Disneyland Celebrates 60th Anniversary

It was 60 years ago on July 17th that Disneyland opened up its gates to the public for the very first time. The iconic theme park in Anaheim, California has been celebrating its 60th anniversary with a nostalgia-soaked diamond jubilee since May, according to The Orlando Sentinel. The ongoing celebration will last for as long as 18 months, sources said.

“Months ago, Disney announced a new World of Color, Parade, and firework show to go along with their birthday plans, as well as re-painting the castle, decorating the park, and having special memorabilia throughout the celebration,” The Inquisitr reported. Visitors who attended the celebration received special pins that read “ I was here, July 17, 2015” to commemorate the occasion.

More than 2,000 people lined up the streets to purchase the pins on Wednesday at Downtown Disney. The first line began on the sidewalk of Disney way, but by 2:30 p.m, the visitors were asked to move to another location. Eventually, the line relocated to the Downtown Disney valet parking lot where security could keep a watchful eye on the massive crowds.

The pins cost $15.95, but that was before any passholder discounts were added. They are so rare that only 5,000 were made of each edition.”The pin will be sold in three shops: Julius Katz & Sons in Disney California Adventure, Little Green Men Store Command in Disneyland, and Disney Pin Traders in Downtown Disney, according to The Orange County Registers website.

In addition to paying homage to its 60 year history as the “Happiest Place on Earth”, Disneyland is also promoting its “Million Dollar Dazzle” philanthropic program to local non-profit organizations. The announcement of the “Million Dollar Dazzle”, which is a part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Collection took place on Friday during a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle, according to examiner.com.

Each month during the anniversary celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more local nonprofits with a $60,000 gift, choosing organizations that embody Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Better Together philosophy, The Examiner said. The program will give away approximately $1 million dollars or more in grants.

At the celebration, several thousand people were seen wearing 50’s clothing such as poodle skirts, wool suits and saddle shoes. They gathered in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle to hear a replay of Walt Disney’s speech that was given on opening day back in 1955.

Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters stopped by to greet guests. Also during the event, guests received delicious cupcakes, took pictures in front of backdrops of scenes from 1955 and a new Disneyland band was playing upbeat music to the crowds.

CNN once interviewed Walt Disney, the founder of Disneyland, to discussed how the park was created.

“It started with taking my two kids to the zoos and parks,” Disney recalled. “I’d be sitting there trying to figure out what you could do that would be more imaginative. Then, when I built the new studio in Burbank, I got the idea for a three-dimensional thing that people could actually come and visit. I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together.”

Disney decided to open up the park after paying a visit to the historic Henry Ford Greenfield Village museum in Michigan in 1948. After just eight weeks, the 85-acre park managed to reel in one million guests and a total of 3.8 million visited the park by the end of the fiscal year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Disneyland is not only in Southern California though, they have branched their enterprise out worldwide, with locations in Florida, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and just recently announced that plans to develop a new Disneyland in Shanghai.

When the park first opened 60 years ago, it had issues with 14,000 counterfeit tickets being sold to visitors, vendors running quickly out of food, in addition to various attractions not working properly. Eventually, all of Disneyland’s problems were resolved and today the park remains very popular among many tourists nationwide.

According to a statement made by Disney, they said that “Ever since Disneyland Park opened on July 17, 1955, the Disneyland Resort has been unforgettable destination for families to return to, again and again a source of joy for the entire world and a place where innovation has continued to inspire an exciting future.”

Walt Disney World Resort is still a few years shy of a major anniversary. The Magic Kingdom will turn 45 next year and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021.

For more information on Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration, visit their website at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/events-tours/60-years-diamond-anniversary-celebration/.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

 

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