One of my favorite times to go to Disneyland is on July 17. It’s the anniversary day of Disneyland, of when the park was dedicated an opened to the public in 1955. After 59 years, Disneyland still throws a memorable celebration together for its birthday. This year kicked off with the mayor of Main Street welcoming guests and having the Dapper Dans lead the crowd in a sing along of classic attraction songs. They went from Adventureland with the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me), it’s a small world, Miracles From Molecules, and There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.
After the sing-along, the Mayor called upon 59 of his “closest friends.” Disney characters began pouring out from backstage to the train station. The Fab Five were present, along with some “Long Lost Friends” like Meeko, Gideon, Foulfellow, Baloo and Mushu. Once all were in their place, the Mayor pointed out the historical moment when Walt gave the dedication speech for the park in 1955. A token mic was located by the flagpoles to signify Walt giving the speech in almost the same spot 59 years ago. It was a touching moment that was shared by many around the Main Street area. From there, characters and the Mayor led all in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Disneyland. Confetti poured out and there was more to be had for the celebration.
The Mayor announced the beginning of Disneyland’s 60th celebration – its diamond anniversary! The first part is that things will begin in spring of 2015. With that, there is a contest going on to send in photos of memorable moments from each decade, where there will be a winner from each decade chosen by vote. Along with those was the unveiling of the Disneyland 60th logo – a diamond made castle. Right after the unveiling, characters danced along to a very upbeat “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.” Fireworks poured out of the top left of the train station for the finale.
Some special guests were escorted into the Main Street Opera House, where a reception took place. There was loads of cupcakes and cookies, and special parting gifts of a glass crystal paperweight with the Disneyland 60th logo, and a book in the style of the old Disneyland coupons. Also inside were photo opportunities with characters, including Anna and Elsa.
This was a memorable anniversary moment for the park. Part of it was the unveiling of the 60th, but part of it was the amount of confetti that took place. No, really. It was just a festive, fun atmosphere. A setting was made for it all, including a banner for the 59th and 60th, and a red carpet for Walt’s mic. It was small details like these that helped make this a festive time.
Another great element to the day was the giveaway of Splash Mountain posters to Annual Passholders. Not only is it Disneyland’s 59th anniversary, but it’s also Splash Mountain’s 25th! I’ve got to say that I do remember when the attraction opened. Having Disneyland give something away to guests was that neat added touch of the day.
Another part I enjoyed about the day was @DisneylandToday – the official Twitter account of Disneyland – having a large birthday button sign to get a picture with. This was spread throughout both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It’s little moments like these and the constant acknowledgement from cast members and guests that this was a day of celebration of the Happiest Place on Earth that made it a fun day.
The anniversary days are ones that I enjoy. Having this time to enjoy with other guests makes it magical. I saw quite a few faces of those I’ve come to know from visiting the parks so often. One of whom is, of course, Mr. Daps – he and I first met on a July 17 a few years ago! To have a party of any size at the park is not just acknowledging the park itself but these memories many have made there. Disneyland has been significant in thousands upon thousands of lives. With the announcement of the 60th being right around the corner, the park seems like it’s just getting started! Like Walt said 59 years ago, Disneyland will never be complete. So, here’s to 59 more years of the Happiest Place on Earth!