After 54 years of service, Marty Sklar Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador, is honored with a tribute window at Disneyland on the park's 54th birthday. Officially retiring on this day, Sklar's window is above City Hall at Town Square.
Also at Disneyland, the park presents the debut of Walt Disney's 1956 People and Places
featurette, titled Disneyland U.S.A. The 42-minute film is screened exclusively for a group of about 200 people selected from Disney's official D23 fan club. The screening is preceded by a panel discussion from actual Disney experts.
Sadly on this same day, legendary newsman Walter Cronkite passes away in New York at age 92. A famous CBS anchorman (between 1962-1981), Disney fans will recall Cronkite's voice as one of the early narrators of Epcot's Spaceship Earth. He also appeared in the 1981 TV special Walt Disney: One Man's Dream and the 1989 broadcast of the opening of Disney-MGM Studios. Cronkite appeared and narrated Back To Neverland a film about animation, featuring Robin Williams and Disney’s Animators, that was shown in Disney-MGM Studios.
The first person to enter the park at 7 a.m. on the official 50th anniversary
of Disneyland is Madison Steigerwald, a 15-year old girl from Old
Greenwich, Connecticut. She and her grandmother,
Mary Madison, began to line up at 3 p.m. the day before! At 10:00 a.m.,
Disneyland hosts a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary. Art Linkletter
(who helped host the opening in 1955), Bob Iger, Michael Eisner,
California Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger and Diane Disney Miller
(Walt's eldest daughter) are in attendance. Diane Disney Miller rereads
her father's original dedication speech. Later at 4:45 in the afternoon, Walt Disney's opening day
dedication speech is shown on Jumbotrons around the park.
A second Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln debuts, this time in
new Main Street facility called the Opera House, Walt Disney himself dedicates the new attraction on this
day. This Disneyland production is not completely identical to the Fair's. A new pre-show, "The Lincoln Story," replaces the Fair's which centers around the state of Illinois.
Later in the day, Walt speaks at the Tencennial Celebration for Cast
Members at the Disneyland Hotel's Magnolia Room. He hosts a celebration to acknowledge the challenges of early Disneyland and recognizing some of the original cast that were part
Radio-television host Art Linkletter is born Gordon Arthur Kelly in Moose
Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. Abandoned at only a few weeks old, he was adopted by
Mary and John Linkletter, an evangelical preacher. Exactly 43 years later Linkletter took
part in the televised grand opening of Disneyland. A close friend of Walt Disney,
Linkletter was the primary television host for the live opening ceremony at Disneyland.
The one problem on opening day was that the Park had stretched Walt so thin financially, he could only afford to pay Linkletter union scale for the job. A savvy businessman, in lieu of his fee, Linkletter asked for (and received) the exclusive rights to the camera and film concessions at Disneyland for the next 10 years. He later hosted the 1959 television special for Disneyland’s first New Tomorrowland. (Linkletter was a star in show business for more than 60 years. In the process, he became one of the most respected and beloved media personalities in America.)
Comedienne Phyllis Diller, the voice of The Queen in A Bug's Life, is born in Ohio. She also hosted a 1972 episode of The Mouse Factory and appeared in the 1978 television special Christmas at Walt Disney World.
Disney Legend Gunnar Mansson is born in Stockholm, Sweden. He was Disney's
representative in the Nordic countries of Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden.
Actress Helene Stanley, the live-action model for Disney's 1950
Cinderella, and the live-action model for the 1959 Sleeping Beauty,
is born in Gary, Indiana. She also portrayed Polly Crockett in the 1955
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.
Disney's film Victory Through Air Power premieres at the Globe Theatre in New York. This strong propaganda film (based on Major Alexander P. de Seversky's book of the same title) combines live action with animation. It promotes the idea that only long range airpower can win World War II.
Filmmakers have used animation to produce strikingly vivid graphics of the Allied forces pounding the Axis strongholds. To the strains of a stirring "Song of the Eagle," an animated eagle is dramatically shown attacking the heart of Japan with a dagger. The film is released by United Artists, although all other Disney films at this time are being released by RKO.
Television crews, Walt Disney, Art Linkletter, Ronald Reagan,
Bob Cummings, the Mouseketeers, Thurl Ravenscroft, California Governor
Goodwin J. Knight and over 28,000 guests witness the opening of Disneyland
in Anaheim, California. Broadcast on ABC, it is the biggest live telecast to date!
