Walt Disney opened the doors of the $17 million Disneyland on July 17, 1955. Six months after opening, it had counted more than a million visitors.

To say it was an instant success is an understatement.

The 50th anniversary is “a kind of homecoming to many people,” says officially designated Disney legend Marty Sklar, who joined the company in 1956. “There’s a reason for that, because I think Disneyland really reassures you. I think the world is tough place for many of us and when Disneyland says it’s OK, things can be beautiful, they can work, and I think the whole place has an optimistic tone to it. That was Walt Disney. He was the perennial optimist.”

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