Children are enjoying the cup and saucer ride in Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on July 19, 1955. (AP Photo)

Sheinelle Jones

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.

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

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
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An imaginative idea
Walt Disney presents his vision of a "magical park." The more he dreamed of it, the more imaginative and elaborate his plans became.

In 1954, the year before Disneyland opened, Walt Disney shared his ideas on TV -- and to potential investors -- by using maps and concept drawings to show what Disneyland would be like.

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.

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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.

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

Magic in miniature

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

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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.

Disneyland Resort
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Image: DISNEYLAND, Sleeping Beauty Castle under construction, 1955.

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.

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

Castle in the air

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

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Walt Disney at Sleeping Beauty Castle

King of the castle

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

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Dashing to Fantasyland

The first children to enter Fantasyland charge across the drawbridge on Opening Day in 1955.

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

Disneyland's Opening Day, July 17, 1955.

Opening Day attendance was 28,154 and 90 million viewers watched Dateline: "Disneyland" on ABC Television.

Disneyland opened to the public with general admission costing $1.

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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Children are enjoying the cup and saucer ride in Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on July 19, 1955. (AP Photo)

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
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Magical motoring

Then-Vice President Richard Nixon and 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.

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.

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Image: DISNEYLAND, The Matterhorn under construction, 1959.

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

View from the top

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

Neil Rabinowitz
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Image: Disneyland

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.

Archive Photos / Hulton Archive
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Image: 'The New Mickey Mouse Club'

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.

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive
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Image: DISNEYLAND, U.S.A, 1957

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
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Image: Walt Disney World

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.

Stephanie Adams Via Budget Trave
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