Disneyland goes golden for its 18-month-long 50th anniversary.
In the frenzied planning for Disneyland's 50th anniversary, ideas flew. Maybe we can tie this to our cousins at ABC, someone suggested, like "Extreme Makeover: Disneyland Edition."
Imagine the scene: hordes of Magic Kingdom visitors waiting for the unveiling of a spruced-up Sleeping Beauty's castle, Disneyland's signature landmark.
The idea didn't pan out, but as park officials prepare for today's launch of Disneyland's 18-month, 50th-anniversary celebration, dubbed the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth," they are still likening it to a major makeover.
"If you had been here a year ago and then you were to come back now and see what's been done, there isn't a single attraction that hasn't been updated," Disneyland Resort spokesman Duncan Wardle said. "There isn't a single façade that hasn't been painted."
In addition to the bejeweled castle, gussied up with three shades of pink paint, golden crowns and royal banners, there are two new parades, new fireworks, two new attractions and, in July, the reopening of Space Mountain, the venerable, frightfully dark indoor roller coaster that has been closed since April 2003.
Disney officials originally expected the castle's face-lift to take three months, but instead, Wardle said, the project was whittled down to six hours. Workers were to complete the final touch-ups to the 77-foot castle by 4 a.m. today.
For those who are slaves to their scrapbooks, the park has added 50 new "Kodak moments." In addition, 34 huge photo mosaics composed of thousands of images submitted by vacationing families are on display around the park.
There will be signs of the golden anniversary — whose official date is July 17 — at every turn. Vehicles from the original 1955 attractions including Autopia and Mad Tea Party will be painted gold, as will as the Main Street Carriage and Mark Twain Riverboat.
To finish the refurbishing, the park closed Wednesday — the only time besides President Kennedy's assassination and 9/11 that it shut down for reasons other than horrible weather.
More than 1,000 members of the media have been credentialed to cover the opening week's events, and 85 news crews were set to film Wednesday evening's celebrity-studded "Gold Carpet" event.