Disneyland’s opening day in 1955 was a monumental occasion for millions of people worldwide, including a 100-year-old woman named Dee Kolafa. Nearly 70 years later, Kolafa returned to the California theme park to celebrate her birthday and centenarian status with her family, thanks to the help of Disneyland. The Orange County Register reported on the surprise birthday party that was thrown for her, which included a private tour of Walt Disney’s apartment on Main Street, a meeting with Mickey Mouse, and a ride on the classic attraction, It’s A Small World.
Kolafa’s grandson, Eric Sawyer, wrote a letter to the president of Disneyland, Ken Potrock, informing him that his grandmother and the Walt Disney Company were turning 100 years old that year. Sawyer thought a simple letter would suffice, but Disneyland went above and beyond by sending gifts and an invitation to join the festivities. When asked about the experience, Kolafa joked that she was surprised to wake up to such an event but was pleased to be there.
Despite being a mother of five when Disneyland opened in 1955, Kolafa has visited the park countless times and has fond memories of sitting and watching the carousel with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also expressed her gratitude towards Walt Disney’s imagination and creativity, which she believes has brought joy to millions of people worldwide.
Kolafa’s advice for living a long and fulfilling life is simple: maintain a positive attitude. Her story serves as a reminder that age is just a number, and it’s never too late to enjoy the magic of Disneyland.