It's all about a father's dream. The father was Walt Disney and the dream was a place he could take his two little girls and just have a good, clean day of family fun. While watching his two daughters ride the carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Walt Disney had one of his ideas. The idea circled his imagination like those carousel horses, spinning into shapes familiar to fans of his animated films. His alter ego, Mickey Mouse, jumped onto one of those horses and gave substance to Walt's dream. The dream was born on July 17, 1955 and the place is Disneyland.
Michael Eisner, the outgoing CEO of the Disney Corp., told spectators at the Happiest Homecoming on Earth celebration that the next 18 months of festivities are a commemorative of "where Walt's dreams have taken us and where we've taken Walt's dreams." Walt's dream is as vibrant today as it was 50 years ago.
Disneyland opened it's public celebration today amidst crowds of people of all ages, all of them wanting to be a part of Disneyland history. Take a peek at some of the activites the past three days held in this photo tribute. (All photos are exclusive images of this author, except where noted.)
Disneyland Gallery 2005: The Happiest Homecoming on Earth
May 4, 2005
It's called the Happiest Homecoming on Earth--the 50 year anniversary celebration beginning tomorrow. To get ready for the public celebration, Disneyland was closed to the public today. Does that mean the Magic Kingdom was empty? The Happiest Place on Earth was closer to the most crowded place in town as Disneyland's special guests, VIPs, and media crowded the streets, shops, rides and attractions.
Many guests were ordinary people, families who won tickets in radio, TV or other giveaways. They're here from all over the country, on dream vacations they would never achieve without this ticket. Their attendance is a memory to them, but it's now a part of history on a day when cameras of the world are pointed here.
Media teams are everywhere, pointing huge clunky cameras and camcorders at the fortunate public guests, celebrities, Disney legends (an insider Disney term for people who've contributed to the Disney legacy: illustrators, animators, voice talent, even former cast members [another Disney insider term for employee]). Many of the invited guests are Disney fans, who have accepted with grace the shortened term fan from its original etymology of fanatic. They're buying up all of the Disney anniversary memorabilia at alarming rates; some to keep, but it's not hard to figure out why the word e-bay is buzzing everywhere.
From inside Disneyland, one would think that this is the biggest event since the Prince Charles and Diana Royal Wedding. Perhaps to Disney enthusiasts it is. Afterall, there's love and romance from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty danced on their float with their prince. Mickey and Minnie looked down from a castle parapet creeping down Main Street, waving and blowing kisses at their subjects.
Where is the Ovation in all of this? There are smiles everywhere. Even amidst the many inconveniences--closed off areas for the media circus, celebrity golden carpets, unaccessible bathrooms--people are celebrating. Celebrating because it feels good. Celebrating in the way Walt Disney may have imagined.