Today, Disneyland celebrates its 58th birthday! On July 17, 1955, Walt Disney dedicated the happiest place on earth with a star-studded live telecast hosted by Art Linkletter and Ronald Reagan, along with a long list of other special guests. Opening day is infamously known for having many issues (thousands of counterfeited tickets among them), but we can all agree that the park eventually became a resounding success.
As the first Disney theme park ever, Disneyland paved the way for the parks that followed it all over the globe. Though it may not have the space allocated to Disney’s later resort endeavors, its limited size is part of what gives it its intimate charm with that distinct influence of Walt everywhere you look.
In honor of Disneyland’s special day, this month’s Share YOUR Magical Disney Memories will highlight the original, one-and-only Disneyland. You’re invited to post your favorite Disneyland memory in the comments below. New or old, Disneyland Park or California Adventure, anything goes! If you’ve never visited, perhaps describe any memory you have involving Walt Disney. Our stories together will serve as a virtual birthday card to the happiest place on earth!
I’ll start us off. My first and only (so far) visit to Disneyland was last summer. As a WDW veteran, I was anxious to explore two Disney theme parks that were entirely new to me. I got even more excited every time I was reminded that Walt personally oversaw the construction. On our first morning, I approached the turnstiles of Disneyland and I could not have been more thrilled. We walked toward the railroad tunnels, and just as we did so I noticed that the background music just so happened to be “Be Our Guest.” What a welcome! At that exact moment, I also noticed the “Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy” sign. Well, pair those two observations together and, well… I kept composure on the outside, but on the inside I was having a major nerdified panic attack. This was it. This was the park that Walt built. And I was about to step inside for the first time. The rest of the trip was wonderful, and I am so glad I got to experience where the magic all started.
Now it’s your turn! Share your Disneyland story below as a way to say happy birthday, and you might just win a WDW Radio Mystery Ticket!! The winner will be announced in next Wednesday’s Finding Disney post. See you then!