Image: Disneyland
Courtesy of WDP&R
updated 7/6/2005 1:50:57 PM ET 2005-07-06T17:50:57

New fireworks shows, parades and rides, including a walking, talking animatronic dinosaur named "Lucky," will be rolled out at The Walt Disney Co.'s 10 worldwide theme parks in May to mark the anniversary of the one that started it all — Disneyland.

Dubbed "The Happiest Celebration on Earth," the 18-month event will begin on May 5 and include the opening of Disney's 11th park, Hong Kong Disneyland, in late 2005 or early 2006.

Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955, on land once occupied by orange groves in Anaheim, Calif. It was built within a large earthen berm so that parkgoers would enter a protected, fantasy environment. In that regard, as well as the fact that it featured characters from Disney's animated films, it was different from other amusement parks or carnivals at the time.

The celebration planned for Disneyland includes the docking of one of Disney's popular cruise ships on the West Coast for 12 seven-day Mexican cruises.

Disneyland will also get a new parade, a new fireworks show and an exhibit highlighting the evolution of Disneyland from concept to opening day.

The indoor Space Mountain roller coaster, which has been closed for refurbishment, will reopen with new special effects.

At Walt Disney World Resort plans:

  • The "Cinderellebration" show from Tokyo Disneyland will play at the Magic Kingdom.
  • The Soarin' over California ride, which debuted at Disney's California Adventure park, will open at Epcot.
  • The "Lights, Motors, Action" stunt show from Disneyland Resort Paris will open at Disney-MGM Studios.
  • A walking, talking dinosaur named Lucky will interact with guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom. A new roller coaster attraction, Expedition Everest, will also open at the park.

Slideshow: The world of Walt Disney At Disneyland Resort Paris, the “Wishes” fireworks show, similar to the one playing at Walt Disney World, will open with a new musical score.

The celebration at Tokyo Disney Resort will include the 2005 opening of Lost River Delta, which features a vertical, 360-degree loop combined with fire and water effects.

Disney at sea

The decision to offer 12 seven-night cruises beginning in May also will test the waters for a possible future expansion of the cruise line, which has been extremely successful since it began operating out of Florida in 1998. No decision to permanently add a West Coast port has been reached, the company said.

Disney unveiled its plans for marking Disneyland's 50th anniversary at each of its 10 worldwide theme parks. Company co-founder Walt Disney opened the park July 17, 1955.

The “Disney Magic” will travel from its home port through the Panama Canal next year and offer cruises leaving from the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and docking in three Mexican ports: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

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