HAPPY BIRTHDAY DISNEYLAND: From Rocky Start To Global Amusement Empire

disneyland paris

Photo: Daniel Aragay on Flickr

On this day in 1955, Disneyland officially opened to the public.Walt Disney meant for his creation to be an amusement park both children and adults could enjoy.

What he ultimately created, however, was a multi-billion dollar operation that has expanded beyond amusement parks to include cruises, resorts, and even a planned city.

We’ve charted the history Disney theme parks, beginning with the place (and incredibly lucrative money-making venture) that first took Disney from the screen to real life.

Walt Disney got the idea for Disneyland from visiting amusement parks with his daughters.

He imagined an amusement park adults and children could enjoy together.

Disney invited reporters and special guests to the park on July 17, 1955, for the park's dedication. It was a fiasco.

Plumbers were on strike, so the drinking fountains didn't work. Women's heels sunk into the newly poured asphalt. There were so many counterfeit tickets that the park was overrun with guests.

Disney and company execs would later refer to the day as 'Black Sunday.'

On Opening Day a day later, crowds gathered outside the park at 2AM to buy tickets.

The first person to buy a ticket and enter the park was David MacPherson.

On Opening Day, a general admission ticket cost $1.

Attractions cost between $0.10 and $0.35 per ride.

Today, general admission costs $80 and rides are included in the price.

Sources: JustDisney.com and Disney.com

The movie tells the story of three children who won a trip to Disneyland in 1956.

Disney envisioned more control and a larger scope for his next project -- Walt Disney World Resort.

He also wanted to tap into East Coast markets.

Walt Disney died December 15, 1966.

His brother and business partner, Roy, stayed on as CEO of Disney to oversee the completion of Disney World.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971.

The park today is the most popular in the world, with around 17 million visitors annually.

EPCOT centre opened on October 1, 1982.

It was initially meant to be an 'Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow' -- a Utopian city planned by Walt Disney -- but ultimately became a theme park.

The planned-city concept was later translated in the construction of Celebration, FL.

Tokyo Disneyland opened on April 15, 1983.

The park has seven separate themed areas.

Euro Disneyland opened in Marne-la-Vallée, France, on April 12, 1992.

It was renamed Disneyland Paris two years later.

In the early 1990's, Disney execs announced plans to expand the original Disneyland.

They agreed to build Disney California Adventure in 1995.

Disney Magic became the first ship to operate as part of Disney Cruise Line.

It took to the sea on July 30, 1998.

Disney's California Adventure -- the second park at Disneyland -- opened on February 8, 2001.

Negative press impacted early attendance.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened on September 12, 2005.

Cast members speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

In 2007, plans were announced to expand Disney California Adventure.

The project cost a whopping $1.1 billion.

Shanghai Disney Resort is slated to open in 2015.

Groundbreaking began this April.

Disneyland, the original park in Disney's empire, had nearly 15.98 million visitors in 2010.

Its attendance was bested only by Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida (16.97 million visitors).

Source: TEA Attendance Report

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