In the early 20th Century, Los Angeles was a bustling place. As Hollywood became the movie capital of the world, tourists flocked to the city with three main goals- to pick an orange, see the ocean and visit a movie studio. During the era of the silent film, visiting a movie studio was very much encouraged. Visitors could watch movies being filmed before their eyes, cheering on the heroes and hissing the villains. Universal Studios used to let them in for free; they just needed to buy a dozen eggs from Carl Laemmle's chicken farm.
The sound era eliminated the audiences, since silence was needed. The tourists still arrived in town but they could only stare longingly from outside the studio gates. Walt Disney received numerous letters from people who wanted to visit his studio, but as he pointed out to his staff, there wasn't anything for them to see. “You know, it’s a shame people come to Hollywood and find there’s nothing to see. Even the people who come to the Studio, what do they see? A bunch of guys bending over drawings. Wouldn’t it be nice if people could come to Hollywood and see something?"
When Mr. Disney moved his studio out to Burbank, he thought he could give the tourists something to see when they came out to California.
Walt Disney's answer at the time was to build a small park across the street from the Walt Disney Studio. The eight acre plot would become Mickey Mouse Park.
Mr. Disney imagined a small lake with a boat ride, a hometown area, a small park with statues of Disney characters all surrounded by a train. Sound familiar?
The idea of the park, however, was not well received by the City of Burbank. Additionally, Walt Disney's ideas got bigger and bigger. His small park quickly out grew the eight acres available in Burbank. He would need much more land to build what would become his Magic Kingdom....