The Happiest Place on Earth

World War II had one of the biggest impacts on the US in all of history. With the Holocaust and Hitler’s reign, many lives were lost and changed. After the war, many inventions came into existence. Entertainment, leaders and inventors changed the lives of America forever. An amusement park opened in 1955 was dubbed the “Happiest Place on Earth”. This park was an important part of people’s happiness.

Disneyland was designed and opened by the one and only, Walt Disney. Disney wanted the park to open one year and one day after construction began. Disneyland officially opened on July 17, 1955 in Anaheim, California and was “invite only” as stated in Rudie Obias’s article on mentalfloss.com. Only family and friends of employees, press, and celebrities were allowed to spend time in the park in the day. Celebrities like Jerry Lewis, Debbie Reynolds, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra attended Disneyland on opening day (Obias).

Many attractions at Disneyland were unfinished and unable to be seen or enjoyed. In his article on history.com, Christopher Klein, states, “Visitors to the unfinished Tomorrowland, which was to depict life in 1986 when a trip to the moon would be an everyday occurrence, remained stuck in 1955” (Klein). There were also many other problems with the rush of construction. The temperatures on opening day reached over 100℉ and left women’s high heels stuck in the tar-like asphalt. Disneyland was so popular, but Disney and the city of Anaheim was not ready for how many people were going the show up. Rudie Obias says, “Since Disneyland and the city of Anaheim were not prepared for the amount of people that showed up, California’s Santa Ana Freeway that led into the park was backed up for seven miles.” There are also reports of people taking bathroom breaks in the nearby parking lot and on the side of the freeway just waiting to get into the park.

The creation of Disneyland changed the lives of many. It was important for people to enjoy themselves after a devastating and second world war and this park definitely did it. In an article about Disneyland’s opening, it states, “He [Walt Disney] intended Disneyland to have educational as well as amusement value and to entertain adults and their children” (History.com Editors). Opening day was “invite only” so many were disappointed that they couldn’t attend. Counterfeit tickets were sold for people who were able to spend five dollars on a fake ticket. Christopher Klein, the author of “Disneyland’s Disastrous Opening Day” on history.com, wrote, “A few more [people] even scaled a fence using a ladder erected by a makeshift entrepreneur who charged $5 a head” (Klein). Celebrities also attended the park on opening day and promoted the park before opening on television, another thing that became popular around this time. Disneyland’s grand opening was broadcasted on the ABC television network and had millions of viewers, giving the park more popularity. Christopher Klein addresses this event in an article he wrote on history.com and stated, “The work of hammering and painting continued right up to the start of a 90-minute live broadcast of Disneyland’s opening on the ABC television network, which aired Disney’s highly rated weekly show and was a one-third investor in the theme park” (Klein). It was told that the opening show was a complete disaster, but that didn’t stop people from attending the park.

The Disney park is still a big influencer today. All the commercials on television show and depict that Disneyland is still the “Happiest Place on Earth”. The disney franchise and parks have expanded creating many different amusement parks around the world. “In 1983, Disneyland Tokyo opened in Japan, and in 1992 Disneyland Paris–or ‘EuroDisney’–opened to a mixed reaction in Marne-la-Vallee. The newest Disneyland, in Hong Kong, opened its doors in September 2005” (History.com Editors). Another big influence in the world today is media, phones, internet, and television. These pieces of technology influence us to do things, solely because celebrities promote and encourage us to. Judy Faber from CBS News wrote an article back in 2007 about an appearance in a Disney Park commercial by David Beckham. Faber wrote “The international soccer star, marketing giant and fashion icon was photographed as the prince from ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ astride a white horse and fighting a fire-breathing dragon” (Faber). She also includes a quote by Beckham himself, “‘There were many Disney characters I liked as a kid,’ Beckham said in a statement released by Disney on Friday” (Faber). This shows that celebrities are a part of media’s influence on the world.

World War II took a toll on America and the rest of the world. Inventions and ideas in the 1950s brought people’s spirits up after a devastating event. Lives were lost and changed drastically, but people needed to escape from the harsh reality they lived in. Walt Disney opened just the thing to do so in 1955. Disneyland came into existence and everyone was ecstatic. Although the park on opening day was “invite only”, people managed to enjoy the grand opening television show. This shows that Disneyland was an important part of the 1950s after the second World War.