For some, Disneyland is a magical place – a little utopia where you can suspend disbelief and immerse yourself in lavish sets and simulators. For others, it’s the stuff of nightmares: a place where people come to queue for hours on end and spend the GDP of a small nation on tickets, souvenirs and overpriced refreshments.
But whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard not to be impressed by Walt Disney’s vision for the original Disneyland park in California. An hour’s drive south of Los Angeles, it opened in 1955 and has since welcomed over 800 million visitors. Its mix of rides and themed zones with impressive sets became a cultural phenomenon – a dream holiday for kids all over the world – and paved the way for the likes of Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios in London. Disney now operates theme parks in Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai and Florida, but the original Anaheim site is the only one to have been designed under the direction of Walt Disney himself.
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