Saturday, July 17, 2010


Happy Birthday, Disneyland! On this day 55 years ago, The Happiest Place on Earth opened its gates for the first time to the world. Walt Disney's dream of a destination where the entire family could enjoy themselves became a reality on July 17, 1955, and has since been - as Walt said during his dedication on opening day - "a source of joy and inspiration to all the world".

I've been going to to Disney theme parks pretty much my whole life, with Walt Disney World in Florida being an annual Summer trip for my family. It wasn't until I moved out West to California in 2000 that I got to experience "the original". Here are just a few memorable moments (of many) from the past 10 years...

May 5, 2005

05.05.05 was the official kick-off day for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Celebration - "The Happiest Homecoming on Earth". Throughout the 18-month festivities, gold ear hats were available (and they still embroidered your name manually). Note the super absurdity of my then shoulder-length hair!

July 28, 2006

I not only spent my birthday at Disneyland, but I was also lucky enough to have a very special b-day lunch at Club 33! For those of you unfamiliar, Club 33 is a private club/restaurant located above New Orleans Square - as well as the only establishment inside Disneyland's gates where alcohol is served.

Membership costs a pretty penny, and the waiting list can be upwards of years. Thanks to one of my co-worker's relatives, we were admitted as guests and treated like royalty. There was something very special about being in this truly beautiful space (not open to the public), knowing that Walt himself had planned it. He passed away 5 months before its opening in 1967, but his presence can be felt in the decor, detail and impeccable service.

January 3, 2010

Celebrities are not uncommon at Disneyland, and I've seen a few over the years. An exciting sighting recently, though, was Josh Holloway. I had just watched seasons 1 through 5 of Lost in the months prior, so seeing Sawyer enter the park right in front of me was a total nerdgasm. I loved that he and his Snooki-looking lady friend had a tour guide (the guy ahead of them in the plaid vest). Good ol' synergy!

Obviously there are literally hundreds of other memories I could recall from The Happiest Place on Earth, but those are just a few highlights. Thanks to everyone who helped make them possible. Despite having a fair share of behind-the-scenes knowledge as to how the parks work, Disneyland is still a place where I can go and be completely immersed in the magic that Walt Disney himself created decades ago. Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

No comments: