some of the DIS Dads are of the generation that perhaps saw Disneyland's opening on television - from far across the country in some other state and only dreamed of being able to go there some day. Others were born after the park opened and Disneyland was already a part of the nation's consciousness. Still others were born after Disneyland's sister park, the Magic Kingdom in Florida opened in 1971. Some, like me, grew up on the western half of the country and visited Disneyland in their youth, while others have never set foot in the park, let alone the state of California...perhaps never even going west beyond the Mississippi River. To some of these Dads it might be a place that they remember fondly from the years of Sunday night television when Walt Disney would host "The Wonderful World of Disney" (or one of the other such iterations of that program) and shared segments from time to time about the park. To many others of these Dads, Disneyland just represents another Disney park, possibly on their bucket list, possibly not. Most are much more familiar with the magical place they know from frist-hand experience in the central part of Florida. But Disneyland is so much more. Disneyland is the "Happiest Place on Earth" (truly, it had that tag officially long before the sister park on the east coast started using that catchphrase), and it truly is "Where the Magic Began." If it weren't for Disneyland, there never would have been a Walt Disney World, nor any of the off-shore parks found in Japan, France, Hong Kong... and coming in 2013 or 14 - Shanghai.

    Disneyland began as a dream - a dream of a DAD, wishing for a place that he could have fun WITH his daughters, instead of just sitting on a bench WATCHING them have fun on the merry-go-round. A family park, where parents and children could have fun together. So what IS Disneyland? I like this description, found inside the first few pages of a commemorative book sold back in 1985, DISNEYLAND: THE FIRST THIRTY YEARS ( copyright Walt Disney Productions, MCMLXXXV) - this next section are not my words, but the book's words - but I think they describe Disneyland perfectly... and have been so much a part of why I love Disneyland as much as I do since I first read them back in 1985 when I first bought the book. For me, it just encapsulates so well what I think and feel of that magical place in Anaheim, California... and remember that this was written 26 years ago, so the time and visitor counts mentioned are much, much higher in 2011 than they were in 1985...

    "What is Disneyland? For almost a third of a century, more than 240 million guests from nearly every nation have visited Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom to find out for themselves. But Disneyland offers no definitive answer, because no two people leave the Magic Kingdom with exactly the same memories, experiences or impressions.

    Disneyland is a kaleidoscope of unique entertainment forms. It represents the intangibles of the mind, yet exhibits a logical, physical world. Within its thematic realms are medieval castles and rocket ships, horse-drawn streetcars and streamlined monorail trains, jungle elephants and elephants that fly, a snow-capped mountain and a "space" mountain.

    Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. brings to life the spirit of America at the turn of the 20th Century, while Tomorrowland looks ahead to the turn of the 21st. America's heritage is found in rugged Frontierland and Bear Country, and in the grace and charm of New Orleans Square. The sleeping dreams of childhood are awakened within the courtyard of Fantasyland's fairtytale castle. Within the dense tropical jungles of Adventureland, dreams of far-off, exotic places come to life.

    Disneyland is the innocence of youth and the wisdom of age. A child examines the hitching posts that line an 1890 street and asks, "Mommy, what kind of parking meters are these?" An elderly gentleman on the same street smiles happily and tells a bystander what he likes best about Disneyland - "I can jaywalk here"! A young man aboard a "Mississippi" sternwheeler on a moonlit night seeks an introduction to a girl by asking, "Is this your first trip abroad?"

    Disneyland is a place where people forget their everyday cares and immerse themselves in lands of fantasy and adventure, yesterday and tomorrow. You find the magic of Disneyland in the soft pastel lighting on Sleeping Beauty Castle as evening approaches, in the dancing eyes of a grandfather wearing an orange-billed Donald Duck hat, and in a child kissing Mickey Mouse while Dad fumbles with the camera.

    Disneyland is the emotion that wells up within you when the Mark Twain sternwheeler churs 'round the bend, twinkling with pin lights from stern to stern, while nearby a Dixieland band blasts out "When the Saints Go Marching In". It is the pride you feel when the band renders the "Star Spangled Banner" at the Main Street Retreat Ceremony each evening, as a flock of white doves encircles Town Square.

