There are many characters and ideas that come to mind when you think of Disney — Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and of course Disneyland, to name a few. One of the most popular amusement parks in the world is Disneyland, and this installment of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD series, Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic, tells the story of Disneyland, from birth to present.
The main picture is the very comprehensive documentary “Happiest Place on Earth” which features interviews from collaborators and partners who originally worked with Walt Disney on making Walt’s dream of Disneyland come true and archival footage of Disneyland’s opening day on July 17, 1955 and numerous special events that took place over the park’s many decades.
One of Walt’s best qualities was surrounding himself with so many brilliant and creative people so that any idea he had would be realized because so many people worked hard to fulfill his dreams. I wish the documentary went more into detail about the initial conceptual stages of Disneyland’s creation because those years of design and construction could have given a better insight into the struggles that Walt went through. Instead, we get a gloss-over and rush into Disneyland’s opening day, which from a logistical standpoint was a disaster.
Rides broke down, drinking fountains didn’t work, many more people showed up than expected, and events didn’t take place as scheduled. But all those problems didn’t seem so bad because, as Walt said, everyone who worked at Disneyland loved working there and their enthusiasm was contagious.
The documentary’s main focus is the always changing and ever evolving Disneyland. Rides change and attractions come and go. I never knew that a Mickey Mouse Club Circus existed, or that there was a Holidayland, or even a flying saucer ride. Walt’s biggest nightmare was to go to Disneyland to find nobody there. It’s this initiative that drives the park to constantly strive to be better.
One way that the park accomplishes this is by reinventing existing attractions. Walt was said to always have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. With the monster success of the movie Pirates of the Carribean, Disneyland has now integrated elements from the Johnny Depp film into the classic attraction. Another example will be the reinvention of the classic submarine attraction with a story about Nemo from Finding Nemo.