Designing the Celebrating Disney100 at Disneyland Resort Guided Tour

Kristen Lewis

by , Internal Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Have you ever wondered how Walt and Roy Disney started The Walt Disney Company? Or what it was like to be at Disneyland park on opening day in 1955? You don’t need a time machine to find out, because a new guided tour is available to answer those questions and more!

The Celebrating Disney100 at the Disneyland Resort Guided Tour, which debuted earlier this month, is a living story that takes you through iconic locations across the Disneyland Resort while sharing the company’s 100-year history.

A group of cast members in front of the Guided Tours booth
Guided Tour Cast Members Emma Sickles, J’Amy Pacheco, Paula Hasler and Sam Denny

“We wanted this tour to be inspirational for our guests and cast and remind them to never give up, everyone has a story to tell and you need to believe that your story is worth telling,” said Guided Tour Hostess Paula Hasler. Paula, along with cast members Sam Denny, Emma Sickles and J’Amy Pacheco, designed the tour with input from additional cast members.

“Getting to write a tour was a dream come true,” said J’Amy. “Working with three people who shared my passion for Disney and love of storytelling was an exciting experience.”

Cast members Paula and Sam in front of the Guided Tours booth
Paula and Sam in front of the Guided Tours kiosk at Disneyland park

For Emma, working on this tour was nothing short of destiny. “I remember coming to Disneyland and seeing this beautiful woman dressed in a plaid skirt, leading guests around,” said Emma. “I turned to my mom and said ‘I don’t know what she’s doing, but I want to do that.’ So, I practiced in my garage and little did I know that I would get to write a new tour for the Disneyland Resort.”

“J’Amy created a beautiful beginning that drops guests right into the story of Walt sitting underneath his dreaming tree in Marceline, Missouri,” said Sam. “It made us cry when we all read it aloud for the first time.”

“We had to start with that story,” said J’Amy. “You cannot talk about the company’s 100-year history without talking about the roots, where it all started.”

An artist addresses an audience from the Animation Academy stage

Starting in Disney California Adventure park, guests learn about the founding of The Walt Disney Company and Walt’s move to California in the 1920s, with a suitcase and a dream. Unique to this tour is the opportunity to chat with an animation artist and sketch a special character for the Disney100 celebration at Animation Academy in Hollywood Land.

After putting pencil to paper, guests travel to Disneyland park to learn about opening day and technological advancements that made the park the place we all know and love!

Sam and Paula look at a portrait of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse
Sam and Paula in the Main Street Opera House lobby

“In a personal letter to [Walt’s wife] Lillian after Walt’s passing, President [Lyndon B.] Johnson wrote ‘Beauty, joy and truth are immortal. The magic of Walt Disney was larger than life and the treasures he left will endure to entertain and enlighten worlds to come,'” said Sam.

The approximately two-hour tour ends with a complimentary photo in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and reserved viewing for the “Magic Happens” Parade. Reservations are encouraged and available here or on the Disneyland app.


  • Which time of the magic happens parade does the reserved viewing area take place?

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