This day in Disney History, July 18th, 1955.Disneyland officially opened to the general public.
It was a humid Monday morning, park hours that day, 10am-10pm. Approximately 50,000 people attended. As mentioned yesterday, tickets cost $1.
A lucky 22 year old college student from Long Beach was the first to purchase a ticket and enter the park. Dave MacPherson waited all night to be the first. He is awarded a lifetime pass (otherwise know as a Golden pass) good for any three people and himself to Disneyland. The Pass is awarded to all Disney Legends, has been handed to countless dignitaries and heads of state, and all the members of the board of directors hold one.
He was so tired from waiting all night he later said he didn't ride any attractions nor take any photos! I bet he regrets that!
The first children to enter the park? Lucky Cousins, Kristine Vess age 5 and Michael Schwartner, age 7. They were also both awarded with a Golden Pass. Talk about a good day! :)
Hank Dains, an original Cast Member of Disneyland is famously quoted for saying: "I remember the first day we had paying guests in the park and Walt was over at the Fire Station looking out the window. I heard him say, 'Paying guests. I love you' ….and threw them a great big kiss!"
*Also on this day in 1965: Great Moments with Mr.Lincoln officially opens to the public. Yesterday was it's official dedication, but I didn't want to take away from yesterdays spotlight on Disneylands birthday. ;)
Disneylands most patriotic attraction, Lincoln was dedicated by Walt and Lillian in celebration of the Disneyland's tenth anniversary (pictured below) It first appeared one year earlier at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair.
Walt summed up his purpose for presenting “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” on an episode of his television series, the Wonderful World of Color, entitled “Disneyland Goes to the Worlds Fair”:
“Ever since I was small boy in Illinois, I have had a great personal admiration for Abraham Lincoln. So when we decided to re-create some of the great moments in Mr. Lincoln's life for the World's Fair we directed all our energies to that task. We wanted to bring to the people of today the inspiring words of the man who held this nation together during its moment of greatest crisis - the Civil War.” Walt Disney
Have you had the chance to enjoy this attraction? What do you think of it?
*In Addition on that same day in 1965 The Red Wagon Inn (open since opening day) , re-opens as the Plaza Inn.
The original delicious restaurant was the parks most popular, and Walts personal favorite.
Dave from davelandweb.com does an excellent job on his blog explaining the transition and also showing pictures from then and now. For the sake of time today I'll leave that up to him. ;) Hope you don't mind @Davelandweb :)
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Mr. Disney was one of five children, four boys and a girl. He was the fourth born Disney son. He was named after his parents pastor and friend Walter Parr, a preacher at St. Paul Congregational Church. The pastor, in turn, will later name his son Elias, after Walt's father.
Most of Walt's childhood was spent on a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where he began drawing, painting and selling pictures to neighbors and family friends. In 1911, the family moved to Kansas City, where his love for trains really developed. His Uncle, Mike Martin, was a train Engineer who worked on the route between Fort Madison, Iowa, and Marceline. Walt would later work a summer job with the railroad, selling newspapers and snacks to the travelers. To read more about Walts love for trains
Video: Walt riding the Lilly Belle at the Studio. Video courtesy of The Walt Disney Family Museum.
To watch a short biography of Walts life:
Walt and Lillian Disney with unnamed friend, London, 1935.
Walt Disney in my opinion, is a wonderful example of the American dream! He represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. He brought us closer to the future, while telling us of the past, it is certain, Walt Disney was a great man! He and his brother Roy co-founded Walt Disney Productions, which became one of the best-known motion-picture production companies in the world! Disney was an innovative animator and created the cartoon characters we all love to watch today. :) He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was the founder of the magical playgrounds that ties us all together, Disneyland and Disney World. Had he been alive today he would be 112 years old! Happy birthday Walt! Thank you so much for believing in your dreams! You are a true inspiration.
In honor of today, it would be fun if we all mentioned our favorite quote from Mr. Disney. I'll go first, I have many, but this one always sticks out:
"I've always been interested in the past and history and I think it's vital."
Thanks for reading and watching! Hope you all have a terrific Thursday!