Disneyland: From orange groves to Magic Kingdom


Naysayers thought moviemaker Walt Disney was crazy when he turned 160 acres of Anaheim farmland into a theme park based on his animated features. Half a century later, the Southern California cultural landmark has added a second theme park next door and spawned offspring in Florida, Paris, Tokyo and soon Hong Kong. A look at how Disneyland has changed since opening day on July 17, 1955:


Then: 1955

Admission: $1 adults, 50 cents for children 12 and under

Employees: 900 to 1,000

Opening day attendance: 28,154

Cost to build Disneyland: $17 million


Now: 2005

Admission: $53 adults, $43 for children 12 and under

Employees: 20,000

Total attendance: More than 500 million


Opening day attractions (Date in parentheses indicates year closed)



Mark Twain Riverboat

Golden Horseshoe Revue

Mule Pack (1973)

Stage Coach (1959)

Opened later in 1955:

Conestoga Wagons (1959)

Mike Fink Keel Boats (1997)



Jungle Cruise



Sleeping Beauty Castle

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Peter Pan’s Flight

Snow White’s Adventures

King Arthur Carousel

Mad Tea Party

Canal Boats of the World became Storybook Land Canal Boats in 1956.

Opened later in 1955:

Casey Jr. Circus Train

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Mickey Mouse Club Theater (1981)


Main Street, U.S.A.

Disneyland Railroad

Main Street Cinema

Horse-drawn streetcars

Horse-drawn fire wagon (1960)

Opened later in 1955:

Main Street Shooting Gallery (1962)

Horse-drawn surreys (1960)




Circarama U.S.A., 360-degree movie became Circle-Vision in 1967 (1992)

Space Station X-1 satellite simulator (1960)

Monsanto Hall of Chemistry (1966)

Opened later in 1955:

Rocket to the Moon launch simulator became Flight to the Moon and then Mission to Mars (1992)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie set (1967)

Phantom Boats (1955)

“The World Beneath Us” movie (1960)

Aluminum Hall of Fame (1960)

Color Gallery exhibit (1963)

Flight Circle model airplane demonstration (1966)


Current attractions added since 1955 (Date in parentheses indicates year opened)



Sailing Ship Columbia (1958)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster (1979)

Tom Sawyer Island play area (1956)

Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition (1957)



Indiana Jones Adventure (1995)

Enchanted Tiki Room (1963)

Tarzan’s Treehouse (replaced Swiss Family Treehouse in 1999)



(Extensively renovated in 1983)

“it’s a small world” (1966)

Alice in Wonderland (1958)

Matterhorn Bobsleds (1959)

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (1983)

Snow White musical (2004)


Main Street, U.S.A.

50th anniversary exhibit (2005)

Horseless carriage (1956)

Omnibus (1956)

Fire engine (1958)



(Remodeled in 1967 and 1998.)

Space Mountain roller coaster (reopens in July)

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters space ride (2005)

Innoventions technology exhibit (1998)

Star Tours motion simulator (1987)

“Honey I Shrunk the Audience” 3-D movie (1998)

Astro Orbitor (opened as Astro-Jets in 1956, relocated in 1967 and 1998)

Monorail (1959)


Critter Country

Splash Mountain (1989)

Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (1956)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (2003)


New Orleans Square

Haunted Mansion (1969)

Fantasmic water show (1992)

Pirates of the Caribbean (1967)


Mickey’s Toontown

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (1994)

Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse (1993)

Donald’s Boat (1993)

Gadget’s Go Coaster (1993)

Goofy’s Bounce House (1993)

Mickey’s House (1993)

Minnie’s House (1993)


Cost of 2001 expansion:

$1.4 billion


Sources: Disneyland publicity director Timothy O’Day, Yesterland, Mouse Planet Disneyland Information Guide, Pictometry, Orange County Geomatics/Land Information Systems, U.S. Geological Survey, Amusement Business. Graphics reporting by Brady MacDonald



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