A4. Theme Parks

  Summary of contents in textbook

Theme parks, representing a key form of family-oriented travel attraction, are indispensable of contemporary tourism in America. The first theme park was Disneyland, built in Anaheim, California, in 1955.

By 1970s, numerous other theme parks emerged, with central themes and images from children’s literature, history, or exotic environments or adventure. The theme parks chain resulted in the local tourism booming.

In the theme park field, Walt Disney enterprises led the influential role, whose primary target is to meet family values by providing sophisticated design and appealing environment. In 1980s and 1990s, Disney continued to expanded the enterprises, including

  • Two major parks was in France and Japan
  • A host of new attractions in Florida
  • A major new cruise line
  • A grand Disneyland Resort in California.

The success of Disney has stimulated the local employment and economic growth.


The First Disneyland in Anaheim, California









Disneyland, Main Street









Disneyland, Frontierland








Disneyland, Mickey’s Toontown









Disneyland, Tomorrowland








Cinderella Castle, the Icon of Magic Kingdom






Spaceship Earth, the Icon of Epcot









Six Flags Theme Park




























  Supplementary readings

Disneyland changed the world and established an entertainment industry. After a few speed bumps, Walt Disney went on to create the most magical place on earth that we all love and cherish today. Before Disneyland, weekend entertainment involved visiting amusement parks and boardwalks, but Disney changed all that.

History of Disneyland: Started With a Problem, Not a Mouse

Walt Disney once said, “It was all started by a mouse,” but in reality, Disneyland started with a problem. Sitting on a bench in Griffith Park watching his daughters on the carousel, he wondered, why isn’t there some sort of amusement experience that the entire family can enjoy together? When he looked around for inspiration, he found nothing that met his standards. (Maybe he ran in to the shady gang pictured above) Meanwhile, Disney was receiving two kinds of letters from children across the country. Some wanted to meet Mickey Mouse. Others wanted to ride on Walt’s backyard train the Carolwood Pacific.

Walt Disney backyard train










In the early 1950’s, Disney came up with a revolutionary idea: to build a park that was safe and inviting for families while also allowing people to meet his cartoon characters and ride his trains. The idea for Disneyland was a completely original concept in entertainment — one that expanded the Disney brand from the silver screen to a magical in-person experience.


How Walt Disney Funded Disneyland: Magic of Television

Disney also knew that he would need help funding the development of his fantasy. Being the visionary he was, he looked to the next new frontier — television. He approached all three major networks with his proposal, but only ABC was willing to partner with him. Disney would produce a weekly family television program for ABC. In return, ABC would invest $500,000 in the creation of Disneyland and would own roughly 34% of the new enterprise. The weekly show would consist of an update on the construction of Disneyland and a short movie, all hosted by Walt Disney himself. Disney understood that the public would enjoy the show itself while also sitting through what would now be considered an hour-long commercial for Disneyland. The show went on to be known as “The Wonderful World of Color” and then “The Wonderful World of Disney.”

In addition, Disney raised money for his Magic Kingdom by convincing consumer product companies that if the public encountered their brands at Disneyland, they would associate those products with the fun they had during their visit. Some of the first companies to sponsor the park were Coca Cola, Swift, Frito-Lay, Pendleton, Gibson Greeting Cards, TWA, and Eastman Kodak. The money provided from the sponsorships were very important as the park cost more than $17.5 million to complete, almost double the original predictions. The tradition of featuring outside brands in the parks continues to this day. In fact, the uber exclusive Club 33 was originally built to court new Disneyland sponsors.

Originally, these companies owned shares in Disneyland, but once it started to turn a profit, Disney bought those shares back, until the only owners were the Disney company and ABC. Once the Disney company acquired ABC, Disney and his management team took control over the entire park. By taking control of the park, Disney created a set of standards that are still visible throughout all of the Disney theme parks today.

This painting transforms when the lights are turned off. Each light fixture on the map is painted with black light so that this painting can seamlessly illustrate both day and night at Disneyland.














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