Disneyland, the original Disney theme park, opened exactly 60 years ago on Friday. Walt Disney welcomed a rushing crowd to his Anaheim, California, park on July 17, 1955, on a site that used to house an orange grove.
Passionate Disney fans have begun celebrating early. More than 2,000 people lined up early Thursday at the Disneyland Resort to pick up a 60th anniversary, limited-edition pin, reported the Orange County Register. The park is calling for eager patrons to wear vintage 1955 clothing and the comments section on the park site appears to suggest many are up to the task.
The first day of Disneyland was invite-only and parkgoers ran through the gates to check out Walt Disney's $17 million creation. That would be equivalent to $150 million in 2015. The park experienced some growing pains after it opened to the public the following day as crowds overwhelmed food stands and rides. Soon the 160-acre plot had become a success. This year, Disneyland welcomed 14 million visitors who spent close to $3 billion, reported History.
The park took about 20 years to make and was the only park that Disney worked on personally. There are now 11 Disney theme parks all over the globe, including parks in Florida, Japan, Paris and Hong Kong. When Walt Disney created Disneyland, movies and TV had already made him famous, but the park empire was a new endeavor.
"It started with my taking my two kids around to the zoos and parks," Disney said, according to CNN. "I'd be sitting there trying to figure out what you could do that would be more imaginative. Then when I built the new studio in Burbank, I got the idea for a three-dimensional thing that people could actually come and visit. I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together."
Check out the photos below for a look at what Disneyland was like in 1955.
Disneyland, during construction (circa 1954-1955) pic.twitter.com/zI8O8NOMf7
— Lost In Time (@RembranceOfPast) July 16, 2015
Mickey & Minnie, Disneyland, c.1955 pic.twitter.com/mypBJ61mBE
— RetroCo (@Retro_Co) July 14, 2015
— Amy Schellenbaum (@acsbaum) July 16, 2015
Disneyland opening day, 1955 pic.twitter.com/jYBb28q1aH
— Historical Pics (@VeryOldPics) July 8, 2015
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) July 8, 2015
— Nurin Yuzly (@Ein_ThePossum) July 5, 2015
— C Constantinides (@ChangeAgentSA) June 29, 2015