Disneyland Celebrates Its 57th Birthday
“To all who come to this happy place, know: Disneyland is your land,” the entertainment magnate said from beyond the grave. “Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the creeds and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world.”
The speakers then swelled in volume, and the heavily processed squeak of another man’s voice announced: “Now, let’s join together in singing happy birthday to the happiest place on earth!”
Thousands of visitors and employees pulled together in a circle to sing out, snap photos, smile and wave under the glaring sun of a mid-July afternoon. An assemblage of Disney characters paraded around the circumference of the park, bouncing and lampooning to the delight of children and adults alike, many of whom seized the chance to yell themselves hoarse. Finally, a handful of fireworks glittered up in the air with a pop.
A Disney radio-ready tune came on as the residual smoke fell out of the sky, and the foam-headed cartoon characters quickly retired to their usual posts. The huge mass of attendees reeled lightly from the excitement, before shuffling back into the park-goer’s status quo: riding rides, savoring savories and contentedly milling about.
John McClintock, Senior Publicist for Disney, surveyed the scene, and pronounced it hardly out of the ordinary. “It’s a hot day in July. We’d be busy anniversary or not,” he said.
Disneyland is commonly packed. In addition to the hundreds of people streaming onto the park grounds every minute, McClintock says 2,300 workers are currently employed across the whole of the complex, including Disney resorts and Downtown Disney storefronts.
A few guests stood out from that crowd at this annual celebration: men and women of the United States’ Olympic Volleyball team were on premises for a public farewell. The soon-to-be olympians took part in a separate parade, chatting and posing for photos with well wishers. Hardcore sports nuts turned out to display their fandom, as well as toddlers, just the right stature to hug each athlete firmly by the knees.
David Smith, who will play middle blocker for US National Team in London, described the whole experience as “pretty fun.”
“We only got to go on a couple rides, but we were in the parade as well and it was a lot of fun," Smith said. "They did a good job of making it a special event.”
He estimated that nearly the entire men’s team was present at the event, and fewer than three members of the women’s team were unable to attend. His wife Kelly Smith spent the day of Disneyland’s 57th birthday at the park with David and their son Coen, who recently turned eight weeks old.
“This is his first time in Disneyland,” she said, as he babbled in the shade of his stroller’s solar shield. She added: it definitely lived up to his expectations.