• Slideshow Photos

    Throwback Disneyland

    Disneyland, Walt Disney's metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opened on July 17, 1955. Celebrate Throwback Thursday with a nostalgic look at the Happiest Place on Earth.

  • Image: Walt Disney shaking hands with Mickey Mouse doll behind scale model of the Sleeping Beauty Castle en

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    Throwback Disneyland -

    Disneyland, Walt Disney's metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opened on July 17, 1955. Walt Disney himself came up with the concept for the amusement park, and brought it to fruition. Since its opening, Disneyland has undergone a number of expansions and renovations. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.

    In the early 1950s, Walt Disney shakes hands with a Mickey Mouse doll behind a scale model of the Sleeping Beauty Castle for his forthcoming Disneyland.

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
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    Making magic -

    The more Walt Disney dreamed of his future "magical park," the more imaginative and elaborate his plans became.

    In 1954, just one year before Disneyland opened, Walt shared his ideas with potential investors by using maps and concept drawings to show what Disneyland would be like.

    Disneyland / Disneyland
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    The future site of Disneyland -

    The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Walt Disney purchased the acreage from over 17 different landowners in order to build his dream park.

  • Image: DISNEYLAND, artist William J. Koch working on a diorama model for one of Disneyland's attractions be

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    Magic in miniature -

    Artist William J. Koch works on a diorama model for one of Disneyland's attractions before it opens circa 1955.

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
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    Telling it on television -

    Walt Disney stands in front of an early rendering by Disney legend Peter Ellenshaw as he unveils his plans for Disneyland to a national television audience during the premiere of "Disneyland," the television show, on October 27, 1954.

  • Image: DISNEYLAND, Sleeping Beauty Castle under construction, 1955.

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    Building a dream -

    Construction for the magical park began on July 21, 1954, just 12 months before the park was scheduled to open.

    The cornerstone of Disney's Fantasyland section was the Sleeping Beauty's castle.

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Image: DISNEYLAND, Sleeping Beauty Castle under construction, 1955.

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    Castle in the air -

    A young boy stands by as the Sleeping Beauty Castle continues construction in 1955.

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
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    King of the castle -

    Walt Disney passes through the arches of the finished Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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    Threshold of a dream -

    The first children to enter Fantasyland charge across the drawbridge on opening day in 1955.

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    Opening the Happiest Place on Earth -

    Walt Disney prepares for a speech on Disneyland's Opening Day, July 17, 1955.

    Opening Day attendance was 28,154, and 90 million viewers watched "Dateline: Disneyland" on television. Disneyland opened to the public with general admission of $1.

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    Their cup of tea -

    Children enjoy the Mad Tea Party ride at Disneyland on July 19, 1955. The whirling teacups were, and still are, a staple of Fantasyland.

    AP / AP
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    Nixon visits Disneyland -

    Then-Vice President Richard Nixon and his family help Walt Disney introduce the Disneyland Monorail, on June 14, 1959.

    The Disneyland Monorail opened with two Mark I trains, the Red and the Blue. In 1961, the monorail was extended to include the Disneyland Hotel and the fleet was upgraded to Mark II trains. Today, there are three Mark V monorails -- Red, Blue and Purple -- in service at the Disneyland Resort. At the time it was the only such system in the Western Hemisphere.

    In the 45 years since, over 150 million passengers have traveled nearly 3 million miles gliding to and from Disneyland.

    Disneyland / Disneyland
  • Image: DISNEYLAND, The Matterhorn under construction, 1959.

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    Moving mountains -

    Construction for the bobsled attraction known as the Matterhorn began in 1959. It was the first ever tubular steel continuous track roller coaster and because of that, the Matterhorn is an American Coaster Enthusiasts landmark.

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  • Image: The Matterhorn at Disneyland

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    View from the top -

    The Skytram passes through the center of the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride at Disneyland in the late 1980s.

    CORBIS / CORBIS
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    Crowd pleaser -

    Circa 1955, crowds are seen walking around the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California.

    Since Disneyland opened its doors in 1955, thousands of people have passed through the magical gates.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: 'The New Mickey Mouse Club'

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    M-I-C-K-E-Y.... -

    The television show 'The New Mickey Mouse Club,' was filmed at Disneyland circa 1977. The top image shows children dressed as Mouseketeers hanging from the sides of a Disneyland cable car. The bottom image shows a group of children dressed as Mouseketeers singing and dancing.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: DISNEYLAND, U.S.A, 1957

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    All aboard! -

    From the Main Street Station, visitors could take a train tour of the park in 1957, and they still can today.

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
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    The man and the mouse -

    The 16-year-old statue of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney, titled "Partners," sits at the center of the Magic Kingdom to greet the ticket holders as they enter the park.

    Budget Travel / Budget Travel