As Walt Disney sat at a bench, at an amusement park, watching his daughters play, he noticed how ragged and filthy the small amusement park was. He also observed people’s reactions to different rides, and noticed how children’s parents had nothing to do. They would be anxious to go home, while their children were still having fun, and playing.
This is where Walt was conjuring, and planning a new type of amusement park; one that would be clean, and would have attractions for parents and children together. This was Walt Disney’s idea, which eventually turned to be Disneyland.
Walt once said:
- “What this country really needs is an amusement park that families can take their children to. They’ve gotten so honky tonk with a lot of questionable characters running around, and they’re not to safe. They’re not well kept. I want to have a place that’s as clean as anything could ever be, and all the people in it [his park] are first-class citizens, and treated like guests.”
Years before Disneyland was constructed, Walt was thinking, generating, and creating everything in his mind. He traveled the United States, and visited buildings of Americas most prolific inventors and creators, such as Thomas Edison’s Workshop, the Wright Brothers Bicycle shop, and the home of the Dictionary magnate Noah Webster. While visiting these places, he was formulating and dreaming of a “Mickey Mouse Park” with a western village, Main Street, and more, these ideas would eventually form Disneyland.
- I was standing next to him at the window, watching the guests come through the gates. When I looked up at him, he had his hands behind his back, a grin from ear to ear, and I could see a lump in his throat and a tear streaming down his cheek. He had realized his dream.
Right after Disneyland opened, Walt said: “We’re gonna kick ourselves for not buying everything within a radius of ten miles around here.” He could visualize the growth around Disneyland.
Walt would often visit Disneyland a few times a week. Although, many times he would visit late at night, when no one was there. Often times he would spend the night in his apartment in the fire station, on Main Street. When he came before the park opened, he would make sure the park was clean, and talk with the cast members.
Walt always wanted to know everything that was going on in the park. He knew about everything. He knew where water pipes were, how tall buildings were, he knew how the park ticked.
One time Walt visited the park, and noticed things were a little sloppy. He found the maintenance engineer of the park, and told him “I want this place painted”. The engineer agreed, and said “We’ll do it over the weekend.” “No, I want it finished a painted by morning,” ordered Walt. Dozens of painting crews painted through the night, and finished before the park opened.
Even though Walt Disney wasn’t able to see how his park prospered and grew into the 21st Century, his legacy still lives on with us. Throughout Disneyland and throughout the entire world, he will always be there.