9 real-life locations that impressed Disneyland

Walt Disney liked to journey simply as a lot as he liked making films and constructing theme parks. His travels took him all around the world, from the snow-covered Swiss Alps to the elegant shoreline of the French Riviera.

Throughout his time on the highway, within the air and at sea, Walt drew inspiration for what would grow to be one of many world’s most well-known theme parks, Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The park opened its gates in 1955 and went on to encourage the creation of 5 extra Disney resorts in Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Listed below are 9 of the real-life locations Walt visited whereas planning and designing Disneyland you can nonetheless go to at present.

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New Orleans


Walt and his spouse Lillian made frequent visits to New Orleans way back to the Nineteen Forties, looking for treasures on the metropolis’s vintage and curio retailers. He was so taken by the Crescent Metropolis that he created a whole space at Disneyland designed to duplicate the structure and energetic environment of the French Quarter.

Eudora’s Stylish Boutique That includes Tiana’s Gourmand Secrets and techniques in New Orleans Sq. at Disneyland. DISNEY

The mayor of New Orleans was available on the dedication of Disneyland’s New Orleans Sq. in 1966 and annointed Walt an honorary citizen of New Orleans.

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At this time, New Orleans Sq. is the place you will discover the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean points of interest — and, come 2024, the all-new Tiana’s Bayou Journey trip.

Neuschwanstein citadel

View of Neuschwanstein Fortress. DEA/M.SANTINI/DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES

Whereas it was not the one inspiration for Sleeping Magnificence Fortress, which marks the doorway to Fantasyland at Disneyland, Neuschwanstein citadel within the German Alps was closely influential in its design.

Sleeping Magnificence Fortress at Disneyland Park. CHRISTIAN THOMPSON/DISNEYLAND RESORT

Walt visited Neuschwanstein throughout a household journey to Europe in 1952 and was undoubtedly taken by the citadel’s Romanesque design. Although the unique is extra austere in nature than the whimsical pink-and-blue theme park model, each are among the many hottest vacationer locations of their respective international locations.

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Throughout his tour-de-Europe, Walt additionally would have handed by means of Germany’s Black Forest area, possible gaining inspiration for the Bavarian village vibes of points of interest like Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Enchanted Want and Pinnochio’s Daring Journey in Fantasyland.

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens merry-go-round. TIVOLI GARDENS

In June of 1951, Walt and his household sailed to Europe on the Queen Mary for a virtually two-month journey that included visits to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Rome and Genoa. Whereas in Copenhagen, Walt visited Tivoli Gardens, one of many world’s oldest amusement parks.

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Walt was quoted as saying, “It was spotless and brightly coloured and priced inside the attain of everybody … The gaiety of the music, the excellence of the food and drinks, the nice and cozy courtesy of the workers — every little thing mixed for a pleasurable expertise,” based on the Walt Disney Household Museum.

The park’s cleanliness and family-friendly environment left a powerful sufficient impression on Walt that he included comparable parts into his personal park when Disneyland opened 4 years later.

Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Previous San Juan, Puerto Rico. DISCOVER PUERTO RICO

Whereas trying to find inspiration for Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean trip in New Orleans Sq., Walt flew in his very personal Gulfstream jet to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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His in-person take a look at Previous San Juan and Castillo de San Felipe Del Morro helped to form the ultimate design of the trip, which Walt initially deliberate to be a walk-through attraction. Sadly, Walt by no means noticed the ultimate product, as he died in December 1966, just a few months earlier than the trip opened in March 1967.

Youngsters’s Fairyland

Entrance of Oakland’s Fairyland amusement park. VISIT OAKLAND

Youngsters’s Fairyland is a storybook-themed amusement park in Oakland, California, that has been in operation since 1950, 5 full years earlier than Disneyland opened. Walt could have visited the park greater than as soon as, however there may be not less than one documented go to in Could of 1954, when Disneyland was below growth.

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Walt possible noticed points of interest themed to Alice and Wonderland and Peter Pan, each of which now have their very own variations at Disneyland. He was so impressed with the park that he employed the Youngsters’s Fairyland’s director and chief puppeteer onto the employees at Disneyland.

Founder’s Park

Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland. DISNEY

Founder’s Park in Anaheim, California, is positioned solely two miles from Disneyland. On the park, a big Moreton Bay fig tree has been offering shade to the realm for greater than 100 years. Additionally it is broadly believed that the tree offered a little bit of inspiration for Disneyland’s Swiss Household Treehouse (now the Tarzan Treehouse).

There is not a lot proof to show that the tree totally impressed Walt to construct the Swiss Household Treehouse, however there may be documentation that employees members who labored on the attraction, and probably Walt himself, photographed the tree and took recently-trimmed branches to form particulars of the Disneyland tree, based on Orange County historian Chris Jepsen in a narrative for Yesterland.

Griffith Park


Griffith Park in Los Angeles was probably extra influential within the creation of Disneyland than every other vacation spot on this checklist. Griffith Park is credited as being the spot the place Walt dreamt up the thought for Disneyland.

Because the story is commonly informed, Walt used to take his daughter to Griffith Park on the weekends for “Daddy’s day.” Whereas they have been going spherical and spherical on the merry-go-round and he was consuming peanuts on a park bench, he “felt there ought to be one thing constructed the place the dad and mom and the youngsters may have enjoyable collectively,” based on the Disney Parks Weblog.

At this time at Disneyland, you possibly can view one of many unique carousel horses from the Griffith Park merry-go-round and the famed park bench the place the thought for Disneyland was born; each are positioned within the foyer of the Nice Moments With Mr. Lincoln attraction.

Marceline, Missouri

Most important Avenue U.S.A. in Disneyland. CHRISTIAN THOMPSON/DISNEYLAND RESORT

Walt moved to Marceline, Missouri, in 1906 on the age of 4, and lived there till 1910, when his household moved to Kansas Metropolis, Missouri.

Walt thought-about Marceline to be his hometown and sometimes spoke of his blissful childhood reminiscences there. The look of Most important Avenue, U.S.A., nevertheless, shouldn’t be meant to replicate any specific city. Moderately, its design displays an idyllic turn-of-the-century Most important Avenue the place everybody feels at house.

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Whereas Marceline’s Most important Avenue does not look very like Disneyland’s Most important Avenue, U.S.A., the city did play a big function in Walt’s life throughout his formative childhood years and the sensation of magic and nostalgia he wished to evoke at his theme park.

The Matterhorn


Walt’s first go to to the Matterhorn within the city of Zermatt, Switzerland, got here in 1952 throughout a household trip to Europe. He fell so in love with the surroundings that he returned the next summer season and filmed the 1959 film “Third Man on the Mountain” there just a few years later.

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Whereas visiting the filming location in 1958, Walt’s fascination with the Matterhorn impressed him to construct an attraction based mostly on it: the Matterhorn Bobsleds curler coaster at Disneyland.

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The coaster model is strictly 100 instances shorter than the 14,700-foot-tall mountain peak.

Backside line

Walt’s affect may be seen at each Disney park around the globe, however Disneyland is the one park Walt lived to see by means of to fruition. As a result of it is the one park the place you possibly can “stroll in Walt’s footsteps,” it holds a particular place within the hearts of Disney followers.

Simply as particular, although, is visiting any of those inspirational locations across the globe that formed Walt’s plans for his unique park.

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