Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where Did Walt Want to Build Disneyland?

Where Did Walt Want to Build Disneyland?
Original concept drawing for Disneyland Across from the Disney Studio
 On display in lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Original Map of Disneyland on display in lobby of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

          Everybody has heard the story about how Disneyland came to be built. Saturdays were Daddy's Day with the girls. Walt would look for good places to take them to have fun and spend time together. Family was important to Walt. Often he would end up at Griffith Park with the girls riding the Carrousel while Walt sat on the bench and watched.

          Walt wanted a place where families could enjoy things together. He wanted a place that reminded him of a park in Europe that was clean and welcoming. He wanted a place where he could share his love of America and allow people to feel part of his movies.

          At first Walt wanted to build the park across the street from his studio in the 2100 block of Riverside Drive in Burbank, California. This is a small strip of land between the Disney Studio and the 134 Freeway. It is also an odd shape being very thin at the corner of Buena Vista Avenue and Riverside Drive and getting wider as it gets to the next corner.
View of the back of Disney Studio
GoogleEarth view of Disney Studio and area around it.
134 Freeway is at the bottom of the map.
Buena Vista Avenue runs from top to bottom.
On the right is Disney Studio. On the left is St. Joseph Hospital where Walt died.
Riverside Drive comes off the freeway and swings up and to the right.
Close up view of the area where the park would have been built as it is today.

          Plans were drawn up and different names were thought about. The more the idea came together the clearer it became that this small strip of land was not going to be large enough to hold all the ideas Walt and his creative team had in mind. Walt looked around the Burbank area for more land but it was not to be found and the City of Burbank was not fond of the idea of Walt experimenting with an amusement park they thought would fail in their city. Walt looked elsewhere and finally came upon the orange groves in Anaheim, Orange County, Ca.

          So what is on this piece of property that was originally thought of for Disneyland today? The land still belongs to Disney and today there are two amazing buildings there housing two of Disney's big departments. There is the Roy O. Disney Animation Building and the ABC Building. There is so much traffic between the main Disney Studio with its stages and the smaller facilities across the street Disney build a bridge over the street for staff to walk safely across.

          This facility is as beautiful and whimsical as the main entrance to the Disney Studios on Alameda. The iconic entrance to the Roy O. Disney Animation Building is through Sorcerer Mickey's Hat! Directly across the entrance pavilion is the ABC Building.

          Many amazing men have their offices in the Animation Building. One of the more interesting people, to me that has his office there today is Stan Lee of Marvel Comic Fame.

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