On historic day, park looks ahead at ways it'll court tech-savvy kids
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Walt Disney couldn't have planned it better.

Just before LeAnn Rimes took the stage to kick off Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration Thursday, the rain stopped and the show began. Amid fireworks, a 70-piece orchestra and celebrities such as Rimes, Christina Aguilera, Julie Andrews and Art Linkletter, the party started.

Disney theme parks around the world are joining together to celebrate this historic occasion and show the world where Walt's dreams have taken us," said Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

He and other Disney officials talked about the past, present and future at a media event Thursday to launch an 18-month-long Disneyland anniversary celebration in which new entertainment and attractions will be unveiled in Anaheim and the company's other parks.

Space Mountain at Disneyland is expected to be a show-stopper, reworked with new special effects, a new soundtrack and redesigned rockets. It is slated to open July 15.

"It is smooth as butter," said Marty Sklar, principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, the company's in-house think tank.