Disney's live-action feature film Savage Sam is generally released.
(It is a sequel to the film Old Yeller.)
Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket, passes away at the Virgil Convalescent Hospital in Hollywood, California, at age 76. Born in 1895,
Edwards (also known as "Ukelele Ike") enjoyed considerable popularity in the 1920s and early
1930s, specializing in jazzy renditions of pop standards and novelty tunes.
The Splash Mountain dedication ceremony takes place at Disneyland on the
park's 34th birthday. Actors Jim Varney and Nick Stewart (the voice of Brer Bear) join Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner, Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Mickey Mouse in turning on the
water pump to create a big splash. (The attraction will officially open to the public the following day.)
Disney Legend Lucien Adés, who pioneered the first "read-along" record album
for Disney Consumer Products, passes away in Paris, France.
Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, a Walt Disney Pictures feature starring Rick Moranis
as Wayne Szalinski, is released to theaters.
The Splash Mountain attraction has a soft opening in Frontierland in the Magic
Kingdom at Walt Disney World. (It will officially debut in October 1992.)
A Stranger Among Us, a film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Melanie
Griffith, is released by Disney's Hollywood Pictures. Emily Eden (Griffith), a New York City
hardened homicide detective, goes undercover to investigate the murder of a Hasidic diamond-cutter.
Milt Albright, Disneyland's first official employee, retires. First starting out as a
junior accountant in 1947, he rose through the ranks to become manager of Guest Communications.
He'll be named a Disney Legend in 2005.
Disneyland celebrates its 40th birthday. Special events include burying
a time capsule (which is to be opened in 40 years), Randy Travis performing on top of the
Matterhorn singing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" and a sing-along version of "Happy Birthday,"
and free birthday cake to all guests. The 62 items in the time capsule include "40 Years of
Adventures" Disneyland Cast Member Name Tag, with the name "Mickey," a photo of the
Disneyland Ambassador Team, and an aerial photo of the Disneyland Resort and surrounding area.
Disney announces plans to open Disney's California Adventure theme park
as part of the expanded Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
At Disneyland Paris, Planet Hollywood receives a star-studded opening at Disney Village. Guests at the opening celebration include Lion King voice artist Whoopi Goldberg.
Touchstone Pictures releases the musical fantasy comedy film Kazaam. Starring
basketball star-turned actor Shaquille O'Neal and Francis Capra, a troubled kid inadvertently releases a genie,
who must grant him any three wishes he requests.
Disneyland celebrates it's 45th anniversary with an all new
45 Years of Magic Parade. Meanwhile the final performance of
The All-New Woody's Roundup takes place on the Golden Horseshoe Stage.
A dedication of the new Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln takes place at Disneyland as part of the park's 46th anniversary. Academy-Award winning
actor Martin Landau takes part in the ceremony by delivering Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Daniel Rodriguez, the New York City police officer and tenor who made
memorable appearances singing patriotic songs following the September 11,
2001 attacks, performs in a ceremony celebrating the 47th Anniversary of the
opening of Disneyland.
An electrcial fire at around 3:30 in the morning at Walt Disney World's Epcot
forces the theme park to close for the day. The fire cuts electricity to several areas of the
At Disneyland, a ceremony is held at 7:45 a.m. on Main Street, U.S.A. to celebrate the park's 48th birthday.
Disneyland introduces "The Happiest Faces on Earth ... A Disney Family Album" on the park's 49th anniversary during a ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The program is an invitation to people around the world to send in their cherished Disney memories (especially their favorite Disneyland memories) in the form of photographs, snapshots or digital images. The submissions will be woven together to create a series of extremely unique photo collages for the park's 50th anniversary.
BraviSEAmo!, a nighttime water show, officially debuts at Tokyo DisneySea. The show features water, pyrotechnic, and firework effects and is performed on the lagoon of the Mediterranean Harbor. It will run through November 2010.
On the 51st anniversary of Disneyland a new website called
People for the Peoplemover debuts on the Internet. The site represents a people-powered movement dedicated to returning the Peoplemover attraction to its rightful place in Disneyland's Tomorrowland.
the original Disneyland
was built in just
Disneyland celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary with a 25
hour party starting at midnight and ending at 1 AM on the 20th.
