Created by Kerner Optical specifically for The Walt Disney Family Museum, this 12-foot in diameter model is of “The Disneyland of Walt’s Imagination”. This model does not represent the park as it was when it first opened in 1955, nor does it represent the park in present day – this model represents the Disneyland that Walt had always envisioned. Going off from interviews, early sketches/maps, and detailed plans, all attractions in this model never existed at ONE period in time… but have all existed—separately—at some point or another!
The colorful and playful maps shown in the model below reflect Disneyland's evolution throughout the decades. First introduced in 1958, these maps were intended as visitor souvenirs, rather than for navigational purposes. Below are images of maps from 1958, 1962, and 1983, all part of the museum's permanent collection. The illustrative maps offer a bird's eyeview of the Park, and reflect how the different lands have changed over time. Other distinguishing details of the maps include varied color schemes and character appearances.
When President Harry Truman visited Disneyland in 1957, he refused to ride or be photographed near the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction because elephants symbolized the Republican Party and Truman was a democrat.
Walt's presentation of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was among the first uses of a human Audio-Animatronics ® figure.
Walt Disney originally wanted live animals for the Jungle Cruise, but was dissuaded when zoologists told him that the animals would be asleep or hidden much of the time.
Pirates of the Caribbean was originally supposed to be a walk-through attraction featuring wax pirate figures in staged settings, but was later redesigned.
The 1958 map does not show the Matterhorn, which opened in 1959. At the time of its opening, the Matterhorn was the tallest manmade structure in Orange County, at 147-feet tall.
Souvenir maps created between 1958 and 1964 are based on the original souvenir map design created by Disney artist and Imagineer Sam McKim. McKim used model sheets to create all of the characters seen in the border.
The 1983 map features a renovated Fantasyland, which was remodeled in 1983 and reflects the 1979 opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The Disneyland Hotel is absent from versions of the map produced between 1978 and 1989.