July 17: Walt Disney dedicated Disneyland on this date in 1955

GE Anderson

On this date -- July 17, 1955 -- Walt Disney dedicated his eponymous theme park in Anaheim, Calif., and the Mecca of American family vacation destinations was born. The original park included Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, its own railroad, and the world's first Ferris wheel. The land had been purchased just two years earlier, and the park took just over a year to build; an astonishing feat until you consider that construction was directly supervised by Disney himself. The dedication ceremony was broadcast live on ABC in the video clip below (hosted by none other than future California governor and American President Ronald Reagan), which includes a few brief remarks from Uncle Walt:

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past...and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world." - Walt Disney