Featured Attractions

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Bigger and Better

After the huge success of DISNEYLAND, Roy Disney finally felt like he could exhale. While he eventually took charge of finding cash to fund his kid brother's crazy dream, he wasn't fully onboard with the idea. Once he saw the cash rolling in, however, he became one of DISNEYLAND's biggest boosters. While he had a different philosophy than Walt's when it came to expansion, he did see the benefit in spending money to spruce up some of the park's rougher edges. And no edge was rougher than the Canal Boats of the World.

Having run out of cash, the park opened the attraction without any corresponding scenery. Guests traveled through barely landscaped berms with nothing to see. The park needed the capacity, however, so the attraction opened despite the lack of visuals. Roy quickly allocated funding to finish the boat ride as his brother originally dreamed it. The attraction closed at the end of DISNEYLAND's first summer.

Storybook Land began construction that Fall. This enchanted miniature kingdom would feature the homes of the fairy tale characters that Walt Disney Productions had brought to life over the years. Armed with a much larger budget this time, Walt lavished attention on the re-imagining of the ride, often clashing with his own staff. When he insisted that they craft real stained glass for the tiny houses, they protested. After all, who would notice the different between expensive stained glass and cheaper colored glass? Walt's response? "I'll notice."

The steady stream of cash coming into the park each day meant that Roy was willing to let his brother's free-spending slide. He wasn't ready to reign him in. Yet. In 1956, the greatly enhanced Storybook Land finally opened, delighting DISNEYLAND guests and becoming a classic attraction that still enchants children to this very day. The bigger statement to DISNEYLAND guests was that the park would always have something new for them, even though the park was still quite young.