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Happy 60th Birthday, Disneyland!

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America…with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”—Walt Disney, July 17, 1955

The Partners statue in Disneyland, California.

The Partners statue in Disneyland, California.
By James Ferrandini (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a huge Disney fan like me, then you probably already know that Disneyland is celebrating its 60th anniversary. I visited Disneyland for the first time this year and was captivated by Walt Disney’s original theme park. Disneyland has a certain nostalgic charm that in my opinion makes it the most magical of all the Disney theme parks in the United States. In honor of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, I want to share some fun facts about the beloved park’s history and changes over the years, as well as its anniversary celebration.

Walt Disney shows Disneyland plans to Orange County officials in December 1954.

Walt Disney shows Disneyland plans to Orange County officials in December 1954.
By Orange County Archives [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Walt Disney transformed 160 acres of orange groves into Disneyland. He opened the $17 million amusement park in Anaheim, California on Sunday, July 17, 1955, to the media and invitees only. The grand opening was broadcast live on ABC and hosted by Bob Cummings, Art Linkletter, and Ronald Reagan. 6,000 guests were invited to Disneyland’s “International Press Preview” event, but thousands of additional guests showed up with counterfeit tickets. Total attendance for the day was 28,000. Attractions were unfinished, rides broke down, lines were long, and food and beverages ran out. Walt Disney referred to Disneyland’s opening day as “Black Sunday.” The park opened to the public on Monday, July 18, 1955. Over 700 million guests have visited Disneyland since it opened its doors.

In 1955, Disneyland charged an entrance fee of $1.00. Tickets for rides and attractions were sold separately. Tickets for individual rides cost 10 to 35 cents. Ticket books containing eight “A” through “C” ride tickets were also sold. Attractions were designated “A,” “B,” or “C” based on their level of popularity and the lettered tickets corresponded to the attractions. “C” tickets were required for the best rides. Disneyland’s admission price is now $99.00 for one day and that entitles guests to unlimited use of all rides and attractions.

“The Happiest Place on Earth” has grown into a world-class tourist destination. The Disneyland Resort has expanded to approximately 500 acres. It now includes two theme parks, the iconic Disneyland Park and its sister park Disney California Adventure Park, three hotels, and the Downtown Disney District.

Disneyland Research Topic

Disneyland Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

The year-long Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration began on May 22, 2015 and features three new nighttime spectaculars. Disneyland Park unveiled the new “Paint the Night” electrical parade and the new “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show. A new version of the popular and elaborate “World of Color” water and light show called “World of Color—Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” debuted at Disney California Adventure Park. Disneyland is also marking the 60th anniversary with decorations, special snacks, and new souvenirs. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world.” 60 years later, his words still ring true.

To learn more about Disneyland, explore these resources available in ProQuest eLibrary.

Anaheim Research Topic

Disneyland Research Topic

Walt Disney Research Topic

Walt Disney Company Research Topic

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