Disney Parks attract visitors of all ages from all over the world. When Walt first created Disneyland, he wanted it to be a place where families could enjoy experiences together, and since 1955, when the first Disney Park opened, that’s exactly what has happened for millions upon millions of families of all ages, all sizes, from all over the globe.
And on several occasions, Disney Parks have attracted members of royal families as well.
Recently, the Disneyland Paris Resort hosted members of the royal family of Monaco at its theme parks. Crown Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, accompanied by their father, Prince Albert II of Monaco, visited Disneyland Paris during the festivities of the 30th anniversary of the opening of the park.
But they weren’t the first royals to ever come through the gates of a Disney Park. Disney has a long history of hosting dignitaries and members of royal families; Walt seemed to have a knack for it.
He was comfortable interacting with kings, princes, princesses, and other dignitaries and leaders at Disneyland. And he had a certain ability for it–and charm in welcoming them to his California park. He even wrote a letter to Vice President Richard Nixon in 1959, inviting him and his family to help dedicate the brand-new monorail system at Disneyland. Not only did Nixon respond, but in his response, he accepted the invitation.
But the first dignitary to ever visit a Disney Park was King Mohammed of Morocco, who visited the Disneyland Resort in 1957, just two years after the park opened.
In 1959, King Hussein of Jordan visited Disneyland. He returned years later with his wife and son. This photo shows King Hussein at the park with the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction under construction in the background.
When King Baudouin of Belgium visited Disneyland in 1959, Walt Disney made sure he would never forget his visit, even after he returned to Belgium by gifting him a souvenir from the park.
One year later in 1960, Walt Disney hosted the princesses of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway at Disneyland. They seemed to enjoy the Mad Tea Party.
Walt Disney World had only been open four years when King Hussein of Jordan visited the Most Magical Place on Earth in Florida for the first time. He even got to have his picture taken with Mickey and Goofy.
Members of the British royal family have also visited Disneyland and Disney World over the years. In 1984, Princess Anne, Princess Royal of Great Britain, visited Disneyland. In this photo, she is seen strolling through New Orleans Square.
Then, in 1991, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, visited Disneyland with her 3-year-old daughter Princess Beatrice.
Then in 2001, Fergie visited Disneyland Paris to celebrate daughter Princess Eugenie’s 11th birthday.
Then in 1993, Princess Diana visited the Walt Disney World Resort with her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Photos of the royal mom and her sons seem to depict a realness of the Princess of Wales and her royal offspring, despite their heritage and titles.
Princess Diana reportedly attempted to avoid the paparazzi while she enjoyed the day at Disney World with her sons, but to little avail, as evidenced by the copious photos of the trio at Magic Kingdom that day.