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was opened to the public on Sunday, July 17, 1955.
The opening ceremonies were televised nationwide
and anchored by three of Walt Disney's friends
from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings,
and Ronald Reagan.
day did not go smoothly. The park was overcrowded
as the by-invitation-only affair was plagued with
counterfeit tickets. All major roads nearby were
congested. The high temperature was over 110 degrees
Fahrenheit, and a plumbers' strike left many of
the drinking fountains dry. The asphalt that had
been poured just the night before was so soft
that ladies' high-heeled shoes sank in. Vendors
ran out of food. A gas leak in Fantasyland caused
Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland to
close for the afternoon. Parents were throwing
children over the shoulders of crowds to get in
line for rides such as Dumbo.
park got such bad press for opening day that Walt
Disney invited members of the press back for a
private 'second day' to experience the true Disneyland,
after which Walt held a party in the Disneyland
Hotel for them. Walt and his executives forever
referred to the first day as Black Sunday.
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