WATCH: Disneyland Resort Celebrates Its 61st Birthday With Special Ceremony

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland Park on July 17, 1955, it had 18 attractions, no Disney hotels and little but orange groves surrounding it. Today, as the Disneyland Resort marks its 61st anniversary–and the ongoing Diamond Celebration–the original theme park has expanded to become a world-class family resort destination. With six decades of inspiration and innovation, the resort now includes two renowned Disney theme parks, nearly 100 exciting attractions, three hotels and the shopping, dining and entertainment district known as Downtown Disney.

Disneyland commemorated its role as the original Disney theme park with festivities that included the Disneyland Band, the “Happiest March on Earth” down Main Street, U.S.A., and a cast of 61 Disney characters at the Disneyland Train Station.

Final Weeks of Diamond Celebration Entertainment: Guests visiting the Disneyland Resort today and through Sept. 5, 2016, will have one last chance to enjoy the dazzling Diamond Celebration, with all its magic, sparkling décor and after-dark entertainment. Three spectacular shows were created for the milestone 60th anniversary: the brilliant “Paint the Night” parade, the immersive “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show and the memorable “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.”

All-new Entertainment: The Resort’s newest attractions can be found at Disney California Adventure Park: “Frozen—Live at the Hyperion,” a new, theatrical interpretation of Disney’s animated blockbuster film, told with a cast of beloved characters, stunning special effects and show-stopping musical numbers; and Soarin’ Around the World, where guests let their imagination take flight in an epic reimagining of the classic attraction, Soarin’ Over California.

A Place Where Dreams Come True: The popularity of Disneyland through the past 61 years celebrates Walt Disney’s dream of a place where family members of all ages can have fun together in a safe, clean atmosphere that emphasizes imagination and extraordinary guest service. Since 1955, dignitaries, heads of state, celebrities and more than 750 million guests have passed through its gates.

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

As part of the tribute to opening day, July 17, 1955, a recording of Walt Disney’s speech was played: “To all who come to this happy place–welcome!  Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

With that as its goal, Disneyland transformed the amusement industry. It delivered an entirely new concept in family entertainment: a “theme park” where rides, shows and characters become part of a total storytelling environment.  Creativity, technology and innovation continue to bring stories to life, while fulfilling Walt’s promise that “Disneyland will never be completed … as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

The success of Disneyland Resort also results in $5.7 billion in total economic activity to the Southern California economy annually. The resort’s workforce of more than 29,000 cast members makes it the largest single-site employer in Orange County. The Disney resort entertainment experience has expanded worldwide and is enjoyed by guests at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Disneyland Paris in France, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort in mainland China.

Source: Disneyland News

Banner Photo Credit: Disney