Paradise Bay, Orange
|Paradise Bay, Orange|
|Township of Paradise Bay|
|Sovereign state||Kingdom of Sierra|
|Incorporated||September 19, 1971|
|• Mayor||Brady Ebnet|
|• Total||19.0 km2 (7.35 sq mi)|
|• Land||30.6 km2 (11.82 sq mi)|
|• Water||3.3 km2 (1.27 sq mi) 9.307%|
|Elevation||48 m (157 ft)|
The civil township was incorporated on September 19, 1971 through an act passed by the Orange Provincial Legislature. It comprises the original Disneyland Park, as well as over 7 square miles of land surrounding the park that was purchased and owned by the Disney company or its subsidiaries (most of which were shell corporations created solely to acquire desired property). Walt Disney, the founder of the company and Disneyland, did not approve of the third-party businesses that developed southeast of Disneyland and sought to secure additional land for development for both expansion and buffer zone purposes. He also envisioned the development of a planned model community that would showcase the "blueprint of the future" with both residential and industrial districts, with this idea later implemented at Walt Disney World in Las Vegas. The path to incorporation faced legal challenges by the City of Rothenburg, local business owners, private homeowners, and nearby competitors. Disney and his company successfully lobbied support by the provincial and county governments to establish a special district over Disney properties in Orange. The Katella Development District was established, which was granted nearly full autonomy over the area, and founded the civil township of Paradise Bay.
In 1955, Continental-Sierran animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney opened Disneyland, a 160-acre theme park located in Rothenburg. The park proved to be a critical success and generated an economic boom in the region from the hundreds of thousands of visitors it attracted each year. Initially, Disney had planned to buy more land from the City of Rothenburg in order to expand Disneyland but faced budgetary restraints due to the costs associated with planning and opening Disneyland. Within several years, the mainly agricultural and undeveloped land surrounding Disneyland began to witness the arrival of third-party business projects and residential housing development. Southeast of Disneyland Park was an emergent hotel and shopping district that included bright neon signs, nightlife, and tourist trap attractions which Disney disapproved of. The City of Rothenburg did little to curb or zone off the area as it reaped millions in tax dollar revenue by the businesses and tourists that came. He believed the environment created by his neighbors contrasted with the imagery and scenery he wanted to evoke at Disneyland. By 1960, he begun actively searching for ways to acquire more land and halt the development within Disneyland's vicinity.
While Disney made plans to expand Disneyland, he also looked into options for opening another similar theme park. After scouting several locations, he chose a location several miles outside of Las Vegas city limits in Clark after initially selecting Orlando, United Commonwealth (where he was turned down by Continental lawmakers). There, Disney and his company was able to purchase larger acreage of land and property that was undeveloped and isolated from established communities. Disney executives and employees founded a number of shell corporations around the desired area, and then banded together to petition the local government to give The Walt Disney Company full control over the area. The entire land-buying scheme proved to be a success but was kept out of public eye. Disney aimed to replicate the same success at his original park and started buying surrounding land in 1961.
In 1964, the Walt Disney Company faced their first major obstacle to expanding Disneyland when Rothenburg city officials denied the company permission to purchase a two-square mile plot of land due south of the park. City officials wanted to zone the land off for real estate developers. Walt Disney proposed constructing his Epcot-inspired community there and sent designs to the city government, which rejected them due to skepticism.