On July 17, 2013, Disneyland celebrated its 58th anniversary, but the festivities really began two weeks ago. As part of Limited Time Magic, annual passholders had opportunity to watch presentations done by Stacia Martin. Running each Tuesday, they presentations were divided up by lands.
The first presentation covered Adventureland and Frontierland. Next came Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The day before the official anniversary was Main Street. Martin brought with her photos and video footage from the archives to cover the early years of the park. The fun facts are too numerous to list out.
The best I can sum it up is it provided me a better perspective of the early park, and how fun it really was to the first guests. I used to think Tomorrowland contained last minute exhibits like what would be in a museum. I was glad to find that it had full, state of the art (at the time) shows and even stories! During coverage of Adventureland, there were a lot of background on the Imagineers that made the early lands. Main Street was quite a treat where many of the fabled stores and merchandise were brought to life through photos. Even stories were confirmed by my mother, who had visited the park in these formative years. One confirmation was of how there were jars of leeches in the Upton Pharmacy. Even the “show” that was in the store was something that encouraged my mom’s becoming a microbiologist.
Unfortunately, photos and video were prohibited for the presentation.
July 17 brought a rededication of Disneyland. The Mayor of Main Street introduced cast members that taught the large crowd a dance for the ceremony later. Once the ceremony started, the Mayor was escorted out with the Dapper Dans and took his place on a podium. He then introduced the numerous characters that flooded out of the parade gates. After the recording of Walt Disney’s original dedication was played, and with a recreation of the mic that he used, it was time for the dance.
The characters and cast members rotated around the town square, leading the crowd in the dance. Pyrotechnics launched from the buildings nearby in the culmination of the song and dance. During the whole ceremony, the crowd and all also sang “Happy Birthday” to Disneyland. In all, it was a very exciting celebration for Disney fans and other guests alike. It was packed and fun.
Though it was an off anniversary year, where the more major decades or every five years are more celebrated, this felt a little more like a party than previous years. Having weeks lead up to the time made a difference. And, there were a lot more nods to the early years of the park. It was all a reminder of what Walt Disney had in mind.
Below are some photos and a video of the July 17 celebration. Enjoy! And have a marvelous day!