Fixing the Anaheim headache

Anaheim caused a headache, the kind of headache that splits the mind in two; the gamble of a Disneyland had paid off and people were enjoying the park. But there is also the issue of expansion, the major tourist attraction attracted a lot of businesses who were eager to make a money from Disneyland. Walt Disney did not have a perimeter around his park, something that he was keen to put right. Walt very much saw his park as something to be protected, thus the idea of having a Disney bubble. This served two purposes, it provided the ideal escapism in his perfect environment for ‘daddy’s day’. Escapism from what? Big corporations? Unlikely, Disneyland was riddled with advertisements and financial pressures; the park was, after all, a business attempting to get money to escape the wallets of guests and into the bank of Disney’s company. Secondly, it boxed Disneyland into the area of a block. There was no room to grow. Walt Disney World, therefore, was born of frustration over control of surrounding enterprises and the promise of expansion.

A map showing the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim

The company started buying land, and lots of it. Multiple holding companies were buying up small pockets of land near Orlando, Florida. Walt’s Magic Kingdom would be surrounded by acres upon acres of park land. This provided the desired effects, the park was removed from the commercialism of Anaheim and provided plenty of room for expansion. Walt Disney was a controlling man by nature, he sought to control everything within the parks and the park area. This tradition has been carried down to this day – take Disneyland Paris, everything that is within your sight-line at any one moment is controlled. Walt’s original concept for EPCOT was a tightly controlled community, not just in a visual way, but in a political one as well. Whilst EPCOT became a theme park, many of Walt’s original ideas were conserved and brought to Disneyland Paris in the form of the Val d’Europe area.

Walt-Disney-EPCOT

A framework had been laid down, a framework that Disney took international Plots of land under Disney control, telling the story of one of the world’s biggest superpowers all whilst providing a fun, safe and enjoyable location for families to enjoy their time. Walt’s dream was going global. In 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was opened in Japan. A new ownership model devised where the Walt Disney Company were not the full resort owners, rather they licensed their content to a third-party company. A model that would later be adapted and used for a park in Europe. The plans were studied, multiple locations considered but in the end, Paris was the choice made.

Next month: Why was Paris chosen? The signing of the agreement in Paris and how Euro Disney SCA was set up. 

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