Disneyland vacation - Anaheim, California Disneyland vacation - Anaheim, California

 


 
Disneyland vacation - Anaheim, California

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1955: Opening day

Disneyland 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.

Opening 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.

The 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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