Accessible via Adventureland and New Orleans Square is one of three lands that does not emanate from the central hub. The architecture and setting are Caribbean colonial, like New orleans itself, with exceptional attention to detail.
New Orleans Square was the first new land to be added to Disneyland. It is home to Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion, two of the most iconic attractions in any Disney theme park. Why New Orleans? Because Walt loved that city. He and his wife Lillian would visit frequently and rummage through the antique stores. Walt said "Where else can you find iniquity and antiquity so close together?"
New Orleans Square was the first time that the Imagineers tried to create an accurate portrayal of a real place instead of a romanticized impression. The area is a carefully designed, fully immersive, urban environment. The staging of the design elements is meant to slow you down and allow you to soak up the atmosphere. The high level of detail is necessary because this space reflects the qualities of a place that really exists and would be accessible to many of Disneyland's visitors. The challenge for the Imagineers was to create an "enhanced reality" that is "better than real."
The design objective was to recreate New Orleans as it appeared during the period just before the Civil War. Many of the building elevations come straight from study photographs. For example, The Haunted Mansion shares many of the same architectural qualities that you can see in the Evergreen House in Baltimore, Maryland.
To give the guests a sense that this was a real place where real people lived and worked, take a close look at each of the balconies in the Square. Each one expresses different vocations such as a fortuneteller, a painter, or a group of musicians. In many cases, there is an audio track that reinforces what is going on upstairs.
You will also notice that the color palette on the buildings is more muted than on Main Street. It is as if the sun has gently faded the paint. The buildings have been 'aged' with faux rust runs as well. However, keeping with the Disney tradition, the overall effect does not look unkempt or dirty.
Another difference between the Disney version and the real place is the street layout. The actual New Orleans French Quarter is based on a fine grain grid of streets with all right angles. The Disneyland version features winding pathways with deflected views.
Another innovation for New Orleans Square was the implementation of the first multi-story area within the theme park. Oh sure, Alice in Wonderland rises to the second floor of the Castle but this was much more. On the ground level are the shops and restaurants. Below your feet in the basement are the caverns of Pirates of the Caribbean. Up above, on the second level, is the very exclusive and private Club 33. There was even an apartment meant for Walt and Roy. You can still see their initials within the wrought iron railing.