||Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still colloquially known by that name, it is the only theme park to be designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. In 1998, the theme park was re-branded "Disneyland Park" to distinguish it from the larger Disneyland Resort complex.
Walt Disney came up with the concept of Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wished to visit; however, he soon realized that the proposed site was too small. After hiring a consultant to help determine an appropriate site for his project, Walt bought a 160-acre (65 ha) site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began in 1954 and the park was unveiled during a special televised press event on July 17, 1955.
Since its opening, Disneyland has undergone a number of expansions and renovations, including the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country (now Critter Country) in 1972, and Mickey's Toontown in 1993. Disney California Adventure Park was built on the site of Disneyland's original parking lot and opened in 2001.
Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world, with close to 600 million guests since it opened. In 2009, 15.9 million people visited the park, making it the second most visited park in the world that calendar year.
Walt Disney had a longtime interest in transportation, and trains in particular. Disney's passion for the "iron horse" led to him building a miniature live steam backyard railroad—the "Carolwood Pacific Railroad"—on the grounds of his Holmby Hills estate. Throughout all the iterations of Disneyland during the seventeen or so years when Disney was conceiving it, one element remained constant: a train encircling the park. The primary designer for the park transportation vehicles was Bob Gurr who gave himself the title of Director of Special Vehicle Design in 1954.