Sixty-eight years ago, something massive was about to happen across the street from where our Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground is today, which would change Anaheim’s face forever. No, it wasn’t the arrival of the Wells Fargo Wagon, the discovery of an egg with two yokes, or the opening of a pool hall. However, one week from today, 68 years ago and quicker than you can say, “Ya Got Trouble,” Anaheim was about to welcome something so big and positive that it would forever change the concept of “family vacation” and create an entirely new form of outdoor entertainment.
As you can see above, even the vintage city mascot of Andy Anaheim was ready to herald the arrival of Disneyland, which opened on Sunday, July 17, 1955. The opening was broadcast across the nation on ABC, putting our mutual hometown of Anaheim in the spotlight to an estimated 90 million viewers in what was then the largest live television broadcast up to that time. Many top stars of the day attended the festivities, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Debbie Reynolds, and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan co-hosted the ceremonies.
Today, we all recognize July 17 as Disneyland’s birthday. However, the park didn’t officially open to the public until the next day, Monday, July 18, as you can see above and below. No one, maybe not even Walt Disney himself, could have imagined what a positive influence and global impact his original magic kingdom would have on Anaheim, on California, the international field of tourism and hospitality, and it launched the global theme park industry.
We’re proud and happy to have Disneyland Resort as our neighbor across the street. There is no better sight than seeing our guests returning to our hotel full of happy memories and smiles after a full day of being Mickey’s guests.