"I Was There!" birthday buttons are handed out to guests.
"Disneyland celebrated its 40th anniversary by burying a time capsule. They say it will be dug up in 50 years ...
or when the last person in line at Space Mountain gets to the front, whichever comes first." -Jay Leno
Happy Anniversary Disneyland!
Disneyland turns 52 years young. A ceremony is held at the
Main Street, U.S.A. train station at 4:45 p.m
Disney's film Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog (based on the novel by Eleanor Atkinson) is released. Set in Scotland in 1875, it tells the story of a Skye Terrier named Bobby, who travels to Edinburgh with his master, a shepherd called Old Jock. When the man dies of "old age, exposure, and starvation", and is buried in the Greyfriars Kirk, the dog refuses to leave his master's grave.
The occassion is marked with an anouncement that the interior of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland will open
in time for the December holiday season! It will offer guests a “reawakened” version of its classic walkthrough
presentation (which first debuted in 1957).
The nominations for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards are announced. Disney
Channel's nominations include - Hannah Montana, High School Musical 2, and The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody
for Outstanding Children's Program; High School Musical 2 for Outstanding Choreography; and Phineas And Ferb for both Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music and Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics.
(The 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented Sept. 21 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.)
Actress-singer Mandy Moore (who was raised in Orlando, Florida) spends the
day with friends and family at Disney World.
A patent for a "panoramic motion picture presentation arrangement" is filed with the United States Patent Office by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.
The patent application is specifically for a method of filming a 360 degree panoramic film using eleven 16mm Kodak Cine-Special cameras (and projecting them in 16mm). The patent will be granted June 28, 1960.
"A lot of people didn't believe in what we were doing... my brother had the worries of getting this money and
fighting the bankers and things... but we ran out of money... a lot of people don't realize that we had some very
serious problems here, keeping this going... getting it started... But at this time, ten years after opening, I want to
join my brother in saying 'Thanks to you people who have been here with us, and have been part of making this
thing come across." -Walt Disney
"I just want to leave you with this thought, that
it's just been sort of a dress rehearsal and we're just getting started.
So if any of you start resting on your laurels, I mean just forget it because ... we are just getting started." -Walt Disney This Day in Disney History 1965
Disneyland celebrates its 15th birthday along with 130 of the park's original Cast Members - who will now be known as Club 55.
TV Guide features an article about Walt titled "Still Attacking His Ancient Enemy—Conformity" by Edith Efron. Her words include:
"The details of Walt Disney’s life have often been published. But all that is really essential to know is that his is a
pure Horatio Alger story—the story of a very poor boy who was raised on a Missouri farm, who never finished
high school, who worked incessantly to bring his innocent personal visions into existence, who succeeded after
a series of bitter struggles, who rose to international fame by embodying some of mankind’s most endearing
characteristics in a mouse, and who has been free, ever since, to produce his very special type of fantasies."
The article also includes this quote from cartoonist Walt Kelly (famous for his work on the popular Pogo comic
strip) who began his career at the Disney Studio:
"I'd never say (Walt Disney) was a tyrant. He's an easy man to work for, if you're putting out. He is very
demanding, there's no doubt about it. He can be fairly sharp-tempered and tough, if people are stupid or
unproductive, and this causes griping among those who don't live up to his standards. But if you are hard-
working, he's an amazing man to work for. You learn an enormous amount, artistically. He helped to groom me,
and I appreciated the experience enormously. I thought of him as a genius."
"I have met many exceptional people who have been my mentors and friends. Walt Disney is right at the top of the list." -Art Linkletter
Bill Justice, originally from Dayton, Ohio, starts his first day of work at Walt Disney
Studios. As an animator he will go on to work on such classics as Fantasia, The Three Caballeros, Alice in
Wonderland, and Peter Pan. In 1965, Justice will join Walt Disney Imagineering, where he will program figures for
several theme park attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear
Jamboree. He will retired from the Disney Company in 1979 and be named a Disney Legend in 1996.
"I showed up wearing my best suit and that was a mistake. I wanted to make a good impression. Los Angeles was very, very hot and there was no air conditioning at the Hyperion Studio so the other guys looked at me like I was a hick. The next day I dressed more comfortably." -Justice on his first day at work
At noon, Disneyland employees hold a dedication ceremony in Town Square near the entrance of Disneyland celebrating the park's 55th anniversary.
