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Park Spotlight: Disneyland Park-Part 1

Park Spotlight: Disneyland Park-Part 1

When was the first time you visited Disneyland Park? Why did it take you so long to make your initial visit? For me, my first trip was just days before the park’s 62nd birthday, July 12, 2017! Similar to many of you reading this, my biggest obstacle was the location of the park. As a Michigan native from a family of fearful flyers, going further West than Chicago, Illinois, was an adventure, not a vacation!

Original Fun Map of Disneyland Park

Photo credit: Ashley Hunt

But, like many of you I always dreamt of my first visit (even while I was a Walt Disney World Cast Member), even though it seemed impossible. Let’s be honest, it is kind of fun to do the impossible.


For Walt Disney, Disneyland Park was a creation he dreamed of beginning in the 1930s and 1940s when he would often visit amusement parks with his daughters. What first began as a small idea quickly became a grandiose project to create a magical, family-friendly theme park.

The biggest factors in Disneyland Park’s creation were its location and financing. Walt needed the space to create his vision and the accessibility of both Los Angeles and local freeways. In order to get the financing needed to build the park, Walt began WED Enterprises on December 16, 1952 (becoming Walt Disney Imagineering in 1986); the initial three members began designing aspects of the park. Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother, lined up meetings with banks and investors; however, Walt needed drawings as no one would invest in a vision alone. Time was of the essence. Enter: Herb Ryman. A former Disney artist with a reputation for working quickly, Herb created the initial sketch for Disneyland Park based upon Walt’s vision in just a weekend!

The drawing was just what Walt needed to begin construction, which broke ground on July 21, 1954. Just under one year later on July 12, 1955, the $17,000,000 park opened its gates to nearly 30,000 guests in attendance as well as numerous others via an ABC Television Network event.

In his speech on Opening Day, Walt dedicated the “Magic Kingdom”:

Disneyland Park Dedication

Photo credit: Ashley Hunt

“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 that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

Over the past 62 years, Disneyland Park has undergone numerous changes and updates firmly cementing it as a source of joy and inspiration for all ages just as Walt had dreamt.

In a short, 2-part blog, I will present a brief spotlight on Disneyland Park while shedding light on its attractions, dining options, special event information, character experiences, and nighttime spectaculars offerings.


As guests walk into Disneyland Park, they first encounter Main Street, U.S.A., a long corridor-style entrance taking guests to the unique hub-and-spoke park design Walt had created. With regards to Main Street, U.S.A., he had said:

“For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreates, 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.”

At the hub, Walt placed Sleeping Beauty Castle, originally meant to be “something promising” to encourage guests to continue down Main Street to the rest of the park. This tradition has continued to every Disney Park worldwide!

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Photo credit: Ashley Hunt

The lands of Disneyland Park and some of its most popular attractions include:

  • Adventureland

  • Jungle Cruise

  • Indiana JonesTM Adventure (FP)

  • Frontierland

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FP)

  • New Orleans Square

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Haunted Mansion (FP)

  • Critter Country

  • Splash Mountain (FP)

Splash Mountain

Photo credit: Ashley Hunt

  • Fantasyland

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Matterhorn Bobsleds (FP)

  • “it’s a small world”

  • Mickey’s Toontown

  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (FP)

  • Tomorrowland

  • Space Mountain (FP)

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (FP)

  • Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters (FP)

  • Galaxy’s Edge (coming in 2019)

Many of the attractions listed above have FASTPASS options (denoted with FP next to the attraction name). The FASTPASS service allows guests to place their park ticket into a FASTPASS distribution machine (near the desired attraction) for a one-hour timeslot later in the day giving guests the opportunity of getting through the attraction line in a considerably shorter amount of time (typically five to fifteen minutes or less). In addition to this service, the Disneyland Resort added in an optional supplement: Disney MaxPass.

Disney MaxPass

Beginning on July 19, 2017, guests were able to experience Disney MaxPass firsthand. The Disney MaxPass service allows guests to make Disney FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland Resort app plus get unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads for the day. The cost? Per person, per ticket, per day, guests will pay $10. Guests can purchase the Disney MaxPass at one of two times: when they purchase their ticket prior to arrival or as an add-on via the Disneyland Resort app once they enter Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park. Annual Passholders have the same option as well as the annual option for $75, which would expire when their current annual pass expires.

Up Next: Part 2

In the second part of my spotlight on Disneyland Park, I will discuss the delicious dining options, special event information, character interaction experiences, and the incredible nighttime spectaculars that you can enjoy during your visit. Walt dreamt big with Disneyland Park and took special care in everything it had to offer making the park a family-favorite for generations. Stay tuned for more!

Ashley Hunt is an Independent Agent of Fairytale Adventures Travel. She is an ex-Cast Member, Annual Passholder at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and a frequent guest of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. She specializes in couples vacations and family travel at all Disney parks worldwide, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line. Ashley can be reached at or

Enjoy what you read? Be sure to visit Ashley’s blog at for more.

#Disneyland #ParkSpotlight

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