“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.”
July 17, 1955, Walt made this opening speech.
July 15, 1955 the gates of Disneyland opened for the very first time.
Excited guests anxiously walked into Walt’s Magic Kingdom exactly 60 years ago today. 60 years ago, the Happiest Place on Earth was just getting started. I am sure Walt Disney not know what Disneyland would come, but only what he had hoped and aspired it to be. He wanted to created a place where kids and adults could play, where we can forget the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives; a place where we could smile and laugh and realize that we never really have to grow up! This is what Disneyland means to millions the world over. Disneyland has become a safe haven for many, including me.
My parents took me to Disneyland for the first time when I was a year and a half, and I was hooked ever since! Little did they know that I would fall in love with the place. My mom jokingly says she should have known something was up when I never cried when I met a character (compared to my sisters who did not totally warm up to them until about three or four!) haha.
It is a place where I can openly express my love for Disney with many other fellow Disney lovers. My sanctuary where I can forget all my troubles and focus on the now. I have learned so much about myself from my days at Disneyland. Disneyland has taught me to be myself, even if others don’t. It taught me to never be afraid to smile, laugh, and to cry. It taught me that this world is full of hopes and fears, laughter and tears. It is where some of my happiest memories have been made and will continue to be made. Disneyland is a strong reason why I am the person I am.
Disneyland, you have been through the negatives and still somehow managed to rise back on top! So, today we celebrate you and all the magic you have given not only me but to every single person you have touched. I am beyond blessed and happy to be able to walk in Walt’s footsteps every time I enter the gates and look up at the sign that reads “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” Thank you, Walt Disney, for sharing your dream and vision with us and for making it all a reality, and for not giving up when it was beginning to become difficult to see it through. I know you’d be proud of how Disneyland has touched so many hearts and will continue to do so for decades to come!
Thank you for so many memories, for being my second home, and helping shape who I am as a person today! Disneyland will always hold a special place in my heart, and a place I will take my children and grandchildren so they to can experience the joy you bring!
Here’s to another decade of eating churros and Dole Whip Floats, singing like the birdies sing, sailing around our small world, surviving a three week cruise through the jungle, flying through space, enjoying the pirates’ life, meeting princesses, becoming a Jedi, watching grim grinning ghosts socialize, spinning in tea cups, asking when the 3 o’clock parade is, crying while watching the fireworks, dancing to the shows, and never having to grow up!
I bet those people who said that Disneyland was impossible and would be forgotten in a year feel real sad right now. Bask in your glow and wonder, Disneyland! 60 years old and you never looked better! Diamonds never shined so bright!
I love you, Disneyland, always and forever. Happy 60th birthday to the original Magic Kingdom, to the House that Walt built!