Happy 52nd birthday, Disneyland... and the theme park business
July 17th is, as most confirmed theme park fans know, Disneyland's birthday. The park opened to the media July 17, 1955, making Tuesday the 52nd birthday of the flagship of the Disney theme park empire. (The park opened to the public the next day, so if you want to celebrate on the 18th, too, by all means, do!)
Of course, Disneyland's success encouraged many others to build or develop their attractions into theme parks, so the day also ought to be considered the birthday of the modern theme park industry as well.
So slice up some chocolate fudge cake and celebrate the theme park way -- by waiting in your favorite queue. ;-) Grocery stores or the local DMV will do if you can't get to a park, I suppose....
I'll celebrate by offering you the earliest photo I have of me at Disneyland:
That's me in the stroller, sucking down an ice cream, Mickey head balloon in hand.
And here I am a few years later, tricked out in my best Disneyland garb:
I'll leave y'all to guess the years in which these were taken. Please use the comments to share your earliest (Disneyland or not) theme park memory.
Nice pics! I remember that my Dad would always wear a suit to go to Disneyland and we would wear our Sunday finest. My earliest memories are from home movies. I do remember sitting with the engineer on the Casey Junior train and ringing the bell, riding Dumbo with my mom, and being scared on Mr Toads wild ride. I think I was around 2 or 3 so it would be 1958 or 59. I also remember the flying saucers, 20,000 leagues, and of course the sky buckets (that is what we always called them). My Mom had a friend that had a couple of kids around my brother's and my age. We would do a yearly Disney Birthday trip to celebrate all four of our birthdays. Then there was Grad Night.....I don't remember much about that but my program said there were a couple of good bands playing. We wore suits and ties and were searched for alcohol before entering. We went on it's a small world near the end since we were all so tired.
thats nice to see,and disneyland has come a very long way!!
Disney is the reason that the theme park business is so big today. Walt Disneys escape from the boring county fairs was the fuel that lighted the fire of parks. Thank you Disneyland, and Walt Disney. Also thank you Robert for starting up this site. Happy 52nd Disneyland.
Here is what I sent to my Disney Sales Rep!
i am the odd one here. i was 5 years old when the park opened but i was 13 before i went for the first time. my grandmther was a pie baker at Knotts and my family was Knotts or nothng. my teen memories of Disney are the private parties after hours and of course grad nite. my favorite Disney memory was a party with a friend's
Hey, no one's guessed the years of the photos yet. ;-)
Made it to the Magic Kingdom for the 40th birthday party back on July 17th, 1995, and found the park that day as crowded by evening time as I've ever experienced in the now 52 years of going there. Randy Travis sang our National Anthem from atop the Mattorhorn Mountain that day too. It seems that "Birthday Cake" was being given away at 2 or 3 locations around the park also...still the only rememberance of any kind of free-bee food wise ever at Wally World. Though crowded that day I still look back with a nostalgic fondness that this Disney Kid was able to be there on such a special day. AAAUGH !
Here's a guess Robert. I am gonna say 1965. :)
Nope. Not quite that old. It's 1969 for the first; 1972 for the second.
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