Mickey Mouse and crew kicked off an 18-month global celebration at Disney parks worldwide last week, as the original Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., marks its 50th birthday this year.
New attractions will make their debut this year at the Disney theme parks in California, Florida, Paris and Tokyo, culminating in the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland on Sept. 12.
Commemorative merchandise available to attendees includes golden “Mickey ears” plus nostalgic collectibles, CDs, books, pins and retro clothing with 50-year-old logos.
I LOVE A PARADE
On Thursday, Disneyland showed off a spruced up Sleeping Beauty Castle and “Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams,” a parade featuring movie-character floats as big as 60 feet long by 30 feet tall, along with acrobats, puppetry and elaborate musical production numbers.
The new nighttime “Dreams Come True” pyrotechnics spectacular includes state-of-the-art pyro and more environmentally friendly air launch systems, along with dramatic lighting and sound technologies, the resort reports. Famous pixie "Tinker Bell" flies from the top of the Matterhorn (some 13 stories high) along a 500-foot flight path at speeds up to 20 mph to dip, glide and soar over Fantasyland.
Disney’s California Adventure theme park next door now features its “Block Party Bash,” an 11-minute performance featuring more than 60 dancers, 16 acrobats and 30 electric scooters along with 26 characters from Pixar films.
May 5 saw celebrities including movie star Julie Andrews, who played famed nanny Mary Poppins in the blockbuster Disney film of the same name, pay tribute to Disneyland's founder, the late Walt Disney.
"From Tomorrowland to Adventureland to parties at our new Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, there's no place quite like the Disneyland Resort for a meeting or private themed event," says Robert Donahue, director, Disneyland Resort Sales and Services. "Walt Disney built the original Disney theme park 50 years ago right here in Anaheim, and has left us a rich legacy of resources and inspiration for new and memorable group events."
Photos at top and bottom by Special Events Magazine; center photo copyright 2005 Disney.