Seventy-five fascinating facts about Disneyland and Walt Disney World, from the name of the first paying guest to the number of Mickey-shaped pretzels consumed
- Walt Disney opened Disneyland in California, the original Disney theme park, on July 17, 1955
- He revealed his plans for Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in 1965. It now employs 75,000 people
- Walt said: ‘Disneyland will never be completed… as long as there is imagination left in the world’
They’re the happiest places on earth, where the magic happens and dreams come true.
And what’s more, Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida are heaven for fact fans, as we highlight here, with a bumper list of fascinating insights into the parks’ renowned attractions and shows.
DISNEYLAND RESORT – CALIFORNIA
Disneyland in California was designed to be a ‘source of joy and inspiration to all the world’
When Walt Disney opened Disneyland in California, the original Disney theme park, on July 17, 1955, he said he hoped it would be ‘a source of joy and inspiration to all the world’. He famously observed: ‘Disneyland will never be completed… as long as there is imagination left in the world.’
With more than 32,000 cast members, the Disneyland Resort is the largest single-site employer in Orange.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959.
Through the years, a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of the 20th and early 21st centuries has visited the Disneyland Resort, including presidents (dating to Harry S. Truman), numerous heads of state and countless athletes, artists, authors and celebrities.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds, pictured, was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959.
More than 30 different languages are spoken among Disneyland Resort cast members.
More than 50 certified scuba divers work on the resort facilities team, which maintains attractions such as ‘World of Color’ and Finding Nemo Submarine.
More than 3,000 species of plants, native to 40 countries, grow at the Disneyland.
The Mark Twain Riverboat’s maiden voyage was on July 13, 1955, for a celebration of Walt and Lillian’s 30th wedding anniversary.
The Mark Twain Riverboat’s maiden voyage was on July 13, 1955, and is one of the few attractions you can eat on
The Mark Twain is one of the few attractions where food and beverage are encouraged on board, so guests can bring their favorite beverage and enjoy the 12-minute, relaxing voyage.
DISNEYLAND RESORT – WORLD OF COLOR
The man-made Paradise Bay lagoon is 3.5 acres with 15 million gallons of water.
The ‘stage’ for ‘World of Color’ is a platform composed of nearly one full acre of engineered superstructure, longer than a football field and capable of settling on three levels – one for the performance, one under the water surface and one for maintenance.
The show features nearly 1,200 powerful and programmable fountains, and a vast underwater grid with more than 18,000 points of control. Each fountain has multiple points of control for lighting, color intensity, water angle, height and more.
The World of Color show features nearly 1,200 powerful and programmable fountains
The fountains in ‘World of Color’ can send water to heights ranging from 30 feet to 200 feet.
World of Color employs 28 high-definition projectors (14 of them submersible).
The Emmy Award-winning Wonderful World of Color (1961-1969) was Walt Disney’s first color television series, an extension of his previous ‘Disneyland’ and ‘Walt Disney Presents’ anthology series.
Approximately one in four brides ride in Cinderella’s horse-drawn Coach. Pictured is bride Alexis Preston of Katy, Texas, at Magic Kingdom Park
There are approximately 300 weddings at the Disneyland Resort each year.
A past bride had each of Disney’s Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs carry the train of her dress down the aisle.
Approximately one in four brides ride in Cinderella’s horse-drawn Coach.
The most popular spot to pop the question – Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The most popular wedding theme: Cinderella.
FOOD AT DISNEYLAND RESORT IN CALIFORNIA
Disneyland employs nearly 200 restaurant and catering managers and more than 7,000 food and beverage cast members overall
With more than 150 food and beverage locations, the Disneyland Resort offers more than 8,500 different food items.
The resort employs nearly 200 restaurant and catering managers and more than 7,000 food and beverage cast members overall.
Disneyland Resort guests consume approximately 350,000 apples each year. If those were stacked on top of each other, it would reach 17 miles into the sky, or be the height equivalent of 1,146 Sleeping Beauty Castles.
If the 3.8million churros that are consumed each year at the Disneyland Resort were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 954 miles. That’s enough churros to line the Disneyland Resort monorail track 382 times.
Disneyland Resort guests consume 860,000 Mickey-shaped pretzels annually. That’s enough each year to serve at least 29 pretzels to all 29,000 cast members at the Disneyland Resort.
