Disneyland, the first Disney theme park in the world, opened on July 17, 1955. It cost $17 million to build, including the price of the land, and took one year to build. Walt Disney raised money to build Disneyland by creating a television show called Disneyland which aired on ABC. Over 515 million people have visited Disneyland since it opened and it now boasts over forty rides and other attractions. Disneyland is situated on 160 acres in Anaheim, California. Tom Sawyer Island was annexed to the state of Missouri, where the Tom Sawyer character lived, the day the park opened. As a result, this area of the park has a Missouri zip code. There are approximately 6,000 trees and 40,000 shrubs throughout Disneyland. Nearly a million annuals are planted yearly.
Famously, opening day for the park was somewhat of a disaster. Counterfeit tickets for the invitation-only event resulted in overcrowding. Many of the water fountains were not operational as a result of a plumbers’ strike. The asphalt wasn’t dry yet so high-heeled shoes sank into it. Vendors did not have enough food. Disney was forced to have a second opening day to try save some face after the terrible press following the first opening day. Disneyland has only had three unplanned closures since it’s opening: one after President Kennedy was assassinated, one due to a demonstration in 1970 and the day after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
An apartment was built for Walt Disney above the fire station on Main Street. After his death, the apartment has remained furnished though not open to the public. To honor the late Disney, a light is kept on in the apartment’s window. There are many Disney characters hidden all over the park that guests can spot if they look carefully. The comedian Steve Martin once held a job at the Mad Hatter Shop in Disneyland. The nighttime water and fireworks show, Fantasmic, costs $30,000 to produce. The first tubular steel roller coaster in the world opened at Disneyland in 1959 and first monorail to operate daily in the Western Hemisphere also opened at the park 1959. The drawbridge at Cinderella’s Castle is fully functional but has only been opened twice. When the moat surrounding the castle is dredged, any money found is donated to charity. If you pop a balloon at Disneyland all you have to do is pick up the pieces and bring them to any balloon vendor and it will be replaced for free.
Disneyland guests consume more than 4 million hamburgers, 3 million servings of French fries and over 1 million gallons of soda every year. Park visitors create more than thirty tons of trash daily, however Disneyland also recycles more than 4 million pounds of recyclable material each year. Disneyland has a contract with Coca-Cola so that only Coca-Cola products are sold at Disney parks. The products are given to Disney for free so Disney makes one hundred percent profit on their sale. You cannot purchase chewing gum inside the park and alcohol can only be purchased in the park at an exclusive, private club.