Liz Taylor celebrates 60th birthday at Disneyland

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Not many people could command 4 square miles worth of airspace, but Elizabeth Taylor, who celebrated her 60th birthday at Disneyland Thursday night, can.

The Federal Aviation Administration, working with Disneyland and the Anaheim Police Department, restricted airspace for a mile radius around the theme park and 1,000 feet above it in an effort to avoid the kind of potentially dangerous media fiasco that surrounded the star's October wedding.


At Taylor's eighth wedding, to construction worker Larry Fortensky, an uninvited photographer decided to drop in via parachute. Meanwhile, about 20 helicopters and small planes hovered noisily above the couple's heads with hopes of capturing that one picture that would command big bucks in the tabloids.

The wedding took place at Michael Jackson's Los Olivos Ranch, a site that is a little more remote than Disneyland, but no less fantasy-filled than the Fantasyland section, which Taylor rented for her approximately 1,000 guests. The theme park is normally closed at night during the winter.

As for air space access, Gordon Sutterfield, air traffic manager at the Fullerton Municipal Airport, said that with the exception of law enforcement and accredited press helicopters, the control tower was ordered to let in only two helicopters at a time during the party hours of 6 p.m. to midnight. The control tower is stayed open an extra three hours to handle the job.


Violators were to be tracked on radar to their landing site and given citations, Sutterfield said. Pilots were warned they would lose their licenses if they ignored the restriction, he said.

The parachutist who crashed Taylor's wedding was investigated by the FAA, but was let go because he did not jump into a crowd, said FAA spokeswoman Elly Brekke.

Would-be parachutists for the birthday affair were warned they won't get off so easy, she said.

'(The birthday party) is different,' Brekke said. 'This is a city. There are no unpopulated areas. It's a safety hazard.'

The actual party, which one tabloid estimated would cost $150,000, has been reported as the usual Hollywood-style gala event, replete with deep-purple table cloths and white and gold-rimmed china, expensive crystal, exotic flowers and undisclosed munchy delicacies.

The cake-cutting was organized in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, to be followed by a fireworks show.

Those guests invited included Michael Jackson, hair stylist Jose Eber, Carol Bayer Sager, music mogul David Geffen and Roddy McDowall, who starred with Taylor in 'Lassie Come Home,' when both were just kids.

Disneyland regularly rents itself out for private evening parties during winter months, the park spokeswoman said. Companies such as Rockwell International Corp., Hughes Aircraft Co. and Northrop Co. have held special events at Disneyland. The cost for renting a section of the park starts at about $8,000.


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