This Day in Disney History January 12
2001: The Downtown Disney District officially opens at the Disneyland Resort
Visit a lively promenade featuring distinctive eateries, unique shops and exciting entertainment. Enjoy a bite at an open-air cafe, sip on a delicious cocktail or plan an evening around an exquisite sit-down dinner. Build your own toy race car, transform your little one into a star and visit one of the largest Disney stores anywhere. From live outdoor entertainment to nightclubs to a luxury movie theater, something exciting is always a few steps away. The Downtown Disney District parking lot is conveniently located next to the action and offers free parking for up to 2 hours—or up to 4 hours of free parking with validation from participating locations.
Downtown Disney District lies between the Disneyland Resort’s two theme parks and its hotels. The district was built on space previously occupied by the original Disneyland parking lot and Disneyland Hotel, and includes a bridge over Disneyland Drive (formerly West Street) which was regraded to accommodate the bridge. It is smaller than its Walt Disney World counterpart. Currently, no admission ticket is required for Downtown Disney District. Parking is free for the first three hours (or first five hours with validation) on most days. However, on very popular days, such as July 4 and New Year’s Eve, there is an automatic parking fee collected when you enter the lot.California’s Downtown Disney District was designed to attract local residents and to encourage extended stays in the resort district.
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2003: Ground is Broken on Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
From Disney Parks Blog:
The resort, which opened to guests in 2005, includes Hong Kong Disneyland and two resort hotels, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel. Today, the park has grown to feature six themed lands: Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch.
Hong Kong Disneyland had one of the shortest construction period among all the Disneyland-style theme parks. On 12 January 2003, more than 400 guests celebrated the groundbreaking of Hong Kong Disneyland after the finishing of land reclamation in Penny’s Bay. The audience included Tung Chee Hwa, then Chief Executive of Hong Kong; Michael D. Eisner, former Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company; Robert A. Iger, president of The Walt Disney Company; and Jay Rasulo, former president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. On 23 September 2004, a special “castle topping ceremony” was held in the park to commemorate the placing of the tallest turret on Sleeping Beauty Castle. Hong Kong Disneyland opened to the public at 13:00 local time on 12 September 2005.