The Happiest Place on Earth and the quintessential Disney theme park.
By 1940, Walt Disney was achieving fame in the field of animation. He had released the world's first full-length animated feature to great success and Mickey Mouse was a household name. Then one day, he was taking his daughters to Griffith Park in Los Angeles. As he watched them riding on a merry-go-round, he hit upon the idea of an amusement park where children and their parents could have fun together. Years later, interest emerged in a "Mickey Mouse Park," and people wrote to him asking if they could tour his studio. Always the visionary, Walt knew this was simply too small, and the rest is history.
Opened on July 17, 1955, Disneyland Park in California was created by Walt Disney. The park was created as a place for him to bring his movies to life in a family-friendly environment. The park had a very rough opening daynote but it became successful anyways. The park celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005 with the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth." It is currently the second most visited theme park in the world, the only one ahead of it is its sister park Magic Kingdom in Florida.
In 2001, it expanded into Disneyland Resort with the opening of a second theme park: Disney California Adventure Park.note Besides the second park, the resort is home to Downtown Disney, a shopping and dining complex that was named after the one in Florida,note as well as three hotels. The first is Disneyland Hotel which opened with the park. The second hotel is Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, designed to evoke an early 1900s craftsman style of architecture. And the third hotel is Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel (previously the Emerald Hotel and later as the Pacific Hotel until Disney bought it in 1995 as a way to expand the Disneyland complex and renamed it into the Disneyland Pacific Hotel) which overlooks the (formerly) similarly titled section of California Adventure.
Disneyland ParkDisneyland Park is split into nine themed lands.
- Main Street, U.S.A.: Based on an early 20th century/late 19th century mid-America small town, particularly Walt's own hometown of Marceline, MO. It features a theater, town hall, train station, horse-drawn carriages, and many other small town oddities leading up from the square at the park entrance, up the main street, and to the Central Plaza where Sleeping Beauty Castle is located.
- Adventureland: Based on the remote jungles in Asia and Africa, this land combines the experiences of traveling into the unknown. The three big attractions here are the Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones Adventure and Tarzan's Treehouse (formerly the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which still exists in Florida). It also has the classic attraction The Enchanted Tiki Room.
- Frontierland: Based on America's frontier, the main attraction is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The land also features the Rivers of America surrounding Tom Sawyer's Island. The river features two attractions that travel on it: the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia.
- Fantasyland: Based on a medieval European village, the land is the embodiment of fairy tales, and is probably the park's most on-brand area for Disney's movies, particularly the animated films of the mid-20th Century. The most famous attractions here are Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World (which you will now have stuck in your head for the rest of the day... you're welcome), and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Sleeping Beauty Castle is the main meeting place here, and the hub of the entire park.
- Tomorrowland: Based on a general sci-fi theme, (as of 1998) the land was the embodiment of discovery and the future. The three biggest attractions are Space Mountain, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.
- New Orleans Square: Added to the park in 1966, it is based on La Belle Epoque -era New Orleans. The area was added to be the home for two of Disney's most famous attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion, as well as the nighttime show Fantasmic! and the exclusive Club 33.
- Critter Country: Replacing a part of Frontierland called the Indian Village, the land was introduced in 1972 as Bear Country; a Funny Animal take on The Other Rainforest featuring the Country Bear Jamboree show. It was later given its current name in 1988 alongside the introduction of Splash Mountain (originally based on Song of the South but soon to be rethemed around The Princess and the Frog). Its main attractions besides Splash Mountain are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (which replaced the Country Bear Jamboree) and Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes that date back to the Indian Village days.
- Mickey's Toontown: Added to the park in 1993, it is based (partially) on Toontown from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, combined with Mickey Mouse's hometown. The land is mainly for younger children and features recreations of the homes of Mickey and his friends Minnie, Donald, and Goofy. The two attractions featured here are Gadget's Go Coaster and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin; Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway is also set to open here in 2023 alongside a lengthy refurbishment of the land.
- Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge: The ninth land opened on May 31, 2019, with part of it replacing Frontierland's Big Thunder Ranch picnic area (and the rest of it a new expansion situated behind the Rivers of America). This land is based on the famous Space Opera franchise, taking place on a planet named Batuu between the movies The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. It features two attractions; Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, where guest can "pilot" the Millennium Falcon itself, and Rise of the Resistance, where guests can fight the First Order. Notably, Oga's Cantina is the only place in the park where members of the general public can consume alcohol on the premises (the only other alcohol in Disneyland is inside the highly exclusive Club 33).
Disney California Adventure Park
- Buena Vista Street: DCA's answer to Main Street, U.S.A., it is named for the location of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, though it's actually modeled after Los Angeles. Formerly named Sunshine Plaza before a remodeling. Contains the Red Car Trolley, which runs through Hollywood Land to Avengers C.A.M.P.U.S.
- Hollywood Land: Inspired by The Golden Age of Hollywood, the area resembles a studio backlot and was even originally named "Hollywood Pictures Backlot". The attractions featured here are Mickey's PhilharMagic and Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!; there are also regular stage shows at the Hyperion Theater, along with the Disney Junior Dance Party for young children.
