Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do You Know Where Else Disneyland Could Have Been Built?

We have all heard the story of Walt sitting down at a bench (perhaps the one I am sitting on in the above pic from The Walt Disney Family Museum) in front of the carousel at Griffith Park as he watched his two daughters go round and round. He thought that there should be a place where the entire family could spend time together.
This idea became a park near The Walt Disney Studios. But the idea kept growing larger and larger until Walt decided he needed more land to build his dream.

He had the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) look for the site that would eventually become Disneyland. Walt had several criteria that must be met and the SRI put "Buzz" Price on the project.

The location would be somewhere between Pomona and Tustin. Buzz broke up that area into ten different districts and eight were eliminated because of price, already being developed, or the topographic features. The two remaining districts were the Whittier-Norwalk area and the Orange County area.

Buzz came back with 71 different locations. Most of them were quickly dropped for one reason or another until there were four locations left for consideration. Some of the reasons for those locations to be dropped included factors such as weather, smog, accessibility, and topographical features. Obviously, the location in Anaheim became the home of Disneyland. But do you know where the other three locations are?

One of these locations was the corner of Valley View and Orangethorpe in Buena Park. It is located near the 91 and the 5 freeways.
Currently home to a massive JCPenny distribution warehouse!
This building goes on and on and on! I like the accessibility to the area.

The next location is nto too far from the first and was a massive 2,218 acre site that is now pretty much the city of La Mirada. The land was known as the McNally Ranch area and yes, it is the McNally of Rand McNally.
Neff Park is the home to of the McNally Ranch. There are several buildings still here.
The foreman's house still stands here.
As does the carriage house.
And the Neff home is still here.

Further up the way is the remainder of the empty land and is the home to both a park and golf course.
The La Mirada golf course and the park next to it would have made for a beautiful theme park and resort area away from the hustle and bustle of the freeway.

Imagine what Walt could have been able to do with over 2,000 acres! This of course if Walt could have afforded all that land.
The terrain is hilly and combined with a few miles of distance from the freeway as being a deterrent to the location. At the same time, I like the distance from the freeway and especially if Walt was able to buy all this land, it would have made for a huge "Disney World" type area. Plus, the hills could have been destroyed to create a large berm for the park. But I am sure this would have added to the construction costs. But this is still my favorite out of all the three locations.

The last location was the other Orange County location!
This is the Willowick golf course in Santa Ana.
Another beautiful area but the farthest away from the freeways.
This lack of direct access to freeways was this areas fatal flaw.

Hope you enjoyed this tour of the other places that Disneyland could have been built. Look for more original articles in the future about the little known history of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure!

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking forward to this article as you were posting what you were doing. Thanks for doing the research and sharing!