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How much did Disneyland in 1955 and Disney World in 1971 change the culture of theme/amusement parks?

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It got me thinking the other day, I was at Darien Lake and it was noted that Darien Lake opened in 1954. Okay, sort of. The amusement park that it is today was not like that in 1954, but in 1981 it opened with the rides - many of which are still there. In 1954 it was more or less a camping ground for the employees of some company and morphed into what it is today as a Six Flags park. Ditto with Knott's Berry Farm or Kennywood. Officially they were parks before Disneyland, but it was a berry farm. Disneyland opens in 1955 and immediately changes the standard. Prior to that there were carnivals, fairs, etc. Nothing wrong with that, I still enjoy them, and they had rides but as Walt's wife Lillian asked him why he would want to make a theme park she said "Why, they are all so dirty!" Walt said his wouldn't be.

Ditto to WDW in 1971. Sea World opening in 1973 in Orlando (San Diego in 1964) and Busch Gardens was basically a beer tasting place in 1959 for a little while before adding rides. Universal Orlando opens in 1990. But it all starts with WDW in 1971. It changes everything.

What level of credit do we owe the culture of theme/amusement parks to Disneyland?

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Disney is what all theme parks strive to be. They created the standard.


Well-Known Member
Our trip across country in 1959 to visit California was something I will never forget. Disneyland was not just an amusement park it was, as Walt said, “something for the whole family.” During that trip we also visited Nott’s Berry Farm which just did not compare. Disneyland was the “Gold Standard.”
Up until then the only amusement parks I was familiar with were east coast one’s like Rocky Point Park in RI and Canobie Lake Park in NH. They were basically just a bunch of rides. The only one that attempted to follow the Disney model was a park called Pleasure Island In MA. But it wasn’t even close.
Later in life when I had my own family I knew exactly what prompted Walt to build Disneyland. There I was sitting on a bench watching my son ride the “kiddie” rides, dad was too big to ride with him and he was too small to go on the adult rides and to add insult to injury I had to pay $65.00 to get into the park.
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