(KGTV) - The Happiest Place on Earth is celebrating its 63rd birthday today, July 17.
On this date in 1955, Walt Disney’s theme park in Anaheim opened its magical doors to the world. The creator of beloved characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and others had been holding onto the concept for a theme park for several years until his idea turned into a reality in 1953.
Disney reportedly purchased 160 acres of land in Orange County for just under $900,000. The $17 million construction project, which was overseen entirely by Walt Disney, began in 1954.
On its opening day, tickets were $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. At the time of its opening, Disneyland had five “lands”: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and Adventureland.
The attractions available on opening day: Autopia, Disneyland Band, Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station, Disneyland Railroad New Orleans Square Station, Jungle Cruise, King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Main Street Cinema, Mark Twain Riverboat, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Storybook Land Canal Boats.
The attractions Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Casey Jr. Circus Train both opened several weeks later.
The success of Disneyland spurred Disney to plan the construction of Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in the mid-1960s. However, Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966 -- five years before Disney World finally opened.
In 2001, Disneyland California Adventure opened next door to Disneyland.
To celebrate its 63rd birthday, the fan blog WDW News Today says the park will have a special parade called the “Happiest March on Earth” at 2:50 p.m., and then at 5:25 p.m. The birthday celebration will also include the Dapper Dans singers and many of Disney’s favorite characters.