Disneyland, or its official name “Disneyland Resort,” was created and developed in the 1950’s by Walt Disney. This entertainment resort is situated in Anaheim, California and is famous worldwide. It is owned by the Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. The resort includes an entertainment complex called Downtown Disney; which features excellent dining and shopping facilities. Along with the two theme parks on site there are additionally three hotels on the property.
Disneyland officially opened up to guests on July 17, 1955. Initially, the property included a 40 hectare or 100 acre parking lot and Disneyland. The Disneyland hotel was also available, which was owned and operated by Jack Wrather, who was Walt’s business partner. With the success of the multi-hotel and multi-park business model of Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Disney decided to take on the opposite coast by purchasing large areas of land adjacent to Disneyland and develop a similar business plan in the Anaheim location.
The property was renamed Disneyland Resort during the expansion process in order to include the entire complex. Disneyland Park had been the original theme park name. The Pan Pacific Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel were purchased from their Japanese owners and the Wrather Company. The Paradise Pier Hotel was born from this acquisition. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa were additionally added to the property. Downtown Disney, with its copious dining and shopping amenities came later, along with a second theme park named Disney California Adventure Park.
The majority of the construction was finished by 2001. Preview openings of Disney’s California Adventure Park were held in January of that year. In the beginning, many reviews from American Express cardholders, annual pass holders, and Disney employees were quite negative. On February 8, 2001, this portion of the park opened to the public with great anticipation. Even though the initial attendance projections were never attained and the negative reviews impacted attendance, it was still a magical time.
In the early years, the main focus was attempting to grow attendance. During that time, Disney added Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-Play It! As well, they added the Main Street Electrical Parade and offered numerous promotions such as discounted admission; all in attempts to boost the number of visitors. In order to add some attractions for a younger crowd and address some of the previous criticism, the developers decided to add another E ticket with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and a bug’s land. Within the initial year of operation, some of the park’s earlier attractions were closed. These included: Disney’s Eureka! A California Parade, Disney’s Steps in Time and Superstar Limo.
New attractions began popping up at Disneyland Park after the opening. Some of the most well-known include: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Both of these were modeled after similar successfully named attractions at the Magic Kingdom.
The original park underwent a substantial renovation of Space Mountain, which was almost 30 years old at the time! A new train system was introduced known as the Disneyland Monorail System and the Submarine Voyage was refinished to become the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
The extremely popular exhibit known as Pirates of the Caribbean was refinished in 2007. It was redesigned to look closer to that of the film franchise. From 2005 to 2006, the Disneyland Park celebrated its 50th anniversary. This was an 18-month celebration known as “the Happiest Homecoming on Earth,” which was part of the larger “Happiest Celebration on Earth” promotion that was simultaneously going on at all Disney theme parks.
From 2006 to 2008, the “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion took over. In 2009, the resort launched their next promotion known as “What Will You Celebrate?” which began New Year’s Day 2009. This event offered free admission to visitors who were celebrating their birthday in 2009 on site. Disney maintained this marketing theme for the duration of 2010 for their USA parks; however, no longer offers free admission on a guest’s birthday.
Disney announced a 1.1 billion US expansion project for Disney’s California Adventure Park in 2007. This included construction of Disney’s World of Colour, an evening water show and the construction of a new land based on the popular Disney-Pixar film Cars. Plans were also laid out to add new attractions to existing places and re-theme certain locations.
In 2008, construction commenced. By 2010 to 2012, it was completed in various phases. Disneyland Hotel began a huge renovation in 2009 and by 2012, was completed. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel additionally completed an expansion to add Disney Vacation Club suites. By the beginning of 2010, the park was renamed Disney California Adventure.
The growth and transformation of Disneyland into the Disneyland Resort had similar effects on its sister properties in France and Japan. Initially, both of these locations were single parks. In 2001 however, Tokyo Disneyland upgraded to become Tokyo Disney Resort and Tokyo Disney Sea was added. Disneyland Park Paris, the following year, grew into Disneyland Resort Paris. This expansion saw the addition of Walt Disney Studios Paris.