A new report details what classic amusement parks inspired Walt Disney’s creation of Disneyland.
The new details can be found in the 309-page Historic Resources Technical Report, which is a part of the 17,000-page environmental review for Disneyland’s proposed expansion known as Disneyland Forward.
While Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney’s plans to create a theme park can be traced back to the late 1930s.
“The outbreak of World War II stalled several of his projects, including the concept of a family entertainment park,” the report said.
“We had about 30 acres [to build the new studio] and began to think about the land for an amusement park,” remembered Disney. His original idea was to have something to show people who visited the Disney Studios. “Then came the war and the plans were put aside.”
Once he visited the plans to build a theme park, Disney founded the WED Enterprises development organization to help him create the Anaheim theme park in late 1952.
The organization was eventually renamed Walt Disney Imagineering in 1986. The creative team is responsible for designing Disney Parks, lands and attractions, according to the report.
These are the amusement parks Imagineers drew inspiration from during the creation of Disneyland:
- Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park
- Long Beach Pike in Long Beach
- Palisades Park in New Jersey
- Coney Island in New York
- Children’s Fairyland in Oakland
- Madurodam in the Hague, Netherlands
- Chicago Railroad Fair in Chicago
- Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan
- Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark.
- Beverly Park in Los Angeles
While Disney and the Imagineer teams visited theme parks worldwide for research purposes, some Disneyland attractions and experiences were created based on those visits.
For example, Knott’s Calico Railroad, Calico Ghost Town and Timber Mountain Log Ride inspired the Disneyland Railroad, Frontierland and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, formally known as Splash Mountain, the Orange County Register reported.