Reminiscent of Sunday nights when our favorite uncle Walt would introduce the Wonderful World of Disney, the Happiest Place on Earth pulled out all the stops to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Celebrities from around the world showed up at probably the biggest event of the year for the land of Imagineering. Beginning with nostalgic numbers echoing the musical heritage of Disney, the Sunday night special paid tribute to the Magical Kingdom with a lineup of stars that rivals Oscars night.

Celebrating 60 Years of Magic &Beating the Odds

Few remember the darkest moments when Walt Disney struggled out of bankruptcy. Or when he had to liquidate family assets, borrow against his life insurance policy, and sells the rights to his own name - just to fund a “new concept of a family-friendly amusement park.”

At the time, even Disney’s brother Roy protested taking on yet another investment of the precious profits left for the struggling studio. Even down to the wire, prior to an opening day in 101 degrees heat with 28,000 people showing up, Disney had to choose between working drinking fountains or running toilets.

Choosing toilets left many cynical that it was a ploy by their Pepsi sponsor to sell more drinks.

Once More Disney’s Future Looks Bright

Of course, Disney rebounded and prospered. Eventually, they bought out ABC forty-two years after the television studio funded much of the amusement park through a deal where Walt Disney appeared on a weekly one-hour series. Walt joked that “ABC needed the television show so damned bad that they bought the amusement park.”

Over recent years, the studio struggled with seeing where it fit into the future.

With recent acquisitions in Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm along with Pixar, Disney is in touch again with today’s fanboys and female audiences.

Harrison Ford gave audiences a sneak peek at the Star Wars additions planned with the success of The Force Awakens. Fans went wild, both in the live audience and online, as the lovable BB8 rolled on to the stage before a live performance of the sci-fi hit’s music.

Disney’s universal appeal is clear. Even the producers of the show admitted their own childhood nostalgia with Disneyland. "Now I have two kids of my own. Being able to take them and have them see it for the first time and they love it, that is what’s making it even more special now," saidexecutive producer Evan Prager.

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