Later in the afternoon, employees lead a park-wide sing-a-long of "Happy Birthday."
The Disney All-American College band celebrates its own anniversary, the 40th, with nearly 300 current and former performers from both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort performing twice.
In the evening, Disneyland’s Alumni Club meet at the Disneyland Hotel to celebrate the park's 55th birthday.
Tencennial Re-Dedication Day
A celebratory moment is held at 2:30 p.m. to commemorate the 56th anniversary of Disneyland's opening day. An audio recording of Walt Disney’s original dedication speech is broadcast throughout Disneyland Park. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a cast of characters gather in Town Square to sing "Happy Birthday" to Disneyland with guests and cast members.
The Disney Channel airs Dateline: Disneyland, documenting the opening
of the Anaheim park thirty years ago.
Disney characters fill Town Square, balloons in hand, to sing "Happy Birthday
To You" with Disneyland park guests on the park's 57th anniversary.
Disneyland celebrates its 58th birthday with a flood of characters and guests dancing
on Main Street, U.S.A. For the first time, park attendees get a half-hour dance lesson in honor of the
theme park's birthday, followed by a dance with characters to Cinderella's "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes."
On Disneyland's 59th anniversary, it is announced that the Disneyland Resort
Diamond Celebration will begin in spring 2015, celebrating 60 magical years of the
On this morning, Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier is joined by Mickey
Mouse and special guests at Sleeping Beauty Castle to commemorate the Resort’s
official 60th anniversary. The ceremony includes the tradition of playing the recording of Walt Disney’s July 17, 1955, welcome to the first Disneyland guests. In attendance is Ron Miller, the former CEO of The Walt Disney Co., and Walt Disney's son-in-law.
Ant-Man, a superhero film based on the Marvel
Comics characters of the same name, is
generally released to U.S. theaters. Produced by
Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures, it stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey
Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, and Evangeline Lilly.
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in
scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang (Rudd)
must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank
Pym (Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Also released is the film's soundtrack, featuring music by
Christophe Beck, on Hollywood Records.
"Mickey’s Soundsational Parade," the current daytime parade at the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, ends its run. First debuting in May 2011, the popular parade put music in motion with Disney characters, performers and two new parade floats.
Former Mouseketeer Dennis Day, age 76, is reported missing from his Oregon home. After ending his career as a child actor and a member of The Mickey Mouse Club, he went on to work as
a theater director before relocating to Oregon in the 1980s. (Sadly over a year later, police will determine that the badly decomposed remains found at his home in the southern Oregon city of Phoenix in April 2019, is indeed Day.)
Actress and singer Diahann Carroll is born in The Bronx, New York. First rising to prominence in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959), in 1962 Carroll won a Tony Award for best actress, a first for a black woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings. Carroll's Disney credits include the voice of Queen La in the 2001 animated series The Legend of Tarzan, and a role for one season on ABC's Grey's Anatomy (2006-2007) as Jane Burke.
Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island reopens as does the nighttime show Fantasmic!. They had closed temporarily in January 2016 for the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
Disneyland turns 20 years old! The anniversary begins a 15-month salute to the United States Bicentennial with the most elaborate parade in the park’s history, "America on Parade," features 50 floats and 150 giant performers at least eight feet tall, in addition to an all-new red, white and blue fireworks spectacular "Fantasy in the Sky."
Disneyland turns 35! Since January guests have been treated to a spectacular new parade and two new live shows on the Videopolis stage. Park guests can win valuable prizes too... one guest wins a new car every day!
Disneyland remains closed (due to the threat of COVID-19) on its 65th anniversary.
Walt Disney Records releases Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (Original Soundtrack). With music by composer Bruce Broughton, it is a reissue of the 1993 soundtrack.
On the 66th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, a brand new scene added to
Mickey's PhilharMagic! debuts at both the Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris. The new sequence finds Donald Duck getting into more trouble as he finds himself in the "land of the dead" from Disney and Pixar's Coco. The all-new 3D animated scene was brought to life by some of Coco's original Pixar designers in partnership with Disney Animation Studios. (It will be added later this year at the Magic Kingdom as part of Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration!)