Disneyland’s Evolution Through Maps

Maps of the Happiest Place on Earth show a lovely evolution of graphic design.

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Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

The Happiest Place on Earth kicked off its 60th birthday bash last Friday with a 24-hour celebration that brought in crowds so massive that they had to stop letting people in by early afternoon. And while an especially busy day at Disneyland is nothing short of torture for many, for others, the draw was to be among the first to see the unveiling of many new features and updated attractions to the theme park.

Matterhorn Bobsleds reopened after being closed for several months and now has a new yeti with an impressively scary roar. World of Color, the popular light and water presentation at California Adventure, got its first overhaul since its unveiling in 2010, the park was decked out in festive 60th anniversary ‘Diamond Celebration‘ decorations and visitors got to be the first to see the new ‘Paint the Night Parade.’

Since its beginnings in 1955, the park has been a work in progress. Rides have come and gone, or been “re-themed,” as has happened with Swiss Family Treehouse and Submarine Voyage. Even an entire “land” was wiped off the map in 1961. To see how the park has evolved over the years, view a series of maps below and an outline of some of the major changes since 1955. Click each map to see larger.

FunMap 1958
Illustration by Sam McKim. Courtesy of Disney.

1. 1958

Disneyland first opened to the public in July of 1955. Just three years later, the park hadn’t added or gotten rid of any of its major attractions. Rides that have been at the park since day one include: Autopia, Disneyland Railroad, Jungle Cruise, King Arthur Carrousel, Mad Tea Party, Main Street Cinema, Mark Twain Riverboat, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Between 1955 and 1958 Casey Jr. Circus Train, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, Alice in Wonderland, Astro Jets, Sailing Ship Columbia and the Disneyland Viewliner and Conestoga Wagon opened.

The Phantom Boats opened in 1955 and closed in 1956.

FunMap 1962
Illustrated by Sam McKim. Courtesy of Disney.

2. 1962

By 1962, Disneyland had already given up one of its “lands” to make room for New Orleans Square. Referred to as the “lost” land of Disneyland, Holidayland had its own entrance on the west side of the park, it had a baseball field, and it was the only place in the park where visitors could buy alcohol.

But many other attractions were added including the Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds and the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Courtesy of Find Disney

3. 1976

By 1976 many iconic attractions had been added including Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, PeopleMover, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion.

Gone: Monsanto House of the future, Flying Saucers; also, in 1970 the “Aunt Jemima,” the African-American mammy figure played by a cast-member was let go, and Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House was recast as Magnolia Tree Terrace and again as River Belle Terrace as it remains today.

Carousel of Progress opened in 1967 and closed in Disneyland in 1973. It was moved to Walt Disney World in 1975.

Courtesy of Themepark Brochures

4. 1980

Added: Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Gone: Tomorrowland Stage

Courtesy of Disney.

5. 2015

Added: Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Fantasmic!, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Indiana Jones Adventure, Astro Orbitor, Tarzan’s Treehouse (retheme of Swiss Family Treehouse), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (retheme of Submarine Voyage)

Gone: PeopleMover, Jolly Trolley, America the Beautiful, Adventure through Inner Space

Listen to DnA’s segment on Disneyland at 60 below, and let us know if you miss any of the attractions that are no longer there.