ANAHEIM, Calif. – A celebration 50 years in the making launches simultaneously around the world on May 5, 2005, with the unveiling of the “Happiest Celebration on Earth,” an 18-month global commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the very first Disney theme park – Disneyland, which opened in 1955. This highly-anticipated event marks the first time that all 11 Disney theme parks around the world have joined together for one global celebration.
“When Walt Disney conceived Disneyland, he envisioned a place where the wonder and nostalgia of his much-loved characters and stories would leap off the screen, immersing audiences in magical realms of fantasy and adventure,” said Michael Eisner, CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “Today, that incredible legacy has grown to span 11 theme parks on three continents, and at each of our resort destinations worldwide, we celebrate the fantastic success of Walt’s creative vision and an American original that has grown to become a cherished treasure in the global cultural fabric.”
The “Happiest Celebration on Earth” will be highlighted by the premiere of exciting new entertainment spectaculars and innovative adventures and attractions at Disneyland Resort, California; Walt Disney World Resort, Florida; Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan; and Disneyland Resort Paris in France. Joining the celebration on September 12, 2005, will be Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney’s 11th vacation destination and first theme park in China. The first-of-its-kind global celebration marks the largest debut of new Disney theme park attractions and entertainment ever unveiled.
“Since its opening 50 years ago, Disneyland has been an ambassador of goodwill to the world, transcending race, generation, religion, culture and political divides with its magical, uplifting and often inspiring stories, imaginative experiences and unforgettable innovations,” said Robert Iger, CEO-elect and president and chief operating officer, The Walt Disney Company. “As we commemorate this important milestone, we should remember the remarkable, and at times inexplicable, ability our parks have at forging common bonds among uncommon people, leaving every guest who passes through our gates with a simple smile and memories that will last a lifetime.”
The scope of the celebration includes the debut of more than 15 new shows and attractions, a 12-week West coast itinerary for the Disney Cruise Line – and an entirely new theme park in one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism markets.
“Beginning on May 5, Disney destinations around the world will come together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our very first theme park – Disneyland – and celebrate the beginning of a whole new genre of family entertainment,” said Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Our first-ever global celebration builds on the enduring appeal of the Disney brand, culminating in the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, which extends the Disney brand to another region of the world.”
Over the past five decades, Disney theme parks have grown from Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to a family vacation business that spans three continents and includes four multi-park destinations, a top-rated cruise line and the most popular resort locations in North America, Europe and Asia, creating unequaled vacation experiences for Guests around the world.
“Every year, tens of millions of people visit a Disney destination – creating memories that will last a lifetime,” added Rasulo. “During our 18-month celebration, we are inviting our Guests from around the world to come home to their favorite Disney destination and celebrate with us what promises to be one of the biggest events in Disney history. It’s an event our Guests will not want to miss.”
The worldwide “Happiest Celebration on Earth” salutes 50 years of Disney theme park magic at each of the following Disney Destinations around the globe:
Disneyland Resort (Anaheim, California)
At Disneyland Resort in California, the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” becomes the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth,” a unique opportunity for new and returning guests to be part of an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime landmark event and the Park’s biggest homecoming celebration ever.
- Sleeping Beauty Castle will be gowned in swaths of richly colored finery, royal banners, bejeweled with precious stones, decorated in gold and topped by five regal turret “crowns,” glowing with enchantment as never before.
- Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams – – Audiences will be overwhelmed by the musical grandeur and visual spectacle of this all-new parade, featuring one of the largest casts of Disney Characters and performers ever assembled.
- Remember . . . Dreams Come True – – An all-new fireworks spectacular, the most elaborate in Disneyland history, is highlighted by an incredible musical score, dramatic close proximity pyrotechnics, never-before-seen firework designs and an incredible new flight path for Tinker Bell.
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – – This all-new Tomorrowland adventure is inspired by a Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film, “Toy Story 2,” and takes guests on a comical interactive space mission featuring a groundbreaking online component inviting at-home fans to join in the excitement – – a first for any Disney theme park attraction in the world.
