Disneyland Park, originally called simply Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park that was created and built under the supervision of Walt Disney, who was on-site throughout its entire construction. It was the only attraction on the property when it was built; its official name was changed to Disneyland Park to identify it from the Disneyland complex that was built in the 1990s. It was the first Disney theme park, as the first of its kind.
In the 1930s and 1940s, when his daughters were visiting various amusement parks with him, Walt Disney decided to create the concept of Disneyland. To begin with, he intended to build a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wanted to visit. But after he realized that the proposed location was too small, he rethought his plans. Disney enlisted a consultant to help him determine a suitable location for his project. Once that was completed, Disney purchased a 160-acre (65-hectare) plot near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began in 1954, and the park was unveiled on ABC Television during a special event in which the network presented highlights of the park during a regularly scheduled programming block of programs.
In addition to making various expansions and renovations, including the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country (now Critter Country) in 1972, Mickey’s Toontown in 1993, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, Disneyland has also been subject to significant growth and change over the years. Disney California Adventure Park, a major new addition to the Disney theme park complex, was built on the site of Disneyland’s original parking lot.
Although Disneyland is the world’s most popular theme park, its cumulative attendance surpasses that of any other, with 726 million visits since it opened (as of December 2018). In 2018, the park received approximately 18.6 million visits, making it the second most visited amusement park in the world that year, behind only Magic Kingdom, the park that inspired it. Also, according to a March 2005 Disney report, the Disneyland Resort employs 65,700 people, with approximately 20,000 of those jobs being held by people directly employed by the company and 3,800 held by those employed by third-party providers (independent contractors or their employees). The Disney company has announced a “Project Stardust” in 2019, which will include major structural renovations to the park to account for increasing attendance numbers.