Dominguez Palm Tree – Anaheim, California - Atlas Obscura

Dominguez Palm Tree

A family agreed to sell their property to Disney on the condition that this tree, planted as a wedding gift, would not be removed. 


Once upon a time, the area where Disneyland stands today was a vast orange grove, ten acres of which were owned by one Dominguez family. It was purchased by Walt Disney himself in 1954 for his world-changing theme park project.

Ron Dominguez, who had grown up on the property, moved out with his family in August of 1954, only 11 months before the opening of Disneyland. When it opened, 20-year-old Dominguez took a summer job at the ticket booth, not knowing that he would quickly move through the ranks to be an attraction supervisor, later named the company’s executive vice president in 1990 and deservedly given the title of Disney Legend after his retirement.

While working for Disneyland during its first year, Dominguez was surprised to find his old home, the two-story Spanish-style house, undemolished and relocated right behind Main Street, U.S.A. as administrative offices. Another remnant of his family farmland is a Canary Island date palm tree now standing next to the Jungle River Cruise boathouse in the Adventureland area, commonly known as the Dominguez Tree.

It was spared at the request of Ron himself, as it was originally planted back in 1896 as a wedding gift to his grandparents. The Dominguez family agreed to sell the property to Disney on the condition that the tree would be kept. It still stands there to this day, of course, an obscure and endearing symbol of the pre-Disney history of Anaheim.

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November 1, 2022

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