    But to describe the real meaning of Disneyland is to unfold its story from the very beginning - from the time when it was merely a twinkle in the eye of its creator, Walt Disney, "Showman of the World."... "​


    Disneyland was Walt's dream. It was the next logical step in quality storytelling for the creative genius that he was. It was an opportunity to create something that could be that "family park" where parents and children could have fun together - but do so in such a unique and artistic way that really could envelope those family members in the stories and environments that Walt felt the park should have. He turned to his own team of artists to help bring the magic to life. His filmmakers really are the ones who helped create the environments and atmospheres that you see in Disneyland (and later on at Walt Disney World and the other Disney theme parks around the globe). The entire design for Disneyland was simply a form of storytelling. The audience of a movie simply sat and enjoyed the picture in front of them - but at Disneyland, the audience became participants "in" the action playing out all around them.

    From the very first steps inside the turnstiles, the guest is transported inside this living, 3D "film" playing out before them. The red concrete between the turnstiles and the Mickey floral planter in front of them, leading to the left or right and the tunnels going under the railroad tracks are the "lobby" of this theatre. The tunnels are the entrance portals into the story playing out within the "theatre" that is the park itself. Once inside, the enjoyment truly begins as the stories begin to unfold all around the guests. An earthen berm was built around the park, to shield it from the intrusions of the outside world. The original design of the park included five "scenes" or magical lands to explore and enjoy...

    • Scene One unfolds all around the guests through the wonders of turn-of the-century Americana known as MAIN STREET, U.S.A... American at a crossroads, where the gas lamp is being replaced by electric lamps, and the horseless carriages are overtaking the horse-drawn carriages.
    • Scene Two, based on the then-popular "True-Life Adventure" films of the 1940's and '50's took guests into an exoctic locale known as ADVENTURELAND, celebrating the remote jungles of Africa and Asia.
    • Scene Three recreated the pioneering days of Davy Crockett and the great American frontier - FRONTIERLAND. Walt was extremely proud of, and enamored by those men and women of vision and courage to move across the great central plains of America to help settle the west, he once wrote, "Here you can return to frontier America, from the Revolutionary War era to the final taming of the great Southwest; our adventures are designed to gie you the feeling of having lived, even for a short while, during our country's pioneer days." In the early days of Frontierland guests could ride in a stage coach, or take a ride on pack mules just as those early settlers might have done.
    • Scene Four brought Walt's beloved animated characters to life in a charming array of storybook based attractions in FANTASYLAND. Stepping across the drawbridge and in to Sleeping Beauty Castle and the castle's courtyard, guests are tranported into a charming world where elephants can fly, Peter Pan flys once again to Neverland, the Mad Hatter hosts a dizzying tea party and many other charming fairytales come to life.
    • Scene Five was an opportunity for guests to imagine what the future might hold as America was just beginning to experience the technical marvels of the "Space Age" in TOMORROWLAND. As Walt said, "Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future." (That future, as imagined for opening day was then then-distant 1986... certainly a lot has come and gone since then!)
    Each land was designed to fully immerse the guests within that particular theme. Movie-making tricks that had been around for decades were employed to set the scenes and get the story moving. Architecture and aesthetics were key. Attention to detail critical. All done to enhance the show, and give the guests an incredible experience like none they'd ever experienced before. As Walt Disney said, "I don't want the public to see the world they live in while they're in Disneyland. I want them to feel they're in another world."

    Disneyland was Walt's proving ground - proving to the world that he he DID know what he was doing and wasn't crazy as many in the months leading up to Disneyland's construction and grand opening thought he was... specifically for what he DID NOT want to include in his park's design... carnival games, roller coasters, ferris wheels, a tunnel of love and on and on. Rather Walt wanted a world filled with fantasy and wonder, a place that would transport its' guests to our nation's rustic past, or blast them into the future... a place built very much like a movie set that would immerse the guests right into the action of the story playing out all around them. As many of the bankers said in those days, dreams don't sell. But that July of 1955 certainly proved his scoffers wrong... so very wrong, that by the end of that very first September more than a million people had flocked to see "Walt's Folly." Disneyland had instantly become a smashing success. And it was only about 10 short years later that Walt was dreaming up a way to build on the success of his initial Magic Kingdom.

















    Walt saw very early on with Disneyland that when the time came to do anything else, he would need to acquire more land. Walt and his brother Roy had been only been able to purchase about 300 acres in then-rural Anaheim, which was the projected heart of growth for a burgeoning Southern California metroplex. He'd wished he'd been able to purchase more, but he wasn't able to do it. As a result, very soon after the park opened many entreprenuers popped up all around the perimeter of the park... motels, restaurants and other ventures which all created a kind of an atmosphere that Walt didn't want. His park was about escaping the rigors of the real world, and yet it was all encroaching around him and his magical little park. When it came time to purchase the land for the Florida project he was sure to cobble together as many acres as he could - more than 27,000 - about 47 square miles - twice the size of Manhattan, or about the size of the city of San Francisco.

