We don’t have to guess – Walt Disney told us in his own words. He was sitting on a bench in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, watching his daughters ride the Merry-Go-Round when he had a thought. There ought to be a place where both parents and children can enjoy themselves together.
In Walt’s own words, that’s where the idea for Disneyland came from. Incredibly that original bench from Griffith Park is on display today for everyone to see – in the lobby of the Opera House.
On the left above is also one of the original carousel horses from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round that his daughters rode on. And on the right, a vintage roasted-peanut vending cart from the same era.
Did you notice how small that roasted peanut cart is compared to the outdoor Popcorn Carts in Disneyland today? See pictures of Disneyland’s popcorn carts here.
Here’s 47 seconds of Walt talking about how he came up with the idea for Disneyland.
Arrow (at left) points to Walt’s Griffith Park Bench.
But is there more to this story?
Electric Park of Kansas City
At the age of 9, Walt Disney lived in Kansas City, and his home was only 15 blocks from an amusement park called Electric Park. This would be around 1910, and Walt and his sister Ruth would occasionally visit Electric Park.
Some of the unique features of Electric Park were a train that ran around the perimeter, fireworks at night, and a detailed attention to neatness & cleanliness. Sound familiar?