It's no surprise that Walt Disney wanted to take a huge risk by building a theme park. The man frequently did this in movies and cartoons. But still, an amusement park was quite out of the ordinary.
Most of the amuzement parks in Southern California were dirty places filled with shifty people working them. Most rides were for the kids, with little for the adults to do.
Walt took his 2 daughters out once a week to different places, and most times he took them to amuzement parks. One day, Walt was sitting on a bench eating peanuts while his daughters rode the merry-go-round. Then it hit him that there should be some sort of entertainment enterprise "in which the parents and the kids can have fun together. And that's how it all got started."
There was another aspect that helped spark the idea of Disneyland. Walt Disney's father, Elias Disney, worked on building the grounds for the World's Columbian Excahnge in Chicago. Each area in that park showcased a different "country" and this idea might have led Disney to develop each of the famous themed lands.
But there was also something else: many people were so captivated by the various Disney movies that they kept writing to Disney to visit his studio. Walt was intigued by the idea, but saw that there was no way for a studio to function properly with it full of people. So the idea sat with him for years, growing inside him as time went on. But the idea was far from dorment.
During this time, Walt toured amusement parks all over the world. He found them enjoyable, but wanted to top them and let the kids and parents have fun together.
And so began the creation of the "Mickey Mouse Park" which would lead to the most famous theme park in history...