Happy Anniversary, Disneyland!

George A. Kalogridis

by , President, Dev and Enrichment, Walt Disney World Resort

As we celebrate 55 years today, I look back on my nearly 40 years with The Walt Disney Company and countless memories, and I feel privileged to be back in Anaheim – where it all began.
Mark Twain Riverboat
When I was a little boy, I remember watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” and especially a show entitled “Disneyland After Dark.” I loved seeing the Mark Twain Riverboat come around the bend on the Rivers of America, with all of its lights and a jazz band playing on the deck, and I used to imagine how wonderful it would be to experience something so magical. Now I have the privilege of leading the place where the Mark Twain Riverboat still travels the Rivers of America.

I want to take a moment today to thank all of you – our guests and fans – for the support and loyalty you’ve shown Disneyland park for the last 55 years. I also want to thank and recognize the 20,000 cast members who work hard every day to make the Disneyland Resort a place of “joy and inspiration for all the world.” You truly create happiness, and I am proud of the work you do.

I will be celebrating the day surrounded by guests and cast members, including some of the original cast members from 1955 who worked with Walt Disney as he created Disneyland park. I look forward to hearing their stories and adding to my memory bank today. I hope that you are also able to look back on great memories of your visits to Disneyland park and know that your memories are cherished pieces of our history.

Here’s to the next 55!


  • Happy Birthday!!!! with many more magical years to come!

  • Was at Disneyland on the first day it was opened to the public.

  • I LOVE Disneyland!

    Thanks for the post George, I hope to see more posts from you here on the blog. 🙂

  • happy anniversary Disneyland

  • George,
    The cermony on Saturday was wonderful! I feel honored to have been there. Thank you for taking the time to take a picture with me. You are doing a great job.

  • George, you have the greatest job in the world! Keep Walt’s vision going. I was a cast member in the late 90’s and witnessed the cutbacks by those who proceeded you…please stick to the vision! I know you have much in store for all of us who love the park. We are patiently waiting for something good to come to the Big Thunder Ranch and Festival Arena…perhaps a geyser-fountain-water-playgroung? Just keep up the good work!

  • My Almost 98 year old Grandma was there on opening day as a guest of GE!!! How cool is that…? Disneyland is our FAVORITE PLACE!!!!

  • What a nice post George!

    Happy Birthday to the park that changed how the world would be entertained. It still provides joy and inspiration to all the world.

    Happy 55th Birthday Disneyland!

  • Happy 55th Birthday Disneyland, You ARE the Happiest Place on Earth.

  • Happy 55 . .. it was a great day we spent our 23rd partying right along with you!


  • Disneyland After Dark is one of my favorites too! I’m not old enough to remember seeing it when it originally aired, but its still one of the most amazing nostalgic looks at Disneyland of the past. Happy 55th Anniversary Disneyland!

  • George,

    It was truly an honor to meet you yesterday! It surely made my day to be at Disneyland yesterday and the re dedication was truly magical! Your work in the Disneyland resort is fantastic and keep up the great work!

    Happy 55th Disneyland, I love you!

  • Happy 55th year to a place full of happiness, joy and fun.Thank you for your inspiring words about the park, Mr. K. Please continue to make Disneyland a very special place where special memories are made.

  • Happy Birthday Disneyland !

    This Resort inspired many people and generations world wide.

    I grew up with the dream one to go to Disneyland and experience it since I was growing up in Germany.

    A dream came also true when we got “our” Disneyland in Europe in 1992 and as a visitor as well as a cast member a fan and a share holder I would miss if Disneyland would not be part of my life.

    I can´t wait to get to CA and visit the ORIGINAL!!!

    An exiting anniversary for all who love the Magic Disney brings to us.

    All the BEST for the next 55!

  • Happy 55th Birthday to the Happiest Place on Earth, it seems like only yesterday I went for the first time. I’ve been going consistently for 12 years, and I plan on continuing this tradtition 🙂

  • I wish i could have been there, i love Disneyland so much. I had wanted to go since i was little and was always fascinated with the place. When i was 16 i finally got to go and the second i walked through the turnstile i felt like i was dreaming. Going there was really a dream come true, it’s definitely the happiest place on earth. It sucks i can’t afford to go back till 2012 but seeing as i couldn’t be there i wrote a blog instead. 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary, Disneyland, and may you have MANY more.