    The vast expanse of land in Florida provides for long greenbelts, vast forest land hiding away various elements that visitors don't need to see. But of course that vast expanse of land also translates into long bus rides in between parks, resorts and other entertainment offerings. No so at Disneyland. Disneyland is compact - everything is closer together - and if a guest chooses to stay "on-property" in a Disneyland Resort hotel... there is no need to ever step on a bus to get between park and resort. Everything is in close proximity to each other, and just a few short moment's walk until arrival at the next destination.

    What began as a single park in 1955, DISNEYLAND, expanded into a resort destination unto itself in 2001 with the opening of the second theme park, DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE (renamed in 2010 to Disney California Adventure), as well as the DOWNTOWN DISNEY DISTRICT and the addition of the GRAND CALIFORNIAN HOTEL & SPA - thereby creating THE DISNEYLAND RESORT (DLR), which already included the DISNEYLAND HOTEL and DISNEY'S PARADISE PIER HOTEL.

    One of the things that many, many Disneyland vets say time and time again (myself included)... is that Disneyland truly is Walt's Park. Disneyland was dreamt up, imagined and shepherded by the amazing genius of the creative force behind so many of the great films and cinematic achievements of the 20th century. Even today, 56 years after it first opened, there is such a sense of Walt found throughout the park. Little details, concepts and feelings aroused because you know that Walt himself had a hand in the creation of this magical place - and could very often be found mingling with guests to experience it, just as they were. His apartment above the Fire Station on Main Street is a constant reminder that he slept in the park many nights, and just loved being there. It was a place that he designed with (by that time) his grandchildren in mind.

    Walt Disney World is a wonderful place, and I adore being there - but the vibe between the two resorts is just so very different. Disneyland was shepherded by Walt himself, but by the time the plans and blueprints for the Magic Kingdom were being created, Walt was already long gone having died in December 1966. The Magic Kingdom was designed by committee, not having that single creative guru as the final say-so on design, theming and the like and very often it can be felt. There are certainly improvements to guest traffic and flow that help on crowded days, but the real element that is missing in Florda is the Walt element. Disneyland really does just seep Walt all over, strange as that might sound.




    Just as Walt said many years ago, "Disneyland will never be completed so long as there is imagination left in the world", I plan on plussing this thread with a lot of information, photos, tidbits and the like... but it will take me a few days to get it all organized and up. Until then - think of my little "reserved" spots as construction walls that read, "Pardon our Dust as we Imagineer the Future"...
    Maybe you mentioned it and I missed it, but is there anything "inside" of Sleeping Beauty's castle like shops or a restaurant?

    Thanks for putting this on here. My kids have liked looking at the pics. I think 2014 will be the year we travel out west.
     

    stopher1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2008
    Maybe you mentioned it and I missed it, but is there anything "inside" of Sleeping Beauty's castle like shops or a restaurant?

    Thanks for putting this on here. My kids have liked looking at the pics. I think 2014 will be the year we travel out west.
    Check out post #5 for the answer to your question. :)
     

    Pjimmeyer

    1000th Happy Haunt
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2009
    Just found this and saving it to read later! Very cool!!! :goodvibes

    We typically go to both parks each year. Usually DLR in the spring and WDW in the fall/Christmas time. This year we are trying DLR for the holidays since we have never been there that late in the year before. We will be at the DLH from Nov 28 to Dec 5. Can't wait to see the hotel renovations complete as well as Little Mermaid...Star Tours2...Goofys Flight School and World of Color. :thumbsup2
     

    IamTrike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2010
    So I posted this ? in the main disdads thread but thought it might get answered better here.


    We are heading to Southern California for 7 days in December. Initially the plan was to spend 4 days at Disneyland and 3 days exploring San Diego and LA. We've been reading through a couple different travel books and are starting to question our logic. It looks like we have 3 options. Which would you pick and why? (all the options are within about $100 per person) Flights are already booked using FF miles so we can't extend the trip.

    Option 1. Keep the original plan 3 days primarily in San Diego and 4 days at Disneyland. (We might add the ZOO in this plan)

    Option 2. Buy a CitiPass. Spend 1/2 at Universal Hollywood, 1 day at the San Diego Zoo, 1 day at Sea World and 3 days at Disneyland. This would only give us a day and a half to go to the beach and explore San Diego and LA.

    Option 3. 4 Days at Disneyland 1 or 2 days at Legoland/The legoland waterpark. This again would really limit the amount of time we have to explore San Diego and LA.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     


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