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  1. #1

    • Darkbeer
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    When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic Docs

    Spent the afternoon at a couple of Downtown Anaheim locations. Both the Central Library, where they had the local newspaper at the time, the Anaheim Bulletin, on microfiche, and the Heritage Room at the Museo, which contains historical documents, including many donated by the Walt Disney Company. (Both are on Broadway, the central library is at Harbor, Museo is at Anaheim Blvd).

    After looking at the documents and news reports, it is clear that when Walt Disney was alive, Opening Day was ALWAYS celebrated on July 18th.

    The last official document i found that mentions July 18th as opening day was in 1967, a year after Walt Disney passed on.

    The first document/press release I found that changes the opening date to July 17th was in 1970, the 15th anniversary. But it had some serious errors, including claiming a photo taken on Monday, July 18th, 1955 as being taken on the 17th.


    This photo was taken on Monday MORNING, July 18th, 1955, when the Disneyland Marketing folks decided to bypass the first person in line, David MacPherson, and instead took the photo with two young kids when the gates opened, prior to the official opening day ceremonies, where Walt Disney did once again (the first was the 17th) read the dedication to the crowd.


    I got some great photos/scans, many regarding July 18th as opening date, but also some others that are generic, but just plain neat!

    Here is a link to the full album.

    Darkbeer : photos : Disneyland Historical Documents/Photos - 1955 thru 1970 (11/6/08)- powered by SmugMug

    And a few selected ones...





    Here is a official Press Release from 1956.



    This official Press Release is from July 11th, 1967. Interesting the terms they use... July 17th as "Dedication Day", and July 18th as "Opening Day"




    Walt Disney cutting the 10th Anniversary cake on Sunday, July 18th, 1965.



    I just LOVE this photo, hope the Circle D folks appreciate it!




    And July 17th is still a VERY important day, it was at the time the biggest Live TV broadcast, and was "Dedication Day" as based on the official Disneyland documents.

    But July 18th is clearly opening day, and should get as much attention as July 17th!
    Last edited by Darkbeer; 11-07-2008 at 12:00 AM. Reason: added two words for clarity issues
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  2. #2

    • Senior Minion
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    I'm sorry, no offense, but when I saw this it just made me laugh. I give you credit, you go to no end to prove your point.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney

  3. #3

    • Lowering Expectations
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    God, Darkbeer, let it go.
    Follow news-savvy @DLtoday on Twitter by clicking on the banner below:


  4. #4

    • Don't lets be silly! ºoº
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    You are too funny Darkbeer!

  5. #5

    • Goofy
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    i guess its official there you have it everyone. thanks darkbeer. great documents there and its so very interesting i love these kinds of things.

  6. #6

    • Animation Domination
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Thanks David.
    This cleans up the mix up date of July 17 or July 18 mess.

  7. #7

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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    I dont think he needs to let go. He has a valid point and why this hasnt been corrected is interesting

  8. #8

    • Angel Fan MC Man
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    You go and do as you see fit, David. We all have the right to look at, or ignore, any thread we come across on MiceChat. Personally, it doesn't really matter to me whether the anniversary is celebrated on the 17th or 18th. During my time there, it was always the 17th...but my first one would have been July of 1974 - obviousluy well after the 1970 change you mentioned.

    In any case, I really enjoyed seeing the things you have presented here. And I, too, love that photo of Walt.

    Well done, my friend.

    -- Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  9. #9

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Darkbeer rocks. Thanks for getting to the bottom of this and for those great early shots.

    I wonder who changed it and why? Hmmmm....

  10. #10

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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    My guess is they changed it because it fell on a better day to celebrate it in 1970.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney

  11. #11

    • Darkbeer
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    My guess is they changed it because it fell on a better day to celebrate it in 1970.
    July 17th, 1970 was on a Friday, so you might be onto something.

    I am still not done with my research, there is plenty more to go.

    But it is clear that from 1955 until July of 1967, opening day was July 18th.

    And sometime between July of 1967 and July of 1970, it changed to the 17th.

    I would LOVE to get the real, definitive answer, but I doubt I will ever get a straight answer as to why the changed it....
    Last edited by Darkbeer; 11-07-2008 at 01:01 AM. Reason: typo
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  12. #12

    • Don't lets be silly! ºoº
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Vault View Post
    I dont think he needs to let go. He has a valid point and why this hasnt been corrected is interesting
    Because you can go to City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. and see documentation which states it opened on the 17th... not to mention you can't always believe what you read in news papers.
    Last edited by DisneyMouse; 11-07-2008 at 12:52 AM.

  13. #13

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    • Skeevy Ray Vaughan
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    TYhanks for doing the legwork, I'm not quite that dedicated. Isn't the some type of amusement park expert that could give us an answer? Even if Walt were alive today, he'd be too old the know.

  14. #14

    • Darkbeer
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyMouse View Post
    Because you can go to City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. and see documentation which states it opened on the 17th... not to mention you can't always believe what you read in news papers.
    Let's see, I posted OFFICIAL Press Releases from the 1950's and 1960's...

    And of course, you can always go to the Opera House and see this OFFICIAL DIsneyland Publication on the wall...

    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  15. #15

    • Don't lets be silly! ºoº
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    Re: When Walt Disney was alive,DL Opening Day was celebrated on July 18th - Historic

    Disneyland was "officially" dedicated on the 17th... and I think that had a lot to do with it. So even if Disneyland "officially" opened on the 18th, the Disney executives felt for whatever reasons in tribute to the Dream Walt Disney had, they felt his dedication date of his Dream was more important to celebrate then the "official" opening to the public.
    Last edited by DisneyMouse; 11-07-2008 at 12:41 AM.

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