While the idea that would eventually become DISNEYLAND had been bouncing around in Walt Disney’s mind for several years, the company that would eventually build and operate the park wouldn’t officially come to life until 1951.
DISNEYLAND, Inc. would be incorporated in 1951and wasn’t part of Walt Disney Productions. Roy Disney and the Walt Disney Productions board of directors were against what they determined to be a wreckless endeavor that would doubtless take the company down. While Walt’s earlier idea of a “Mickey Mouse Park” was deemed to be palatable to those involved, when it grew into a massive full scale theme park unlike any ever seen, it became a non-starter at Walt Disney Productions.
Undeterred, Walt Disney pushed forward and setup DISNEYLAND, Inc as a separate company to continue pursuing his idea of building a theme park. This angered the board of directors at Walt Disney Productions who insisted that they owned the Walt Disney name and insisted that Roy send his brother a cease and desist letter about this so-called ‘DISNEYLAND’. When Roy pursued this possible roadblock for the future Magic Kingdom, he stumbled upon a surprising bit of news. Walt Disney Productions, the company, had never actually signed an agreement with Walt Disney, the man, to use his name. So the company had no legal recourse to stop Mr. Disney. But Mr. Disney had legal recourse to stop the company from using his name.
So Roy Disney had to figure out a way to lock down his brother’s name for the company and the way he did it was to give his brother what he wanted most of all- a Magic Kingdom.