If the 2.6million hot dogs that are served each year were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 242 miles or be the length of 11,208 Millennium Falcons.
More than 300,000 pounds of bananas are consumed at the Disneyland Resort each year, which is approximately 130,000 individual bananas for Baloo from The Jungle Book to enjoy.
STAR WARS GALAXY’S EDGE
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge marks the first time a full-size, 100 per cent complete Millennium Falcon has ever been built
The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions (at Disneyland and Walt Disney World) span more than 14 acres, making these the largest single-themed lands in Disney Parks’ history.
When guests enter the hangar bay of a Star Destroyer as part of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, 50 First Order Stormtroopers are waiting to greet them.
There are three entrances into the new land at Disneyland Park, and two at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Otherwise, the lands are nearly identical.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge marks the first time a full-size, 100 per cent complete Millennium Falcon has ever been built. Docked in the Black Spire Outpost Spaceport, it measures more than 100 feet long.
The chess-type game played on the table in the Millennium Falcon main hold and lounge is called Dejarik. Guests can sit at the table inside Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and the game is available for purchase in the Toydarian Toymaker marketplace stall.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance occupies one of the largest show buildings for a single attraction in Disney history.
The chess-type game played on the table in the Millennium Falcon main hold and lounge is called Dejarik. Guests can sit at the table inside Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Actors from the current Star Wars film trilogy reprise their roles for unique scenes and dialogue in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, including Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux).
Some scenes for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance were produced at the same time as the current Star Wars film trilogy, so Disney was able to leverage the production talent and resources from the feature films. One notable example is a motion-base set used to capture actor Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron flying his X-wing starfighter.
Among the ancient-looking spires across the lands, the tallest is more than 130 feet high.
There are more than 120,000 possible combinations for constructing a lightsaber using all the available pieces in Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers.
There are nearly 280,000 possible combinations for constructing an R-series or BB-series astromech droid using all the available pieces in the Droid Depot.
At Black Spire Outpost, the droid in charge of music at the local watering hole, Oga’s Cantina, is DJ R-3X, the former Starspeeder 3000 pilot from Star Tours.
The first guests arrive at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland on the opening day – January 17, 2020
For the soundtrack inside Oga’s Cantina, Walt Disney Imagineering commissioned musicians and composers from around the world to craft original music for a galactic playlist.
Academy Award-winning composer John Williams created an all-new suite of themes written especially for the lands and their attractions.
Approximately 6,700 construction workers and artisans were employed during the development of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The lands were created with more than 200,000 square feet of rockwork and approximately 260,000 square feet of themed plaster in each location.
To operate the land, 1,600 new jobs were created for Disneyland Resort.
WALT DISNEY WORLD – ANIMAL KINGDOM
Animal Kingdom features more than four million trees, plants, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and grasses
In preparation for creating Disney’s 500-acre Animal Kingdom, a core team of seven Walt Disney Imagineers, led by Creative Portfolio Executive Joe Rohde, crisscrossed the globe in search of the essential look of life in the wild. The team traveled more than 500,000 miles… a distance equal to circling the globe 20 times.
More than four million trees, plants, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, grasses and ground-coverings from every continent on Earth — except Antarctica — were planted.
The Tree of Life is topped with more than 103,000 transparent, five-shades-of-green leaves that actually blow in the wind.
The Tree of Life is topped with more than 103,000 transparent, five-shades-of-green leaves
Ten artists and three Imagineers worked full-time for 18 months to create the 325 animal carvings on The Tree of Life. Sculptors had between six and 10 hours to create the finished image before the plaster hardened.
Walt Disney’s love of animals began when he was four years old and his family moved from his Chicago birthplace to a 45-acre farm in Marceline, Missouri. There he helped take care of farm animals, and learned to draw pictures of his animal friends.
When creating Expedition Everest, Disney Imagineers went to great lengths to create an attraction rich in storytelling, authenticity and detail – even traveling to Nepal to research the region’s architecture and culture. Expedition Everest, towering at nearly 200 feet high and occupying a 6.2-acre site, takes guests on a race through the Himalayan mountains on a speeding train. It is one of 18 mountain attractions created by Walt Disney Imagineering at Disney theme parks worldwide.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened in 1998, is home to one of the leading zoo hospitals in North America, with an emphasis on advanced imaging, digital radiology, ultrasound and endoscopy. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of only two animal hospitals in U.S. zoos with computed tomography (CT) scanners on the premises. This has increased the team’s ability to quickly diagnose and treat animals at the hospital.
