Not many oracular pronouncements of a half-century ago have turned out to be not just correct, but insanely predictive. This one was. Fifty years ago, on July 17, 1955, standing on 160 acres in Anaheim, at the opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney said "To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."
In fact, Disneyland hasn't just become "our land." As the park today launches its 18-month celebration of its 50th birthday, it's apparent we have become Disneyland, as Walt's imagined reality has had a profound influence in shaping American culture. Its imprint includes our notions of childhood and entertainment; the construct of what a vacation should be; the definition of a "brand"; our shared visions of the past and future; and our archetypes about small-town America.