Skip to Main Content

Disneyland® Resort Celebrates 60 Years of Magic!

Design Trends

Disneyland® Resort marks 60 years of magic this year and is showcasing an array dazzling entertainment, including three new nighttime events – Disneyland Forever; Paint the Night; and World of Color: Celebrate! During the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the park is decked out with shimmering, glittering décor. Even the iconic jewels we’ve come to know such as the Sleeping Beauty Castle have been transformed with celebration enhancements.


Disneyland Park opened July 17, 1955 and has been entertaining families, non-stop, for decades. This inspiring resort has continued to excite and inspire dreams for kids of every age. Walt Disney’s vision was of a place where children and parents could have fun together. When Disney dreamed of this magical park, the more elaborate and imaginative the dream became. The original plan was for the park to be located on eight-acres, yet Disney soon realized that would be too small. Through research and negotiation, he found the perfect 160-acre parcel of land in Anaheim, California.




Photo Credits Above: Sara McLean

Designing the park was the next challenge. How do you make the unbelievable believable? How do you build a huge castle in Anaheim? Disney and his studio staff began the task of building something that had never been done before. Walt planned out five unique lands:

Main Street U.S.A. -- At the front of the park,Disney wanted to re-live a typical turn-of-the-century main street. He stated, "For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar to the days of
grandfather's youth."

Adventureland -- This area represents an exotic, tropical land in a far-off region of the world. Disney said, "To create a land that would make this dream reality, we pictured ourselves far from civilization, in the remote jungles of Asia and Africa."

Frontierland -- This land was created to re-live the early days of America. Disney explained, "All of us have a cause to be proud of our country's history, shaped by the pioneering spirit of our forefathers … Our adventures are designed to give you the feeling of having lived, even for a short while, during our country's pioneer days."

Fantasyland -- A land dreamed up with the goal to make wishes come true based on the lyrics “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Disney said, "What youngster... has not dreamed of flying with Peter Pan over moonlit London, or tumbling into Alice's nonsensical Wonderland? In Fantasyland, these classic stories of everyone's youth have become realities for youngsters -- of all ages -- to participate in."

Tomorrowland -- This land was created to look at the wonders of the future. Walt declared, "Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come... The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future." After having some issues with designing Tomorrowland, he further stated, “right when we do Tommorrowland, it will be out-dated."

Opening day arrived, and, with 6,000 invitations mailed, the park opened. Soon a crush of more than 28,000 attendees over-ran the park. Most tickets were counterfeit. Other disasters mounted throughout the day, though Walt Disney dedicated the park that day at the age of 53. Over time, with all the kinks and troubles worked out, the park soon saw success and, by 1965, 10 years after opening day, 50 million visitors had come through the gates.

Fast-forward to 60 years later, and it’s time to experience a new era of sights and sounds in the park. Beginning with the three new nighttime parades:

Disneyland Forever: This new mesmerizing spectacle showcases a mix of pyrotechnics and visual effects. It features two original songs -- “Live the Magic” and “Kiss Goodnight” -- both written by Disney legend Richard M. Sherman.

YouTube clip courtesy Inside the Magic

Paint the Night: Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell lead off this dazzling new nighttime parade with a colorful palette of more than 1 million glowing lights. Tinkerbell and other performers change the light colors with the wave of a wand, using wireless infrared technology. "She's able to tap at the float and cause the floats the come to life in a different fashion with different lighting looks," Mike Layman, technical director of Disney Creative Entertainment
told CNET's Brian Tong. Luminescent floats, costumed performers and Disney as well as Pixar story characters pop up throughout the parade on Main Street, U.S.A.





Photo Credits: Top - Getty Images; Lower Three - Sara McLean. YouTube Clip courtesy Inside the Magic

World of Color: Celebrate! This nighttime show features beloved images from Disney and Disney-Pixar films projected onto immense water screens in Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure Park. Featuring nearly 1,200 fountains shooting water up to 200 feet in the air to create a 19,000-square-foot projection “screen,” the soaring music that accompanies the images is equally momentous, as are the stunning fire, fountain, fog and laser effects.




Photo Credits: Sara McLean. Youtube Clip courtesy Inside the Magic

Disney began its 60th anniversary celebrations in May with an all-night park event that was so popular that the park reached capacity. It was reported that people had to be turned away at the gates.

Even though Disney wasn't able to see how his park and his company prospered and grew into the 21st
Century, his legacy lives on. Throughout Disneyland and throughout the entire world, this innovator and designer continues to be an integral thread to every child, young and old. Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

To learn more, visit

To read more on Disney's and Salvador Dali’s enduring friendship and their work, read our specs+spaces report at

Photo Credits: Sara McLean, Getty Images, Inside the Magic (YouTube Clips) © 2005–2015 Distant Creations Group, LLC. All rights reserved

Disneyland® is a registered trademark of the Walt Disney Corporation.