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Disneyland Fun Facts & Firsts - And There Are A Lot of Firsts!

Updated: Dec 2, 2017


Disneyland Park


Upon its opening on July 17, 1955, Disneyland presented a new idea in family enjoyment and also launched today’s amusement park industry. Disneyland opened with 18 major attractions including the Mad Tea Party, the Jungle Cruise, Autopia and also the Mark Twain Riverboat, and also showcased five themed lands: Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and also Main Street, U.S.A.



Read about the history of Disney California Adventure.


Today, Disneyland is an evolving 85-acre American icon loved by millions featuring greater than 60 rides, attractions and shows, as well as destinations in 8 themed lands, having added New Orleans Square in 1966, Critter Country (initially Bear County) in 1972 as well as Mickey's Toontown in 1993.


Building on the future, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a Star Wars themed land located in a far away galactic outpost began construction in 2016.


Family favorites still delight including Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, "it's a small world," and Indiana Jones Adventure. For the more adventurous there’s Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the king of splash, Splash Mountain.


A wide variety of entertainment and stage shows are presented throughout the park. But it’s when night descends across the park that Disney pulls out all the stops with beautiful nighttime lighting, twinkling trees and fireworks spectaculars.


California Adventure


Opening in the summer of 2001, California Adventure has gone through many changes. However, rides like California Screamin’, Grizzly River Run, Mickey’s Fun Wheel have remained virtually unchanged.


With the addition of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street in 2012, California Adventures rides and attractions have swelled to 35.


The stage adaptation of “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” musical opened in 2016 delighting guests young and old with elaborate costumes, sets and eye-popping special effects.


Summer 2017 guests join Rocket to take part in a crazy-cosmic adventure at Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Rocket convinces you, and the rest of your unsuspecting group, to follow him on a rollicking, rock-n-roll scheme to break out his pals, aka The Guardians, from the clutches of the evil Collector in a hold-on-to-your-seat rescue mission that somehow doesn’t go quite as planned.


Disney California Adventure has grown from its original three themed lands – Golden State, Paradise Pier and Hollywood Pictures Backlot – to a total of eight lands including the 12-acre Cars Land, Buena Vista Street, “a bug’s land”, a renamed Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak featuring the newly reimagined Grizzly Peak Airfield and the exciting new attraction Soarin’ Around the World, as well as Pacific Wharf and Paradise Pier.


Among the newer attractions in Disney California Adventure are Toy Story Mania!, a interactive, ride-through attraction where guests enter into a 4D carnival midway hosted by the “Toy Story” characters; “World of Color,” an award-winning, nighttime water spectacular featuring nearly 1,200 fountains that bring Disney animation to life on massive screens of water; and The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a “dark ride” that transports guests “under the sea” to experience scenes and beloved songs from the Little Mermaid film.


The opening of Cars Land in 2012 added Radiator Springs Racers, a high-octane adventure that pits you against another car for a high-speed road race through the mountains and canyons of Ornament Valley. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters round out the Cars Land ride line-up.


Buena Vista Street offers guests a unique look at the Carthay Circle Restaurant, an exact replica of the Carthay Circle Theater where, on January 13, 1938 Walt Disney Productions premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs forever changing the future of Animation and the Disney empire.


Disneyland Resort Facts & Firsts

  • With 29,000 cast members, the Disneyland Resort is the largest single-site employer in Orange County.

  • The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959, and it set the standard for modern-day roller-coaster design.

  • Disneyland created the first daily operating monorail in the western hemisphere.

  • The nighttime water spectacular “World of Color” uses a submersible platform that’s bigger than a football field, with more than 18,000 points of control and revolutionary lighting that infuses nearly 1,200 fountains with color — making it one of the largest show systems ever built.

  • More than 800 species of plants, native to 40 countries, grow at the Disneyland Resort.

  • The Disneyland Resort custodial team helps to recycle more than 32 tons of material each day.

  • The landscape surrounding the Jungle Cruise has evolved into its own ecosystem since the attraction opened in 1955. The trees have created a canopy that allows species of ground plants to grow that otherwise wouldn’t in Southern California.

  • Through the years, a virtual “Who’s Who” of the 20th and early 21st centuries has visited the Disneyland Resort, including U.S. presidents (dating to Harry S. Truman), numerous heads of state and countless athletes, artists, authors and celebrities.

  • The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are the only AAA Four Diamond Hotels in Anaheim.

  • Disney California Adventure opened in 2001. It celebrated the completion of a five-year expansion in June, 2012, with eight themed lands, including Cars Land.

  • Buena Vista Street, the entry into Disney California Adventure, invites guests to step into Los Angeles of the 1920s and ‘30s, where they experience the sights and sounds Walt Disney may have discovered when he stepped off the train in California in 1923.

  • At nearly 300,000 square feet and 125 feet tall at its peak, The Ornament Valley Mountain Range in Cars Land is the largest rock structure in any domestic Disney theme park.

  • More than 40 different languages are spoken among Disneyland Resort cast members.

  • The Disneyland Resort costuming cast members maintain more than 1,200 different costumes for use in the parks and hotels.

  • More than 50 certified scuba divers work on the resort Facilities team, which maintains attractions such as “World of Color” and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.


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Disneyland Resort 2020

While the Disneyland Resort remains temporarily closed, read all about "What's Coming" once the Happiest Place on Earth reopens in SoCal Magazine's Special Issue.