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Last revised May 28, 2001 .
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The Disneyland theme park at Anaheim in California first opened it's gates to the public on 17th July 1955 to an audience that were largely specially invited guests.

Walt's dream had been to build a theme park that could be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. The original plans had Walt's new theme park being built on an area of land opposite the companys animation studios in Burbank, but when the available area proved too small to accommodate all of Walt's ideas he hired the Stanford Research Institute to locate a new site.

The area suggested by SRI at Anaheim was originally split into small parcels of land owned by 17 different people, and in order to buy the initial 160 acres Walt had to use most of his own capital, sell his vacation home, beg loans from various companies, and borrow extensively against his own life insurance.

For weeks before opening, tantalising glimpses of the new Disneyland theme park were presented during Disney's television shows in America, and when the park opened it was an immediate success. At the opening ceremony Walt exclaimed that "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination".

One of the major limiting factors to it's continuing growth however, has been that due to its own success the cost of the surrounding land rocketed, and realising what a potential gold-mine they had owners refused to sell any further land, prefering instead to capitalise on Disney's park by erecting all kinds of hotels, fast food joints, and other assorted offerings to service the ever increasing streams of vacationers wanting to spend time at Disneyland.

Recognising the mistake of buying too small a parcel of land, and not being able to control the commercialisation of its borders Walt vowed never to make the same mistake again, this was evident when plans for Walt Disney World were finally officially announced for the 47 square miles of property Disney had managed to secretly buy in Florida.

On the opening day of Disneyworld in Anaheim there were a total of 20 attractions available, though this was quickly increased as new attractions were added to the park. Over the years, many of the original attractions have fallen by the wayside, to be replaced by newer ones, but the original statement made by Walt on the opening day, that "Disneyland will never be completed" still holds true.

In a design that was to be echoed again later in the other theme parks built by Disney, The Magic Kingdom at Disneyland is split into several discrete themed areas, all clustered around the centrally located Sleeping Beauty's Castle. As with the other Magic Kingdom styled Disney theme parks, the first area encountered by guests after they pass through the turnstiles is the Railroad station in Town Square. Leading away from Town Square, Main Street USA echos early ninteenth century American towns, and draws the eye to the enchanting Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the distance.

Just before reaching the castle, guests encounter the Central Plaza, which is the hub of the whole park, with walkways leading off to the other main areas, including Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. In turn these areas lead into the three final areas of New Orleans Square, Critter Country and Mickey's Toontown.



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