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DISNEYLAND

By Jerry HicksPublished: April 01, 2010

Founded: 1955 (opening year)
Headquarters: Anaheim
disneyland.disney.go.com

Former Disneyland president Jack Lindquist likes to tell the story of Walt Disney standing on the bridge leading to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – just before the 1955 opening – boasting to a group of local leaders about the beauty of the moat. One quipped, “Course, six months from now, that will all be filled with cigarette butts.”
 
“No it won’t,” Disney countered. “We’re going to make this place so pretty, nobody will even think to do that.”
 
The proof that Disney was right, Lindquist says, has been in the park’s 55-year history. Not only does it have the handle “Happiest Place on Earth,” but employees and patrons alike work hard “to make sure it’s just about the prettiest place in America,” says Lindquist.
 
Disneyland remains highly popular – about 40,000 visitors a day by some estimates.
 
But when Disneyland opened in the 1950s, there just wasn’t anything like it in the country. Anywhere. When Disneyland created its E-ticket – reserved for the best of the best inside the park – the phrase became common usage all over the world. (And it wasn’t at all unusual, Lindquist says, for someone to say about a date, “She’s the E-Ticket.”) That was discarded in 1982, but the phrase still lives on in some circles.
 
Disneyland received high marks across the board, beating other resorts in the county in all five categories. Its best marks: in ability and consistency. Media spokeswoman Jill Bolton believes that’s because when visitors see that Disneyland has replaced something old with something new, “They trust us that we’ve got something spectacular lined up.”