53 years ago today Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom of Disneyland opened to the world with a, rare for the time, live broadcast television special featuring some of the biggest stars of the day and a crowd of excited invite only guests (plus about an equal number of guests who used counterfeit tickets or snuck in over the low berms). Walt’s vision of a little park where parents and children and family members of all ages, races, creeds, and nationalities could have fun together was a huge hit and quickly outpaced all estimates for attendance. No one since has quite matched the magic of the Happiest Place On Earth and I doubt anyone ever will.
Disneyland, the Imagineers old and new, cast members who make the magic every day, and all the special attractions, hidden nooks, exquisite detail, featured performers, and rich history hold a near and dear place in my heart. Everyday I’m away from ‘the park’ I feel a little heavier in my heart. But the magic is available in smaller doses at other parks like Walt Disney World, via the passion of its fans, and in my memories, which I will always cherish.
So Happy Birthday to Disneyland! And for everyone who, like me, wishes they were walking right down the middle of Main Street USA this morning instead of heading into work. Here’s a couple videos to help wipe away a few of those blues: