July 1955

"Here is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams.
In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic,
and make-believe are reborn and fairy tales
as rewritten by talented writers come true.
Fantasyland is dedicated to the young-in-heart --
to those who believe that 'when you wish upon a star,
your dreams come true' (c)1940."
-- Walt Disney

Fantasyland, cleverly hidden behind Sleeping Beauty's castle, was one of the five Disneyland lands most important to Walt Disney himself. Even so, when the park opened, Fantasyland showed significant signs of the major budget pressure Disneyland was under. Most of the rides were housed in prefabricated army-surplus buildings of corrugated steel. Lack of funds for proper lighting gave rise to the "dark ride" concept, in which guests boarded vehicles and were taken through fairytale scenes purposefully badly lit so that it was difficult to see that the characters, trees, and buildings were all just wooden flats, cut roughly into shape with a dull jigsaw, and painted by the children of migrant workers who only earn ten cents an hour.

In 1983, Fantasyland received a significant makeover. Rides were rearranged and upgraded, all new army-surplus buildings were obtained, and most of the rats were captured and inoculated. The dark rides remain, but in their new incarnation they are much more pleasing to the eye, and the wooden flats are now carefully cut and have been painted by adult migrant workers who make minimum wage or better.

Alice in Wonderland | Casey Jr. Circus Train | Dumbo the Flying Elephant
"it's a small world" | King Arthur's Carrousel
Mad Tea Party | Matterhorn Bobsleds| Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Peter Pan's Flight | Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Skyway to Tomorrowland | Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Snow White's Scary Adventures | Storybook Land Canal Boats
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