Happy birthday, Disneyland!
Happy birthday, Disneyland! Today you are 66! If we’re going to get technical, you’re actually 67 and one day old, if we count the first day of construction as your birthday.
Disneyland didn’t get to celebrate on the 65th birthday because it was closed. And usually Disneyland birthdays are celebrated in a big way – especially if it’s a milestone birthday like 65!
What have the birthdays looked like over the years?
1965 – the tencennial
By 1965, Disneyland was well established as the go-to vacation destination in the United States. Disneyland threw a big birthday party with a yearlong celebration of the first 10 years.
Walt was so busy that he’d named his first Disneyland Ambassador, Julie Reihm, to help with publicity events for Disneyland. And in 1965 Walt was starting the plans for the next big destination – Walt Disney World in Florida. (Although, at that point, it was just known as “the Florida project.”)
Other birthday highlights, courtesy of the OC Register:
July 17, 1970
About 130 members of the original Disneyland staff, known as Club 55, are brought together for a special celebration. Combined, the total service of these employees is more than 1,950 years.
July 17, 1975
On its 20th anniversary, the park welcomes back Christine Vess Watkins and her cousin, Michael Schwartner, who, at ages five and seven, had been the first guests to enter the gates on July 17, 1955.
July 17, 1980
Disneyland stays open for a 25-hour party from midnight going into July 17 until 1 a.m. July 18.
July 17, 1985
Disneyland celebrates with an all night 24-hour party. Other highlights include a daily 30th Anniversary Parade and the summertime return of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
July 17, 1989
Splash Mountain, the most elaborate flume attraction in the world, opens to park guests.
July 17, 1995
A Time Castle is buried in the forecourt of Sleeping Beauty Castle in a ceremony presided over by Roy Disney and Michael Eisner. The time capsule contained mementos and articles reflecting Disneyland circa 1995. The time capsule will be uncovered in July 17, 2035.
Also that day, more than 10,000 radio stations across the country carry a live broadcast of guests singing “Happy Birthday” to “The Happiest Place on Earth!” The singing is led by country music star Randy Travis, high above guests atop the Matterhorn Mountain.
I remember this day fondly, as I was the Disneyland Ambassador (part of the first-ever Ambassador Team) in 1995. I had to be at the park at 4 a.m. for show rehearsals. At one point, we assembled the cast on Main Street, U.S.A. and I spoke with the hosts of Good Morning America. Then, all of us sang, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” on live television!
(That’s me in front, standing next to Mickey Mouse.)
July 17, 2009
Disney Legend Marty Sklar retires. During his time with Disney, most of which was with Walt Disney Imagineering, Sklar was there for the opening of all 11 of Disney’s theme parks, including Disneyland. To celebrate his last day, the park honored him with a window on the second floor of City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Imagine dedicating your life to bringing joy to millions.
Marty Sklar dreamed it. And he did it. pic.twitter.com/yDzt7MgBSx
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) July 28, 2017
Celebrate your birthday at Disneyland!
Did you know you can celebrate your birthday at Disneyland?
When you arrive at Disneyland on your birthday, go to City Hall at Disneyland Park or to Guest Services at Disney California Adventure. Ask for a birthday celebration button. Then proudly wear it all day!
Disneyland birthday celebration
Disneyland invites guests to participate in their birthday celebration each year. Sometimes they give out cake (like for the 40th birthday celebration), other times they have parades or performances. We’ll keep you posted on today’s celebrations!
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