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Monday, December 23, 2013

The Origins of Katella Avenue

Legend has it that Anaheim's Katella Avenue, which lies south of the DISNEYLAND Resort, had its name chosen by Walt Disney himself. Walt, according to the legend, named the street after his daughters- Kate and Ella.

A nice anecdote, but Walt's two daughters were named Diane and Sharon. Plus, the street providing the current southernmost boundary of the DISNEYLAND Resort got its name long before Walt Disney even knew about a city named Anaheim. In fact, the name even predates his birth.

The street is actually named after two sisters- Kate and Ella Rea. Kate and Ella's parents owned much of the land that would eventually be turned into DISNEYLAND. In fact, their father most likely planted the walnut trees that still separate the Jungle Cruise from Main Street. The road south of the family farm was probably given its name by their father. When the City of Anaheim started growing, they naturally kept the name, since most people were already using it.

While Kate and Ella were still alive to see Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom spring up on their family's farm, their family had long since sold the land off and they were not the ones who sold it to Walt Disney. Many people urged Walt to get the street renamed "DISNEYLAND Road", but he refused. He liked the name 'Katella' and felt that such a historically named street should not be renamed. (Besides, as many people may remember, the main parking entrance was on Harbor Blvd. The Katella gate was only used during peak times.) So whenever you drive down Katella Avenue, think about Kate and Ella Rea.