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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dineyland: One Man's Dream- From Orange Grove to Fantasyland

Land is very valuable, and has been since the dawn of time. Walt Disney knew this and when his ideas for a Mickey Mouse Park near his studio became too big for that land, he needed to scout out new land. Concept art kept getting bigger and bigger.

In 1952, walt established WED Enterprises, where his architects, designers, engineers, and artists, newly dubbed "imagineers" began designing the park.

One year later, Walt's brother, Roy, was heading to New York to pitch the idea to the bankers. To do this, he needed something to show the bankers. Without anything, a big fat "NO" was eminant. So during one wwekend in September of that year, Walt and Herb Ryman spent the entire weekend designing what was know named "Disneyland". This concept art would become famous, as it can be instantly recognizable as Disneyland, though it still was far from what we know today.

Walt hired Harrison Price, a consultant from the Stanford Research Institute, to scout out land. With Price's help, Disney bought 160 acres of Orange Groves and Walnut trees in Anaheim, California. Anaheim was a small area in Orange County and was southeast of LA. It seemed to be in a great location, without much around it.

Near the Orange Groves, constuction on Interstate 5 (then US Route 101) was starting and would be complete before Disneyland was finished. In preperation for the increase of traffic of people wanting to visit Disneyland, 2 more lanes were added.

Trees from the Orange Grove would have to be removed. However, Walt wanted as many trees as possible to stay, so he labeled them with different colored bands to represent which trees "stayed". which ones were to be "moved", and which ones would be "removed". Regretably, many trees were removed because the bulldozer operator was colorblined. Throughout construction of Disneyland, it appeared fate was against Walt. Either that or it was testing him.

Disneyland construction finally began on July 18, 1954. Just 364 days later, the park would be opening it's gates for the first time. Sounds crazy, right? And how would Walt finance the $17 million needed to build the park?

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