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Happy 61st Birthday Disneyland
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Happy 61st Birthday Disneyland

by Michael BeenerJuly 17, 2016

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland, the original Disney theme park, on July 17, 1955, he said he hoped it would be “a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” He famously observed: “Disneyland will never be completed…as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Upon its opening, Disneyland introduced a new concept in family entertainment and launched the theme park industry. Disneyland presented 18 major attractions on its Opening Day including the Mad Tea Party, the Jungle Cruise, Autopia and the Mark Twain Riverboat, and it featured five themed lands: Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and Main Street, U.S.A. Today, Disneyland is an evolving 85-acre American institution featuring more than 60 adventures and attractions in eight themed lands, having added New Orleans Square in 1966, Critter Country (originally Bear County) in 1972 and Mickey’s Toontown in 1993.  Construction on the new Star Wars-themed land began this year.

A sampling of Disneyland facts:

  • Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney purchased the first Disneyland admission ticket for $1 on July 18, 1955. The park sold its one-millionth ticket less than two months later, on September 8th.
  • The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959, and it set the standard for modern-day roller-coaster design.
  • Disneyland created the first daily operating monorail in the western hemisphere.
  • Space Mountain was the first Disneyland attraction with a higher price tag than Disneyland itself. The epic indoor roller coaster cost $20,000,000 to build in 1977; the entire park only cost $17,000,000 in 1955.
  • The telegraph office across the tracks at the Disneyland Railroad train station in New Orleans Square is “sending” the first two sentences of Walt’s opening-day speech.
Aerial view of Disneyland in 1956.

Aerial view of Disneyland in 1956.

The Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad pulling into Main Street Station USA in 1960.

The Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad pulling into Main Street Station USA in 1960.

About The Author
Michael Beener
Michael Beener