Nearly 40 Guam kingfisher chicks have hatched at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, significantly raising the world population of these birds. Currently, there are 145 of these birds in the world.
Expedition Everest, towering at nearly 200 feet high and occupying a 6.2-acre site, takes guests on a race through the Himalayan mountains on a speeding train
Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed more than $70 million to 600 non-profit organizations working with communities to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world.
The rutted road on Kilimanjaro Safaris is part of the landscape design. The Walt Disney Imagineering design team matched concrete with the surrounding soil, then rolled tires through it, and tossed stones, dirt and twigs into it to create an appropriately bumpy experience duplicating a remote African road.
TOY STORY LAND AT DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS – WALT DISNEY WORLD
Toy Story Land shrinks guests to the size of a toy and features an amazing Slinky Dog coaster
Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios gives guests the sensation of shrinking to the size of a toy as they explore Andy’s backyard – there are more than 400 toy blocks in total.
Andy’s ‘footprint’ is about 25 feet long or the equivalent of a size 240 shoe.
The weight of the Slinky Dog Dash track and support columns weighs almost as much as 125,000 gallons of milk.
DISNEY FESTIVAL OF FANTASY PARADE – WALT DISNEY WORLD
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade continues a long tradition of classic parades in the Magic Kingdom dating back to opening day more than 45 years ago.
The Parade features a cast of more than 100.
Disney characters from more than a dozen classic stories are represented among nine parade floats.
Mickey’s Airship finale float is the tallest float topping out at 32 feet.
Disney characters from more than a dozen classic stories are represented in the Festival of Fantasy parade
Elaborate costumes were crafted by 10 different costume houses, in eight cities, in two countries — including Creative Costuming facilities in both Florida and California.
Some pieces, including the Seashell Girl (The Little Mermaid unit) headpiece, were digitally sculpted and then grown to size with a 3D printer.
It takes 30 yards of fabric to make one Seashell Girl costume.
Cha Cha Girl (finale unit) – her wig was designed with 148 yards of horsehair in four colors, that is then rolled, pressed and curled by hand.
WALT DISNEY WORLD ACCOMMODATION
In the Epcot area you’ll find Disney’s Pop Century Resort, pictured, which has 2,880 room’ time capsules’ that pay homage to 20th-century pop culture
There are 41 on-property hotel resorts at Walt Disney World, with 31 of those operated by Disney.
Total number of guestrooms at Walt Disney World Resort – more than 30,000.
In the Epcot area you’ll find Disney’s Pop Century Resort, which has 2,880 room’ time capsules’ that pay homage to 20th-century pop culture. Larger-than-life icons from each decade are found all over the resort, from four-story Rubik’s Cubes to bowling pins that tower more than 65 feet high.
In the Animal Kingdom Area, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a six-story resort styled in a horseshoe shape after a kraal African village design. It features 24-hour views to its 46-acre savanna of free-roaming mammals and tropical birds.
SHARING THE MAGIC
Walt Disney World is the largest single-site employer in the United States, employing more than 75,000 Cast Members in Central Florida, in more than 3,000 different job classifications with a total 2018 annual payroll of over $2.7billion.
Walt Disney World Resort is the largest single taxpayer in Central Florida, contributing $702.7million in total state and local taxes paid and collected for 2018.
Walt Disney unveils his plans for Disneyland on national TV in 1954
A rare color image of the opening day taken outside the main entrance of Disneyland on July 17, 1955
Walt Disney selected Central Florida near Orlando for Walt Disney World Resort. The project was shrouded in secrecy until Disney unveiled his plans in fall 1965 (pictured)
Walt Disney unveiled his plans for Disneyland to a national television audience during the premiere of ‘Disneyland’ the television show on October 27, 1954.
The first paying guest was a 22-year-old student called Dave MacPherson who queued up at 2am for the opening day for the public, according to Chris Strodder’s The Disneyland Book of Lists.
In 1955, an adult ticket cost a mere $1, with additional charges for attractions. Even with the extra costs, the average spend was $2.37.
Walt Disney selected Central Florida near Orlando for Walt Disney World Resort. The project was shrouded in secrecy until Disney unveiled his plans in fall 1965
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