Happy birthday, Disneyland! On July 17, 1955, the gates to what has become known as "The Happiest Place on Earth," and theme parks just haven't been the same since. The Anaheim, California, wonderland has evolved, both physically and in terms of the place it inhabits in the hearts of the world. Adults reminisce about their favorite Disney characters, while somewhere else in the world young children decide for themselves whether "The Lion King" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" is the best Disney movie of all time.
Disneyland has been the destination for millions over the last 60 years, from families on vacation to celebrities to couples looking for a magical retreat.
Here are some photos of the place through the years.
Walt Disney shows Disneyland plans to Orange County officials, Dec. 1954The men in the front row (left to right) are Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson, Orange County Supervisor Willis Warner, Walt Disney, Supervisor Willard Smith, and Orange County Planning Commission Chairman Dr. W. L. Bigham. The photo was taken at Disney Studios in Burbank. Photo from the Orange County Archives' Willard Smith Collection.Photo: Photo Courtesy the Orange County Archives
Disneyland sign, Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, 1974Photo: Photo Courtesy the Orange County Archive
Disneyland, circa late 1950sPhoto: Photo Courtesy the Orange County Archives
Disneyland parking lot, circa 1960Photo: Photo Courtesy the Orange County Archives
Disneyland, June 1962Photo: Photo Courtesy the Orange County Archives
Dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a popular Disney film, walk along in Disneyland.Photo: Photo Courtesy Flickr User TigerZombie
Park goers enjoy a ride at Disneyland.Photo: Photo Courtesy Flickr User Steven & Courtney Johnson & Horwitz
A popular area of Disneyland.Photo: Photo Courtesy Flickr User Don Pugh.
A photograph with the iconic Mickey Mouse ears in a balloon.Photo: Photo Author Unknown/ Public Domain
Mickey Mouse follows Michael Jackson as he strolls at a shopping street at the Tokyo Disneyland during his sightseeing tour September 29, 1987.Photo: Reuters
Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Larry Fortesnky (R), celebrate her 60th birthday at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, February 27, 1992.Photo: Reuters
Over three thousand cast members and employees of Disneyland gather on Main Street USA to celebrate Disneyland's 40th birthday July 17, 1995. Disney characters on the front row include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Belle from Beauty & The Beast, Jasmine from Aladdin and Pocahontas. Sleeping Beauty's Castle is in the background.Photo: Reuters
Actress Melissa Joan Hart, star of the television series "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" poses with character Jack Skellington at the opening of the "Haunted Mansion Holiday" attraction at Disneyland on October 18, 2001 in Anaheim, California. The attaction was inspired by the holiday film "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas" and features character from the film.Photo: Reuters
Actress Anne Hathaway, who portrays Princess Mia in the family comedy motion picture "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," poses for photographers with Mickey Mouse (L) and Minnie Mouse as she arrives for the premiere of the film at Disneyland in Anaheim, California August 7, 2004.Photo: Reuters
Actor Tim Allen and character Buzz Lightyear prepare to open the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction in Disneyland. Actor Tim Allen and Disney and Pixar character from the film "Toy Story" Buzz Lightyear take part in the official opening of the new attraction "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters" in Tomorrowland at the Disneyland theme park as the celebration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary "The Happiest Homecoming on Earth" begins in Anaheim, California May 4, 2005. Allen was the voice talent for Buzz Lightyear in the film. Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company and visionary behind the creation of Disneyland, opened the park on July 17, 1955.Photo: Reuters
The new fireworks show, "Remember Dreams Come True", premieres above the Sleeping Beauty Castle during Disneyland's 50th anniversary party at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California May 4, 2005. Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company and visionary behind the creation of Disneyland, opened the park on July 17, 1955.Photo: Reuters
A Disneyland ride from their 1955 opening year, Dumbo from "Dumbo the Flying Elephant", is paraded around the National Mall in Washington D.C. with the U.S. Capitol in the background, June 6, 2005. Walt Disney CEO [Michael Eisner] will present two ride vehicles, including Dumbo, to the National Museum of American History on June 9 as Disneyland gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary on July 17.Photo: Reuters
The character of Mickey Mouse greets guests during Disneyland's Diamond Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., in May 2015.Photo: Reuters