Disneyland's Fiftieth Anniversary

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Over the past fifty years, the Walt Disney Company has proven itself over and over again to the world. The Walt Disney Company as a whole consists of over twenty smaller companies: ABC, Miramax Films, and ESPN to name a few. Within the past half century the Disney Company has built eleven theme parks, three water parks, and countless resorts and hotels as well as a cruise line which cover the globe. Expanding from Anaheim, California to Hong Kong and Tokyo, the Disney theme park line expounds the globe. But let Walt Disney’s original “Magic Kingdom” not be forgotten as the globe celebrates the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth.

Fifty years ago, Disneyland, the “happiest place on earth” opened to the public. But this dream was no snap of the fingers, no, it took years of hard work and money. Walt Disney, a man from the small town of Marceline, Missouri, had a dream. He wanted a place where both the typical American family could spend a day together in a clean environment and also that they may have some form of entertainment while they were together. Walt was already an accomplished filmmaker and had the funds he needed, of course not all of the funds. His proposed idea was no more than a small park right across the road from the Disney Studios in Burbank that consisted of no more than a train ride and a carousel. This was far from what Disneyland initially became but nonetheless, it was a start, and a start is all that Disney needed.

Work began. Walt Disney’s dream had begun. One-hundred sixty acres of citrus trees had been cleared and several houses torn down in what would soon be the site of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Work was long and difficult in the hot California sun making construction take a lot longer than expected. Unlike Walt’s other project in Florida, which would not come until much later, the Disneyland project was by no means a secret. The ABC television company made a deal with Disney to allow Disney to produce a weekly show that was “coincidentally” titled Disneyland and “coincidentally” had Walt as the host. Walt saw television as an open market to promote movies or in this case, Disneyland. Disneyland the show was fairly cheap to make and produce as Disney already had the film equipment necessary for filming.

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