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Disneyland turns 64: Happy Birthday to Disney's Southern California theme park!

Posted at 12:07 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 15:07:23-04

(KGTV) - The Happiest Place on Earth is celebrating its 64th 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.

Just before summer 2019, Disneyland launched one of its most ambitious and most-anticipated efforts, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

To celebrate its birthday, a cavalcade that includes Resort Ambassadors, the Dapper Dans and Disney characters will make their way through the park, according to the website WDWInfo.com. The event will take place at 2:50 p.m., and then at 5:25 p.m.