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Disneyland marks 60th anniversary with 24-hour celebration

ANAHEIM — Disneyland began the celebration of its 60th anniversary Friday, opening for 24 consecutive hours and premiering a nighttime parade, fireworks display and World of Color show.

Disneyland opened at 6 a.m. and remained open until 6 a.m. Saturday to start what is being billed as the Diamond Celebration.

The “Paint the Night” parade told eight stories, with each story represented by multiple floats, props and performers.

“Paint the Night” was the first parade lit almost entirely by light-emitting diode lights. Only minimal incandescent lighting sources are used — at the tip of Tinker Bell’s wand and in Rapunzel’s flickering lanterns.

More than 1.5 million flashing and glowing LED lights were used.

The parade combined an array of Disney characters and music. It began with the 40-foot long Tinker Bell float, which included a tribute to the drum unit that led the “Main Street Electrical Parade” from 1972-96.

The parade also included 21-foot “Monsters, Inc.” float, a “Cars” unit including Lightning McQueen, DJ, and a 54-foot-long Mack Truck, the longest vehicle in the parade.

There also were “The Little Mermaid,” “Toy Story,” “Frozen” and Disney Princesses floats.

The parade concluded with a Mickey Mouse float, joined by smaller whirling parade vehicles with Goofy, Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse on board.

The “Disneyland Forever” fireworks display had seven multi-faceted sequences, with park guests having a different experience depending on where they were viewing the show from. It included fog, lasers, computerized laser-mapping, and spotlights.

There also were 30 inflatable units and multiple moving window actuators on Main Street, U.S.A. to create what Disneyland executives called an “immersive” environment.

“Disneyland Forever” included Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Mary Poppins, Rapunzel, Winnie the Pooh, characters from “The Lion King,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Finding Nemo” and “Frozen.” It included Nemo “swimming” across the sky, a first for a Disney park fireworks

“Disneyland Forever” also included the “Disneyland Forever” theme “Live the Magic.” It concluded with “A Kiss Goodnight,” written by Richard M. Sherman, who with his late brother Robert, composed such songs familiar to Disneyland visitors as “it’s a small world” and “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

The title is a reference to Walt Disney’s feeling that nighttime fireworks provided guests with, as Sherman recalled, “a little kiss goodnight” after a day in the park.

“World of Color — Celebrate!” in Disney California Adventure featured actor Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse hosting a five-sequence celebration of the career of Walt Disney, told through animation, 1,200 dancing fountains, live-action film, lasers, special effects and music.

The Diamond Celebration theme extended to Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney California Adventure, which both had a gleaming veneer and diamond medallions.

Mickey Mouse and other characters wore new costumes and there were new window displays at the Main Street Emporium.

Restaurants and food carts in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure offered new drinks and cupcakes specially created for the Diamond Celebration.

Later this summer, drinks will be available in “Made with Magic” sippers which light up to accompany the new nighttime shows.

Additional “Made with Magic” merchandise items — newly designed ear hats, wands and paint brushes — also will be available.

More than 500 special merchandise items have been created for the Diamond Celebration, including apparel, accessories, art, collectibles, headwear, home decor, jewelry, pins, souvenirs and toys.