  • Hello, George, and thanks for helping to make Disneyland an attraction for both the young and young at heart. I (finally!) visited Disneyland for the very first time for 5 days this past April after having waited nearly 55 years, and I have to say I loved every second of my long overdue visit. But Disneyland would be just a place on the map without the wonderful castmembers that make it truly the happiest place on earth; I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time I was there and it was just as much due to the castmembers as it was to the rides and attractions. Congratulations, and best wishes for the next 55!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree, our cast members really do bring the magic to life. Don’t wait another 55 years to come back and visit us!

  • I shared my memories on our family website.

  • Happy Anniversary Disneyland!!! My favorite place for fun. When I was a child we lived next door to a man who was in construction business and his company put the original roof on the Sleeping Beauty’s castle back when it was being built. If memory serves me correctly, he gave me and my brother passes to go to Disneyland on its earliest days. I know we visited and saw rides that were still under construction. Maybe someone can tell me if it was like an experiment on how the park would be received by the public? I love Disneyland. It is a wonderful American landmark- right up there with Mom, baseball and apple pie!!! Congratulations!!!

  • George, thanks for all the wonderful things you have been doing to the resort. I know fans are happy to have you!

  • Hi George!.. and WELCOME to Anaheim! We all love it when the past Presidents and “big cheese’s” interact with the guests and show up for events to say “Hi” to the fans of Disneyland. It’s important to keep in touch and hear ‘reasonable’ feedback as well. 😉

    THANK YOU for the excellent time today at the park! My wife and I had a great time helping Disneyland celebrate 55 WONDERFUL years. The celebration was perfect and we LOVED the Main Street Cinema movies… WOW! What a nice surprise! I hope that stays there for at least the summer. We’d love to visit the Cinema again and take more time with the films.

    Happy 55th year to the Happiest Place on Earth! Disneyland!! 8):-)

    • Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the classic footage at the Main Street Cinema. It will be showing through Labor Day.

  • Happy 55th! I hope to visit one day as I have only been to WDW!

  • Happy 55th, to the place we all love. If only Walt was still here.

  • George K,

    I really wish I could have been there today with my family, alas my mom has been having medical issues of late and it hasn’t been possible for my dad to leave work for a week either. I really hope that you guys filmed today’s festivities and can release it in the DLR podcast. Also, have you considered bringing back Disneyland After Dark? I would love if that show could come back, or at least something similar. the Disney 365 60 seconds of in the park just doesn’t cut it for me.

    On a side note, any word on when Marvel characters will be spotted in the parks?

  • happy anniversary disneyland!
    wish i was there right now!
    walt would be proud of all the amazing things his company has done so far, can’t wait to see what happens next :]

  • Happy Birthday Disneyland! See ya real soon

  • The weather was hot, but the presentation was cool at noon on the steps of the Main Street train station. I’m so happy to be here for the 55th anniversary! I love the throwback ’55 designs for the merchandise, too.

  • Happy Birthday to the most wonderful and the original Disneyland California!

    Thank you Mr. Kalogridis for sharing!

  • You ROCK George K!!! Thanks for loving Disneyland and please continue to keep Walt’s vision!

  • I remember watching a special on opening day, I’m sure on Wonderful World of Disney, and how exciting it was. My entire family watched of course. We lived in AZ and went to California often for a few days on the beach. Well…>we went in November of 1955 and spent two days at Disneyland. I still have the parking tickets showing the time and date stamps, I have the map of Tom Sawyer Island, which even showed where to fish! Still have the souvenirs. I particularly remember holding my Dad’s hand as we walked into Frontierland, and I remember riding with him on Peter Pan. I’ve been many times since, including the day Haunted Mansion opened, but I’ll never forget that first visit.

    Congratulations and best wishes for another 55 years!

  • 55 Years ago today, Disneyland, and the inception of all Disney parks was born. Amazing what one man could do with a dream, and a dedicated group of people who supported his creative vision with their own imagination.

    Happy 55th, Disneyland!

  • Happy Anniversary Disneyland! I wish I could be at the park today to help celebrate and get my anniversary ear hat, but work must come first. I remember my parents started bringing me in the late 70’s for two trips a year, once for summer fun and the second, to see the Christmas decorations that were up. My wife and I now come to the park at least twice a month, and I plan to continue this happy tradition when we have kids as well and watch the joy in their faces a they meet Mickey & Friends. Here’s to another 55+ magical years, Disneyland!

  • Happy Birthday Disneyland! You are a world treasure!

Comments are closed.