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Following a televised first-look of the park along with a pre-opening for the press and VIPs on July 17, 1955, the official and historic public opening of Disneyland occurred on July 18, 1955.
A half-century later, the official commemoration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary began on May 5, 2005 and ended on September 30, 2006.
Walt Disney's original concept was of a permanent family fun park minus the "negative element", which he felt traveling carnivals often attracted.
While on outings with his daughters Dianne and Sharon, Walt realized there were no parks with activities both parents and children could enjoy together.
In return, the network agreed to help finance the new park.
On the suggestion of researchers at Stanford Research Institute who correctly envisioned the area's potential growth, Disney acquired 160 acres (730,000 m²) of orange groves and walnut trees in Anaheim, south of Los Angeles in neighboring Orange County. Highway 101 (later Interstate 5) was under construction at the same time just to the north of the site; in preparation for the traffic which Disneyland was expected to bring, two more lanes were added to the freeway even before the park was finished.
Disney's original modest plans called for the park to be built on eight acres (32,000 m²) next to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California as a place where his employees and families could go to relax.
Difficulties in obtaining funding caused Disney to investigate new ways of raising money.
He decided to use television to get the ideas into people's homes, and so he created a show named Disneyland which was broadcast on the fledgling American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network.
In 1960, Walt Disney Productions bought ABC's share of the theme park.
This would later come full circle in 1999, when the Walt Disney Company, the successor to Walt Disney Productions, merged with Capital Cities-ABC, Inc.Soon, even while they were refining and developing Disneyland, Walt and Roy began planning to expand the concept to other locations.