July 17, 1955, changed history. That was the date that Disneyland in California officially opened. As we approached the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World here in Florida, it makes me a bit sentimental. If Disneyland hadn’t been a hit, Central Florida wouldn’t look like it does now. I don’t know where my family and I would be, but we certainly wouldn’t be living in Florida. The success of Disneyland has had an impact on millions of lives.
I first visited Disneyland when I was a child. My family and I only went for a day, but it was a day that made a lasting impression. It wasn’t the first time that I ever visited an amusement park, but this was different. I could feel the magic in the air.
I didn’t visit Disneyland again until my own daughter was an adult. The first day we were there was the 62nd anniversary, which made it even more magical. We’ve been lucky enough to go back three times, and we have a fourth trip in the planning stage. Since we live near Walt Disney World we sometimes become complacent here, especially during the hot, humid summer months. It’s a different feeling when we talk about Disneyland. We want to get there early and stay so long that they’ll kick us out of the park. We then want a repeat the next day.
The Disneyland of today is quite different than the Disneyland of 1955. That’s okay, Walt Disney himself said that it would never be complete. There is a lot of speculation on what Walt would have liked and would have hated, but I think that he would overall be happy. His vision changed the world.
Thank you, Walt Disney, for following your vision. You made an impact on my life as a child, and that impact continues all these years later. You’ve provided 66 years of theme park magic. Here’s to many, many more.