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Vintage footage shows Disneyland's first days

  • Contest at the Disneyland Hotel to find mermaids to perform on the park’s Nautilus ride.YouTube

  • Here we see the first visitor to enter the park showing off his ticket.YouTube

  • Walt Disney stands with the first children to enter Disneyland.Youtube

  • Walt Disney and Vice President Richard Nixon at a ribbon cutting in 1959.YouTube

Ever thought about the history behind "The Happiest Place on Earth?"

Disneyland, Walt Disney's magical metropolis, opened on July 17, 1955. Costing a total $17 million, the theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California.

Today the park is host to more than 14 million visitors annually, who spend close to $3 billion each year.

With the amount that the Disney Empire has grown, it is easy to forget the park’s humble beginnings.

Now we can relive all the early memories, thanks to over an hour of vintage video footage collected by Disney’s former Senior Vice President of Creative Development, Tony Baxter, for a presentation at the 2011 D23 Expo in the Anaheim Convention Center.

The film documents the construction and renovation of Disneyland, with scenes of Imagineers building and decorating the Pirates of the Caribbean galleon as construction workers tightrope-walk on the Monorail tracks.

The nostalgia is palpable in Baxter’s presentation, vintage reels showing opening day, as thousands of excited visitors waited in mile-long lines to enter the park.

A heartwarming walk down memory lane, the footage brings to life a sense of delight and excitement felt by park’s very first visitors.