Today In Disney History ~ May 4th
The Happiest Homecoming on Earth was the eighteen-month-long celebration (May 5, 2005 through September 30, 2006) of the 50th anniversary of the Disneyland theme park, which opened on July 17, 1955. The Happiest Celebration on Earth commemorated fifty years of Disney theme parks, and celebrated Disneyland’s milestone throughout Disney parks all over the globe.
Disneyland’s 50th anniversary was July 17, 2005, but the celebration was launched on May 5, 2005 in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. On May 4, 2005 Disneyland Park was actually closed to the public on this date, the first planned closure of the park in decades for a special media preview. Disney allowed guests staying at the three Disney owned hotels to become “extras” for the all the media filming going on, though they only were notified by a letter delivered in the middle of the night, so they had no advance notice.
On May 5, 2005 The Happiest Homecoming on Earth ceremony officially began with a dedication from then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner. The ceremony included fireworks; speeches from Julie Andrews (official ambassador for the 50th anniversary celebrations), and Art Linkletter (original TV anchor for the opening day broadcast); a performance of “When You Wish Upon A Star” by Christina Aguilera; and LeAnn Rimes singing the 50th anniversary theme song “Remember When”, composed by Richard Marx. A video conference featured celebrities at the Magic Kingdom (the only live video conference, with Wayne Brady, actor and former Walt Disney World Resort cast member), Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and the construction site of Hong Kong Disneyland.
Before the Ceremony, at a media presentation in Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort president Matt Ouimet announced the new attractions Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue and Turtle Talk with Crush.