The Patriotism of Walt Disney's Disneyland

Disney Adventurer

To Honor America Finale Float Main Street Electrical Parade Disneyland

Walt Disney was many things during his life. An artist, a businessman, a voice actor, but one of the things he was proudest of being was an American. When he decided to design a theme park he filled the park with patriotism that still fills the park to this day.

When Disneyland first opened, three of its lands were specifically designed to celebrate America and all that it stands for.

Main Street USA Lit Up At Night Disneyland

Main Street USA was Walt Disney's idea of America in his childhood days. He recreated the idealized small-town America that he remembered from his youth and brought to life a rosy-eyed view of America at the dawn of the 20th century as the entrance to his park.

Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln Ride Building Main Street USA Disneyland

Eventually, this land would become home to arguably the most patriotic attraction in Disneyland, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, a tribute to one of America's most famous Presidents.

Stage Door Cafe Frontierland Disneyland

Frontierland was a tribute to a popular part of American history at the time, the wild western frontier, paying tribute to the explorers and early western settlers that occupied this new part of the United States.

This section would also be home to what would eventually become its own section, a recreation of a Native American village that would be populated by a rotating set of actual Native American tribes that would perform shows in the park for guests. While certainly outdated by modern standards, it was pioneering for the time and gave a place to an important part of the American experience in Disneyland.

Native American Animatronics Rivers of America Disneyland

Today Frontierland still provides a look at the wild, still largely untapped wilderness of the American frontier. This has since been joined by the expanded and improved Rivers of America that continue this experience into an expanded area.

Autopia Tracks Disneyland Ride

Tomorrowland was also presented through a uniquely American lens, focusing initially on the future of American innovation and enterprise. Early attractions looked at the future of transportation, space, and even more moderate improvements to American home life.

This land continued this trend through most of the history of Tomorrowland with additions from Adventures Through Inner Space to America Sings, which was a celebration of America's bicentennial.

This land has since transitioned from its American roots to focus more on science fiction, but its original message still lives on in places like Autopia.

Even the other lands of opening day Disneyland viewed the world from a uniquely American point of view.

Boat Filled With Human Skulls Jungle Cruise Ride Disneyland

Adventureland was very clearly an American view of jungles and native cultures around the world (in ways that haven't always aged well) and it continued to evolve alongside American views on the exotic, incorporating trends like tiki culture and adventure films over the years.

Pinocchio's Daring Journey Ride Building Fantasyland Disneyland

Fantasyland meanwhile was filled with American interpretations of European fairy tales, and has continued to fit that same role to this day.

Many of Disneyland's expansions continued to hold true to Walt Disney's patriotic values, most notably New Orleans Square, which recreated another region of the country in an idealized manner, in a way serving as the natural evolution of Frontierland, showing a more established settlement.

US Capitol Building Model Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln Lobby Disneyland

Today much of Walt Disney's patriotism still remains in the original Disneyland, and his ideas have spread to Disney Parks around the world as the parks have expanded.