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The late Walt Disney worked very hard to create a whimsical escape of a theme park in Anaheim, a place where people could immerse themselves in all things Disney without the distractions of the outside world. Keeping guests at Disneyland sequestered in a wonderful world of fantasy meant making sure that no tall buildings from the outside, non-Disney world were visible from inside the park. “I don’t want the public to see the world they live in when they’re in the park. I want them to feel they’re in another world,” Disney said, according to Disneyland officials. So, to uphold Disney’s dream, there is a 51-year height restriction that limits how tall buildings can be within a half-mile radius of the park, the OC Register reports.
At first, Disney kept it simple: he built a barrier out of dirt ranging from 12 to 20 feet tall and supplemented its blocking capabilities with strategically placed trees and walls to keep the outside hidden away. Then, in 1964, Disney engineers “collaborating with city officials” succeeded in putting height restrictions on the books in the city of Anaheim. The new rules imposed a 75-foot height requirement for buildings “immediately surrounding” the park, and created what’s now referred to as the “Disney Cone.” Moving farther away from the park, up to a half-mile away, the height limits increase but are still kept relatively low. The requirement tops out at just 240 feet. The boundaries of the Cone were tweaked in 1980, to take “in more of Anaheim’s resort area,” and then updated in 1993 “to preserve the charm and character for Disney guests.”
A rep for a developer who’s putting a 78-foot-tall luxury hotel across from the park says, “If you’re building in Anaheim, then you’re aware of the height limit around Disneyland.” His project does fall within the height restrictions, but he says, “We’re actually happy to do our part in keeping the magic alive in Anaheim and at Disneyland.”