Holidayland

 Source: The Disney Blog 

June 1957 – September 1961

BACKGROUND

From the beginning, Walt and his Imagineers knew Disneyland would grow. They envisioned a resort, rather than a single park, much like we have today. So within two years of the park’s opening, Disneyland debuted an adjacent “land” outside of the park gates: Holidayland. This open outdoor space would serve as a relaxed counterpart to the cramped park, perfect for families in need of an afternoon break from attractions.

Holidayland Source: Walt’s Apartment

THE EXPERIENCE

Visitors to Holidayland had a variety of activities to choose from. Families played horseshoes, baseball, volleyball, and badminton, and children also had access to several play structures. A huge circus tent housed food and, most notably, alcohol (unavailable inside the park). When guests were ready to head back into Disneyland, they used a Holidayland gate, bypassing lines for external crowds.

 Source: Wes Clark

CHARACTERS

  • none

RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS

  • open play areas, fields for baseball & courts for volleyball

DINING

  • Circus tent concessions

 Source: Cloud Front

CLOSURE

Holidayland didn’t close for one particular reason; it was a gradual culmination of problems that just became unfixable over time. These included:

  • Not enough bathrooms for the land, which had a 7,000 guest capacity
  • Light crowds during the week
  • Severe lack of shade aside from the circus tent
  • No nighttime lighting inside the grounds
  • Light theming/décor compared to Disneyland

After a few years, it became clear that Disneyland was underutilizing the massive space. Once plans for New Orleans Square started development in the 1960s, Holidayland closed to make way for Disneyland’s growing interior.

 Source: Daveland Web

TRIVIA

Originally, Holidayland was supposed to be a town park inside Disneyland, located where the Matterhorn stands now. But ideas for new attractions and shows quickly used up any free space, so the park moved outside of Disneyland’s border.

The 9 acre lot for Holidayland eventually became part of Disneyland’s backstage, housing the show buildings for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion along with other facilities.

 Source: Matterhorn 1959

2 comments on Holidayland

  1. John
    July 7, 2017 at 5:05 am (2 weeks ago)

    Hi Duchess. Thanks for another interesting piece on early Disneyland history. I had always noticed an outside-the-park area called Holidayland on my own old hand-drawn Disneyland wall map but never knew much about it. In your aerial view photo I can see how surprisingly extensive it was. Also, by zooming into the photo over in Tomorrowland, I think I can just barely make out Hobbyland, another long-lost area you wrote about awhile back, and one I dimly remember from my first visit long ago.

    Reply
    • Duchess of Disneyland
      July 7, 2017 at 7:51 am (2 weeks ago)

      Thank you so much, John! Given how large Holidayland was, I am very surprised it’s not talked about more. And I think you’re right, that does look like Hobbyland!

      Reply

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