- Space Mountain – – Opening July 15, this Disneyland favorite has been re-“Imagineered,” featuring an all-new queue and Space Port, redesigned rockets, an all-new exhilarating on-board audio soundtrack and “out of this world” new effects.
- Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years – – This new attraction will showcase 50 years of Disneyland memories and features a fun and heartwarming film hosted by famed Hollywood stars Steve Martin and Donald Duck.
Disney’s California Adventure Park
- Block Party Bash – – Disney presents the Pixar Film Pals, who invite you to dance and play as they party their way through Disney’s California Adventure park! It’s the wildest block party in Disney history, entertaining guests with a non-stop musical parade that doubles as a fun-filled interactive street spectacular!
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT (Lake Buena Vista, Florida)
Each of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks will feature an incredible new attraction or show “imported” from Disney parks around the globe – plus a unique new attraction is being created just for the Florida resort:
- At Magic Kingdom, guests will enjoy “Cinderellabration,” an enchanting musical spectacular direct from Tokyo Disneyland. Performed beneath the glittering spires of Cinderella Castle – adorned for the anniversary with a swirling overlay of golden decorations – the live stage show enacts the coronation of Cinderella. This royal event is attended by a coterie of Disney’s most-beloved princesses.
- At Epcot, guests will take flight aboard Soarin’, an exhilarating hang-gliding journey over the magnificent landscapes of California. Appropriately enough, this incredible aerial tour of the Golden State comes to Epcot from Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.
- Also at Epcot, guests can get a sneak peek at the next 50 years of Disney parks when they visit the Hong Kong Disneyland Preview Center located in the China pavilion. Guests pass among showcases filled with plans and photos, costumes and models, maps and artwork of the newest Disney Theme Park, opening September 12, 2005.
- At Disney-MGM Studios, the “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show” spotlights the high-octane best of the movie industry’s stunt masters. Inspired by the blockbuster show from Disneyland Resort Paris, this action extravaganza sends cars, motorcycles and watercraft careening and jumping across an enormous Mediterranean village set.
- At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Lucky the Dinosaur moves from the R&D labs of Walt Disney Imagineering to the streets of DinoLand U.S.A. This first-ever free-roaming Audio-Animatronics will meet and greet guests during a limited engagement.
- Later in the celebration, Walt Disney World Resort will present a new adventure of its own with the opening of the towering “Expedition Everest” thrill ride in the Asia area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The legend of the yeti comes to life in a dramatic high-speed train adventure that combines coaster-style thrills with the excitement of a close encounter with the abominable snowman among the icy peaks of the world’s highest mountain.
Disney Cruise Line (Port of Los Angeles, California / Port Canaveral, Florida)
- Disney Magic – -Seven-night cruise vacations will depart each Saturday for 12 consecutive weeks from the Port of Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, between May 28 and August 19, 2005. This first-ever west coast itinerary will introduce Guests to a whole new way of vacationing with Disney.
Disneyland Resort paris (Paris, France)
- Wishes – – A dramatic combination of glittering fireworks and Disney music is set to light up the skies over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park every night from July 16 until August 28, 2005.
Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo, Japan)
- Disney’s Rock Around the Mouse – – Disney’s very first international theme park honors its namesake with a very special tribute to 1950s Americana when Disneyland was born and rock and roll was king.
- Raging Spirits at Tokyo DisneySea will be the first attraction at Tokyo Disney Resort to feature a vertical 360-degree loop, offering guests a thrilling experience on a high-speed adventure when it opens in July, 2005.
Hong Kong Disneyland (Hong Kong, China)
The legacy of Disneyland continues into the next half century when Hong Kong Disneyland opens its gates September 12, 2005. Classic Disney attractions and unique design elements for China will introduce a new generation to the enchantment of Disney, demonstrating how Disney magic can cross geographical and cultural borders, bringing people and families closer together.