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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: Dedicating the Parks

In honor of the opening of the new Shanghai Disneyland, we're taking a look at the various dedication plaques from Disney theme parks round the world.


The first dedication plaque is also the best! DISNEYLAND is the ONLY Disney theme park dedicated and planned by Walt Disney.


The second plaque is an oddity. The name of the park it was placed in is officially "Magic Kingdom". Walt Disney World is the entire property. Plus, Roy Disney decided to put his name on the plaque, something his brother didn't do at DISNEYLAND. At least the plaque mentions the resort is a "tribute" to Walt Disney and not his final dream come true. (The resort was not built according to Walt Disney's plans.)


The Epcot plaque was obviously changed, though most of the wording remained the same. The park's name was changed from EPCOT Center to just Epcot in the mid 1990's. Oddly enough, they left one reference to EPCOT Center on the plaque. This one was signed by Card Walker, who famously decided to put two competing theme park ideas together to create something called "Epcot" to quiet down complaints that there wasn't anything called Epcot in the resort.


Card Walker signed Tokyo Disneyland's plaque, the first to feature both English and a foreign language.


The next one was for Disney-MGM Studios which is now called Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is rumored that the park's name will change again- to Disney Hollywood Adventure- after its current construction projects are completed.

The plaque at Euro Disneyland also features dual languages- English and French. The park's name subsequently changed to Disneyland Paris.


In keeping with its natural, conservation theme, Disney's Animal Kingdom features an unassuming plaque seemingly carved into stone.


The plaque for Disney California Adventure was changed and moved; from a location where the Carthay Circle Restaurant stands now, to a flagpole at the park entrance.


Tokyo DisneySea brought a return to the dual language pattern offering both English and Japanese plaques.


Walt Disney Studios Paris put both French and English on the same plaque.


And finally, Hong Kong DISNEYAND featured yet another dual language plaque- English and Chinese.

The latest Disney theme park in Shanghai will most likely follow this pattern- offering English and Chinese dedications  on the same plaque. Despite larger or flashier plaques, the greatest one was the first one- dedicated by Walt Disney on July 17, 1955.