- Grizzly Peak: A combination of two formerly separate areas, Grizzly Peak and Condor Flats (now Grizzly Peak Airfield), it is themed around California's national parks, such as Yosemite and Redwood. The titular peak originally served as the visual centerpiece of the park and was part of its former logo. The area includes the Grizzly River Run rapids ride (the only DCA opening day attraction still in permanent operation), Soarin' Around the World (periodically replaced by the original Soarin' Over California) and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail play area.
- Pacific Wharf: Designed as a tribute to the Monterey fishing industry, it is largely a dining area and includes no rides, but does feature a bakery tour and the Blue Sky Cellar, which hosts previews of upcoming attractions hosted by Imagineers.
- Pixar Pier: Originally named Paradise Pier (hence the nearby Paradise Pier Hotel) and designed to evoke a seaside amusement park, it has since been rethemed around the works of Pixar. Attractions include the Incredicoaster (formerly California Screamin'), Toy Story Midway Mania, the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Jessie's Critter Carousel, the Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly the Sun Wheel and Mickey's Fun Wheel) and a series of boardwalk games.
- Paradise Gardens Park: Across from Pixar Pier, this area has more scattershot theming. Features Goofy's Sky School, the Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin' Jellyfish, Golden Zephyr, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure and the World of Color nighttime spectacular.
- Cars Land: The first land added to the park after its opening (replacing bits of other lands, including part of the parking lot), it was initially developed as the car-themed "Carland" before it was retooled prior to launch as being centered on the Pixar film franchise; with the area themed to the town of Radiator Springs. Attractions include the Test Track-inspired Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi's Rollicking Roadsters and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.
- Avengers C.A.M.P.U.S.note : The newest area of the Disneyland Resort that opened in 2021 (replacing the former A Bug's Land), it is based on (though technically separate from) the Marvel Cinematic Universe and acts as a headquarters for the eponymous superhero team. Due to theme park rights issues with Universal Studios, the word "Marvel" cannot appear in the park. Attractions include Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! (formerly located in Hollywood Land, using the structure of a former The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror), W.E.B.note Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure and the Doctor Strange stage show "Ancient Sanctum".
Tropes relating to the resort and its attractions:
- Adjective Animal Alehouse: A sign for "The Green Dragon" can be seen in Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
- Alternate Reality Game: The Muppet Experiment was an ARG based around locating The Muppets, who were lost in 1937 California. The first part of the game was online, on a website supposedly run by Muppet Labs, and there was also a live section at Disneyland.
- The Artifact: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland is an odd choice for one of just five dark rides in Fantasyland, considering that the other four are based on Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan, all of which have remained staples of the Disney Animation Canon. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, meanwhile, is a largely unknown package of two short films that only semi-serious Disney buffs will remember.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: Guests can purchase 'MaxPass', which lets them obtain Fastpasses online instead of having to go over to the ride's kiosks. This makes it much easier to get new Fastpasses whenever another set becomes available, including while standing in line for another ride.
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The Fantasia example was translated over into "real" life in 1966 when Disneyland added the animatronic Primeval World diorama to their Disneyland Railroad attraction. In the Diorama, a T. rex is depicted fighting a Stegosaurus in the midst of a volcanic landscape.
- Emergency Broadcast: In the queue for Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue! at Disney California Adventure, a TV plays several ads for businesses in Monstropolis, along with an EBS-type test broadcast from the Child Detection Agency (CDA) whose alarm noise is a monster screaming for thirty seconds.
- Fake Band: In the summer of 1981, the Tomorrowland stage premiered the sci-fi rock band Halyx, a themed group originating from Disneyland Records who were said to be from outer space. Band members included human vocalist Lora Mumford, guitarist Bruce Gowdy and drummer Brian Lucas, along with a tall Wookiee-esque bassist his performer called a "Baharnoth", a robot keyboardist who rode across the stage in a custom cart, and an amphibian percussionist/acrobat. Bruce wrote whatever songs the band played which weren't covers of existing material. While popular with Disneyland patrons, the actual management felt the rock theming was at-odds with the family friendly nature of the park, and a planned album release with Warner Music Group fell through, making that one summer the entirety of Halyx's professional existence, ending on September 11. Defunctland produced an extensive documentary of the band here.
- Funny Photo Phrase: At Cars Land, one of the phrases Lightning McQueen might say when docked at the Cozy Cone Motel is, "Smile and say, 'McQueen'!".
- Intro Dump: Many of the live musical acts at the Disneyland Resort include a roll call as a regular part of their repertoire. For example, the (now defunct) Red Trolley Car Newsboys at Disney California Adventure sound off in the middle of their rendition of "California Here We Come".
- The Moral Substitute: Disneyland started out because Walt Disney wanted a clean, inviting place that he could take his daughters to that was completely unlike the dirty, sleazy amusement parks and carnivals of the 1950s. His approach was so successful that it became the standard in the industry; out of necessity, the other parks either had to improve their standards to entice new customers or risk going out of business.
- Namedworld and Namedland: Disneyland is a famous example, named for both the corporation and for the man who oversaw its construction.
- Souvenir Land
- The Ur-Example, since this trope is made up of simplified, copyright-compliant copies of Disneyland. Since Disneyland itself wasn't made as a parody or in reaction to Disneyland (at least at first), it isn't the Trope Maker.
- California Adventure had a lot of off-the-shelf carnival-style rides and clones of shows and rides from the Florida Disney World complex. The park would only be expanded to have a large proportion of original rides in The New '10s.