The C.K. Holliday was modeled after Walt Disney's own Lilly Belle, a one-eighth scale locomotive kept in his backyard as part of his personal Carolwood Pacific Railroad. The engine was built by Walt Disney Studios in 1954 and named after Cyrus Kurtz Holliday, who was the first president of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) from 1860 to 1863. Though Holliday stepped down as ATSF President, he served on the board of directors until 1900.
When Walt Disney sought a corporate sponsor for his theme park rail line, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway was the only business to respond. When Disneyland opened in 1955, the attraction was officially named the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, the partnership lasted until 1974 and has since been renamed the Disneyland Railroad (DRR).