posted at the Official Disney Parks Blog by Valarie Sukovaty, Disneyland Public Relations
“To all who come to this happy place … Welcome!”
July 17, 1955 – That’s the day Walt Disney opened the gates to Disneyland park. Now, here we are, 56 years later still celebrating his amazing dream. I remember celebrating the 50th Anniversary. I had just began my job a few months before in public relations and was assigned to produce some podcasts for the celebration. My all-time favorite in my 18-year career as a producer is the historical piece you are about to see. I love the vintage footage with Art Linkletter hosting a live broadcast with Ronald Regan at the grand opening – the official opening day for guests was the next day. A-listers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., can be seen taking a drive in the Autopia cars. Only 15,000 guests were invited to the “invitation only” event, but 28,000 showed up! The lines were long and the day was hot, and not everyone thought this new Park would be a success, but it didn’t matter. The guests loved it and Disneyland park forever changed how Americans vacationed.
I hope you enjoy this video. It was originally released on Disneyland.com in 2005. It not only entertains you with clips from opening day, but shows construction of Disneyland park and some old footage of some pretty important people who visited. Watch how Disneyland park evolved from Walt’s dream of a place “where the parents and children could have fun together” to an additional four Resorts around the world and a world-famous cruise line.
- Valarie Sukovaty