24 classic photos that show why Disneyland rocks on its 60th birthday
Grab your party teacups and head to the Big Thunder Mountain railroad to get to the biggest party of the weekend—Disneyland is turning 60.
The so-called “happiest place on the Earth” used to be a 160 acre orange grove. The imaginative Walt Disney, inspired by visions of magic and grandeur, started designing the huge amusement park in the early 1950s as a place that would have both educational and amusement value.
“It came about when my daughters were very young and Saturday was always daddy’s day with the two daughters,” Disney said, according to the DisneyParks blog. “I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things—sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts—I felt that there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started.”
Despite a rough opening day that was riddled with problems, including wet paint, food shortages, and malfunctioning rides, Disney managed to carry through with his plan to make his park an international tourist destination.
Now situated in Anaheim, California, the theme park hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, ranging from kids who want to live out their fantasies to adults who want to reclaim their childhood, and everyone in between.
From basic amusements to grandiose attractions like Space Mountain and the thrilling Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disneyland has come a long way from its original $17 million price tag. One thing that has stayed the same? The startling Mickey and Minnie Mouses that hug you before you even see them coming.