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The Original Disneyland - Royalty Hosts Royalty


If you are planning a vacation, there's a distinct possibility that your alternatives include one or more of the Disney resorts. There are few places in this world that are better known than Disneyland and its younger siblings. There's an excellent chance that you have visited one or more of the beloved Disney theme parks that have been built around the globe. It might have been in Florida, Japan, France, or Hong Kong (and they tell us more are on the way).

But you're missing out on a piece of history if you have never visited the place where all the Disney theme park magic began. Although not the biggest or newest, Disneyland is such a unique and sentimental experience that members of royalty and dozens of other celebrities and leaders of countries have made the journey to Anaheim for over 50 years.

The Disneyland resort in Anaheim is the place where all the Disney magic began. Walt Disney had an apartment there, so he could stay late and keep an eye on everything. The Anaheim park has the unique honor of it being the only Disney park that was designed, built, opened and operated by Mr. Disney himself. He would walk the park, dreaming about new attractions and fine-tuning the existing rides.

What prominent people have been to the Disneyland park, you may ask? For starters, literally, Vice President Nixon was there to open it in 1955. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon (this time as President), President Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41) all have visited Disneyland. Japan's Emperor Hirohito, Indian Prime Minister Nehru, Jordan's King Hussein, the King of Sweden as well as the Dalai Lama have all gone there. Nikita Khruschev, the Soviet Premier, was highly upset that he was denied admission in the late 1950s.

There is a whole host of entertainers who have made one or more trips to Disneyland California. Sometimes celebrities will wear a disguise and play inside the theme park until someone recognizes them. Cast members know how to deal with special guests, offering escorted visits (with security not far behind). Some of the coolest celebrities become like regular folks when they are in Anaheim with their children enjoying a day with family.

As mentioned above, politicians, royalty, heads of state as well as celebrity entertainers all have taken advantage of the Disneyland experience, much like everyone else who has ever visited this land of magic. It is the second most-visited theme park in the world, surpassed only by the Magic Kingdom down at Walt Disney World in Florida. Let's take a brief look at some of Disneyland's attractions, just in case you've never been there.

Main Street U.S.A., based on a typical 20th century Midwestern town, is the first thing you'll see after passing through the tunnel under the park's railroad tracks. Inspired by Walt Disney's childhood in Marceline, Missouri, it will remind you of the Victorian period of American history. Most of us know that the various lands branch off of Main Street, with Sleeping Beauty's castle the focus as you walk in from the main gate and under the railroad overpass.

Walt Disney had an enduring fascination for all types of transportation. This makes itself obvious when you see the Disneyland Railroad, which visitors can take to enjoy a great tour around the perimeter of the park. This train has logged an unbelievable number of miles, around and 'round the outside of the Magic Kingdom. It is a good way to rest and cool off on a hot summer day; it also gives you an idea of where you want to explore next.

It is said that Walt wished later that he had purchased a lot more land in the orange groves of Anaheim. But the budget did not permit that and who would have guessed how successful his idea would become? But when it came time for the Florida resort, the Disney team purchased huge parcels of land under an unknown name to fool speculators and those who might want to buy land next to the new park and then sell at a premium later. The plan worked.

The Walt Disney Magic Kingdom theme parks at the world's other Disney parks generally are fairly similar to the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland in Anaheim. But this one is the king of them all, and none those others offer quite the same touches of history, not to mention Disneyland's many brushes with celebrity and royalty. It is worth a visit at least once.

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