1955 to 1996
to Today

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland in 1955, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on Anaheim, let alone the world. Anaheim, a once rural community known more for its oranges than anything else, would go from a small, sleepy town to a major tourist destination in less than a decade.

1955 - Grand opening

With the increased popularity of Disneyland, Anaheim grew up around it, featuring motels, restaurants and other tourist-facing businesses that still line the streets around the Disneyland Resort. Over time, it became clear that a cohesive vision was needed for the area to create a resort-like environment that would pave the way for the future.

In the 1990s, the City of Anaheim approved specific plans that would guide the growth of the Disneyland Resort and businesses in the newly formed Anaheim Resort area. These specific plans created districts or zones that largely specified what type of development could be built where. It also established strict guidelines regarding development size, height limits and streetscape standards.

Extensive power lines and dozens of aging signs crowd Harbor Blvd.


Uniformed and beautifully landscaped streets surround Disney Resort.


Harbor Blvd: Creating a world-class resort environment.

The results were dramatic: a second Disney theme park, Anaheim’s first luxury hotel, a Downtown Disney District, a world-class Anaheim Resort with consistent signage and landscaping, an expanded and improved Convention Center, and transformative infrastructure, including parking areas, first responder services and utilities to accommodate future tourist-serving growth, and a comprehensive regional transportation plan.

Disneyland Resort's luxury Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in the twilight.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: The first luxury hotel in Anaheim.

Photo of updated Anaheim Convention Center on a sunny day: the largest on west coast.

Anaheim Convention Center:
An expanded Convention Center.

Major transportation improvements created direct to freeway lanes.

Transportation Improvements:
Significant improvements to the entire Anaheim Resort’s circulation network, including dedicated freeway ramps moving visitors directly to parking areas.

Today at
Disneyland Resort

To this day, Disney continues to invest in the Anaheim Resort with exciting additions like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Avengers Campus, and up-and-coming Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disneyland Park. Unfortunately, under current inflexible planning restrictions, we may be unable to add new attractions and immersive experiences without removing and replacing treasured elements of today's parks.

The Millennium Falcon sits center stage at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.


Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Opened - 2019

Illustrative rendering of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway coming soon.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Opening - 2023

Avengers Campus
Opened - 2021

©Disney 2021

The story continues, find out where we are today.