Monday, July 17, 2006

The Magic Kingdom Turns 51

51 years ago today, July 17th 1955, Disneyland opened to the world. It was inspired while Walt Disney was at a small amusement park with his children. He wanted to build a place where the entire family could visit together. The price tag was a mere $17 million to transform 150+ acres of Anaheim orange groves into an international destination. I don’t think you could build a new ride at Disneyland today for that much money! That amount didn’t even buy Pixar, which sold for $7.4 BILLION earlier this year.

Over 14 million visitors from all over the world visit Disneyland each year. Park goers have come to expect wonderful family entertainment and pristine attractions. However, it wasn’t quite that way on opening day. Some of the paint had recently been applied and the plumbing failed. While the folks at Disneyland now know pretty well how many visitors to expect daily, it was a little different the first time those turnstiles opened. Admission tickets were counterfeited (oh, if it were only that easy today) which allowed many more people than anticipated to spend opening day at Disneyland. The Magic Kingdom soon overcame its growing pains, added more attractions and blossomed into what we are used to today.

As a native Californian, I can recall many memorable moments at Disneyland. My memory gets stirred and my eyes become misty thinking about The Electrical Light Parade, Autopia, my first time on Pirates, the first time I heard “Remain seated please. Permanecer sentados por favor” and the first time I spent about $15 for a frozen banana or tried to say excuse me to get by someone who spoke no English.

So go ahead and celebrate Disneyland’s 51st birthday in style. Spend a day at the Magic Kingdom. I think it’ll only set you back a little more than you make in a week…and that’s without the kids!!


jin said...

Just 'random blogging' & found you.

Interesting read.
I had NO IDEA admission tickets were counterfeited for opening day!??! I would believe people trying to do it now...but back then? That's pretty sad!

Michael C said...

Thanks for the comment! When they entered Disneyland 'illegally,' I bet no one had the idea that the place would become as big as it has.