Featured Attractions

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Theme Park Thursdays: The Happiest Place on Earth Gets Bigger

"Dad's vision called for this, for DISNEYLAND, to be something that could grow more beautiful every year, and it has."

-Diane Disney Miller

The one constant at DISNEYLAND has always been change. Walt Disney knew that if he could get the place open the world would fall in love with it. His guests would allow him to build and grow his Magic Kingdom.


The map above depicts DISNEYLAND in 1960. At that point, parts of the vast parking lot were still being used for agriculture. The first big expansion occurred at #1- New Orleans Square. It began as just a section of Frontierland and became a magical place of its own, spawning Bear Country, now called Critter Country.

The second big expansion happened in two phases decades apart. Marked by #2, the first expansion occurred in 1966 when the road that's still visible in the picture was closed and it's a small world opened. The second part of the expansion occurred in 1992 when Mickey's Toontown opened.

In 1981, the non-Disney owned Emerald Hotel opened at spot #3, eventually becoming the DISNEYLAND Pacific Hotel in 1996, then the Paradise Pier Hotel in 2001.

2001 was a huge year of expansion with Disney California Adventure taking over the parking lot (#4). The admission free entertainment district Downtown Disney (#5) also opened, with the five star Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (#6) capping a year of expansion.

So where do the guests park? Most of them park their cars at the Mickey and Friends parkade, shown above at #7.

One of the biggest expansions in DISNEYLAND history is currently taking place at #8- the future Star Wars Land.

"It's something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing...and adding to."

-Walt Disney