On May 5th, 2005, the Disneyland in California as well as all other ten Disney theme parks from all around the world began to celebrate the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth.” The “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” is Disney’s first truly global celebration and is centered on the 50th anniversary of Disney’s very first theme park – Disneyland. This celebration is the largest in Disney history, and will operate for an epic eighteen months before it comes to a complete end. Since Disneyland’s grand opening in 1955, more than 500 million people have visited the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland’s homecoming event features an adorned version of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a new parade and fireworks spectacular, a new ride in Tomorrow Land, and the long awaited reopening of Space Mountain.
The heart of the 50th Anniversary Homecoming event is the renovation of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The landmark castle, an international symbol of Disney magic, has undergone changes to literally transform itself into the “Crown Jewel” of Disney and Disneyland. Disney Imagineers gowned the castle in richly colored royal banners and decorated the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with large, sparkling, custom made jewel-like sapphires, diamonds, rubies all trimmed in gold. To top things off, the five most prominent spires of the castle will each be adorned with golden bejeweled tiaras – all 5 tiaras represent iconography of each particular decade of Disneyland history.
The creation of Disneyland is represented by a symbolic pair of famous Mickey “Ears” peeking up over the horizon to see the wonders to come. One crown commemorates the creation of Tomorrowland in 1965, and another honors Disneyland’s beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. One tiara represents the Indiana Jones Adventure and wields the famous “Eye of Mara” guarded by snakes while the last and final tiara celebrates the 50th anniversary of Disneyland represented by fireworks and the one and only Tinker Bell herself.
“Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams,” the all new nostalgic musical parade was created specifically by Disney Imagineers for Disney’s 50th anniversary event features one of the largest casts of Disney characters and performers ever assembled. The innovative new daytime parade highlights classic Disney stories
and characters that have contributed to the establishment of Disneyland over the past five decades. Imagineers combined our favorite Disney moments and beloved characters with gorgeous floats, classic songs, and energetic performers to bring the Disney inner child out of all of us. The parade features seven floats featuring: Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, the Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, the Lion King, and a float specifically designed for Disney Princesses and their Princes.
Continuing with the 50th anniversary’s nostalgic tone in celebration well into
the night, Disney technicians, artists, and Imagineers developed an all new nighttime fireworks extravaganza, entitled “Remember… Dreams Come True.” Using the nighttime skies over Disneyland as its canvas, the fireworks spectacular emphasizes the power of wishes and dreams. During the show, Tinker Bell surprises the audience with a truly unprecedented flight sprinkling pixie dust above Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – a scene reminiscent of the opening sequence for The Wonderful World of Disney. “Remember… Dreams Come True,” wonderfully incorporates new state-of-the-art pyrotechnics technology, custom pyrotechnics, over 25 Disney movie tunes, and over 80 pieces of Disneyland attraction music, sound effects, and familiar vocal sound bites for
a breathtaking show.
The new ride unveiled for the 50th Anniversary is Tomorrow Land’s new “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters.” Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 2, “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters,” is the first theme park attraction in the world to feature a real-time interactive on-line opponent using webcam technology. This new technology allows guests on the attraction and player’s online at home to play together increasing the score of riders on the attraction by raising the value of the targets along the way.
Also in Tomorrow Land, the long waited return of Space Mountain happens July 15, leading to Disney’s actual 50th anniversary on July 17. The Space Mountain attraction sports brand new special effects, new rocket vehicles, a new custom composed soundtrack, as well as a new finale featuring a longer re-entry tunnel filled with amazing lighting effects.
As a Southern California resident, you have to travel down to Disneyland to take part in its 50th anniversary event. Disneyland’s not called the Happiest Place on Earth for nothing! So what are you waiting for? Let go and let loose for a day – skip your classes or just call in sick for work. Go have some fun at Disneyland!