Disneyland is a theme park in Anaheim, California. Opened in 1955, it was the first theme park opened by The Walt Disney Company and the only one designed and constructed under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Disney initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wished to visit; however, he soon felt that the proposed site was too small. After hiring the Stanford Research Institute to perform a feasibility study determining an appropriate site for his project, Disney bought a 160-acre (65 ha) site near Anaheim in 1953. The park was designed by a creative team hand-picked by Walt from internal and outside talent. They founded WED Enterprises, the precursor to today's Walt Disney Imagineering. Construction began in 1954 and the park was unveiled during a special televised press event on the ABC Television Network on July 17, 1955. Since its opening, Disneyland has undergone expansions and major renovations, including the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country in 1972, Mickey's Toontown in 1993, and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in 2019; Disney California Adventure Park also opened in 2001 at the site of Disneyland's original parking lot.
Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world, with 757 million visits since it opened (as of December 2021). In 2018, the park had approximately 18.6 million visits, making it the second most visited amusement park in the world that year, behind only Magic Kingdom, the very park it inspired. According to a 2005 Disney report, 65,700 jobs are supported by the Disneyland Resort, including about 20,000 direct Disney employees and 3,800 third-party employees (independent contractors or their employees). Disney announced "Project Stardust" in 2019, which included major structural renovations to the park to account for higher attendance numbers.
Matt Ouimet, the former president of the Disney Cruise Line, was promoted to assume leadership of the Disneyland Resort in late 2003. Shortly afterward, he selected Greg Emmer as Senior Vice President of Operations. Emmer was a long-time Disney cast member who had worked at Disneyland in his youth prior to moving to Florida and held multiple executive leadership positions at the Walt Disney World Resort. Ouimet quickly set about reversing certain trends, especially concerning cosmetic maintenance and a return to the original infrastructure maintenance schedule, in hopes of restoring Disneyland's former safety record. Similarly to Disney himself, Ouimet and Emmer could often be seen walking the park during business hours with members of their respective staff, wearing cast member name badges, standing in line for attractions, and welcoming guests' comments. In July 2006, Ouimet left The Walt Disney Company to become president of Starwood. Soon after, Ed Grier, executive managing director of Walt Disney Attractions Japan, was named president of the resort. In October 2009, Grier announced his retirement, and was replaced by George Kalogridis.
The "Happiest Homecoming on Earth" was an eighteen-month-long celebration (held through 2005 and 2006) of the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland Park, also celebrating Disneyland's milestone throughout Disney parks worldwide. In 2004, the park underwent major renovations in preparation, restoring many attractions, notably Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Attractions that had been in the park on opening day had one ride vehicle painted gold, and the park was decorated with fifty Golden Mickey Ears. The celebration started on May 5, 2005, and ended on September 30, 2006, and was followed by the "Year of a Million Dreams" celebration, lasting twenty-seven months and ending on December 31, 2008.
Beginning on January 1, 2010, Disney Parks hosted the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day volunteer program, in which Disney encouraged people to volunteer with a participating charity and receive a free Disney Day at either a Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World park. On March 9, 2010, Disney announced that it had reached its goal of one million volunteers and ended the promotion to anyone who had not yet registered and signed up for a specific volunteer situation.
In July 2015, Disneyland celebrated its 60th Diamond Celebration anniversary. Disneyland Park introduced the Paint the Night parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks show, and Sleeping Beauty Castle is decorated in diamonds with a large "60" logo. The Diamond Celebration concluded in September 2016 and the whole decoration of the anniversary was removed around Halloween 2016.
Disneyland Park, along with Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the resort hotels, closed indefinitely starting March 14, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. After nearly four months of closure, Downtown Disney reopened on July 9, 2020. The parks had been scheduled to reopen on Disneyland's 65th anniversary on July 17, 2020, but due to rising cases in California, the parks' reopening was once again postponed. It was expected to stay closed until at least December 31, 2020. In February 2021, Disneyland announced a limited-capacity ticketed event called “A Touch of Disney”, which would offer guests to shop at stores and enjoy eateries around the park from March 18 through April 19, 2021. On March 5, 2021, it was announced by the California Department of Public Health that Disneyland could reopen with capacity restrictions beginning April 1, 2021. The following week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the company is planning on officially reopening the park in late April 2021. Disneyland along with Disney California Adventure officially reopened on April 30, 2021 with limited capacity and social distancing/mask guidelines in effect. The following week, the company announced a plan titled Disneyland. Forward to expand the park with more rides, restaurants, and shops with The Anaheim City Council expected to receive the development plans for approval by 2023. On June 15, 2021, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and other theme parks in California were permitted to return to full capacity with most Covid-19 pandemic restrictions lifted per California governor Gavin Newsom's Blueprint for a Safer Economy phased re-opening. Prior to this, Disneyland was operating at reduced guest capacity since it re-opened on April 30, 2021 after 13 months of closure due to the pandemic.
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