Happy 50th Birthday Disneyland!
Sunday, 17 Jul 2005 | Disneyland
Today, Toni, my dad and I arrived at Disneyland at 4:30 am to ensure admission into Disneyland on the 50th Anniversary of its opening to the public on July 17th, 1955. We parked in the Puumba lot. We waited in a line in the Timone tram area and were then given wristbands and escorted to the entrance of Disney's California Adventure. We had our bags and tickets checked upon entry to DCA. In the Paradise Pier area, we waited in another line according to the colored bracelets we were given. Ours were green and orange. Each colored bracelet was issued for a group of 1,000 guests. We were in the sixth group.
When we were escorted across the esplanade from DCA to Disneyland, we went straight through in a large pathway into Disneyland. From the esplanade we started to notice cast members lined up along the edges of the path, waving and clapping for us and telling us Happy Birthday and Welcome Home. It's hard to convey in words, but the feeling of hospitality and welcome was wonderful. We felt so special, like VIPs, runners being cheered on to the finish line at a marathon or like rock stars as Toni put it. As we entered Main Street U.S.A., on the right side by the Bank, more and more cast members were lined up and even more along the edges of Main Street leading down to the hub and Sleeping Beauty Castle. I will always remember this feeling and the beaming look of joy on Toni's face. You couldn't help but smile. ;D
An estimated 75,000 cupcakes were served by cast members to guests throughout the park. Upon entry to Disneyland we were each given a souvenir program and a set of Golden Mickey Ears with the date July 17, 2005 embroidered on the back.
Once we got a locker on Main Street, we unanimously decided to go have breakfast because we were hungry and wanted to get off of our feet for a while. So, we headed off to the Plaza Inn. They usually have the Disney character buffet there, but the cast member at the entrance informed us that it was a non-character buffet today. That was fine with us. The food was quite good and they had a nice selection of items to choose from including Mickey shaped waffles, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, french toast, bacon and sausage, just to name a few.
After breakfast, we shopped for a while on Main Street because the shops were very empty, which was very nice. It was then approaching 10 am, the time for the ceremony in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. To avoid the crowds around the castle, we opted to go to Tomorrowland to view the ceremony on one of the jumbo screens set up throughout the park. We were allowed to go through the cast member area behind the Corn Dog Cart on Main Street directly to the exit of Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. We passed the Inn Between cast member eating facility on the shortcut path. It was neat because I had never been behind the scenes and that route is not usually open for guests.
The ceremony was hosted by Art Linkletter. It was his 93rd birthday and he had the distinction of attending the opening day in 1955. He looked very good for his age. Michael Eisner, Robert Igor, Diane Disney Miller (Walt Disney's eldest daughter) and Arnold Schwartzeneggar all spoke during the ceremony. Mickey Mouse was in rare form when he marched in with a fanfare. The ceremony ended with a round of fireworks and a flock birds released into the air.
The only attraction we visited was The Enchanted Tiki Room by my dad's request. Afterwards, we stopped by the Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland for a Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Skewer. We love them with a squirt of lemon. I make these at home and everyone loves them, except I serve them with limes. :)
We decided to call it a day quite early because we were quite tired by then. I didn't mind coming back another day to experience the newly revamped Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.
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