This story now
IN History & Culture ON 12 Jun, 2016
"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
- Walter E. Disney.
Disneyland was incepted on July 17, 1955. Construction began on July 16, 1954. It was the first of the two theme parks built in Anaheim, California. It took total $17 million to complete. The park was opened one year and one day later. Despite such an astronomical investment, Disneyland's opening day has its own topsy-turvy story.
The construction began one year, one day before the opening day. Things got a little out of hand that day. As the crowd began to flood, they noticed that the paint on the buildings in the Main Street area was still wet, and the concrete in some areas was freshly poured.
Disneyland's Opening Day was meant to be exclusive. It was opened for invited guests and International Press. But little did Disney know, their tickets were illegally counterfeited.
The Special Sunday Event was broadcasted live nationwide, hosted by Disney's friends from Hollywood, Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings and Ronald Reagan. It was an highly anticipated event, but who knew that the tickets were gonna be counterfeited and the head count would rise.
On Disneyland's opening day, five of the theme lands were open and there was supposed to be a total of 20 rides running. Some of the lands that were open were Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street U.S.A.
As they say, it was one of the most hottest days in Los Angeles.Of course, the workers weren't ready for inrush of uninvited people. It was so hot that women's footwear melted in the fresh concrete.
Due to the dispersion of counterfeited tickets, the place was overcrowded. Over 28,000 people came to experience Disney.
On the top of everything, the plumbers went on strike. Walt Disney was forced to choose between running the bathrooms or the drinking fountains, and decided to keep the bathrooms going. However, it was incredibly hot outside and the lack of water didn't help the chaos.
The workers weren't prepared for such a large crowd. There was a lack of restaurants and refreshment stalls, rides started breaking down, gas leaked at Fantasyland, which caused three of the five theme lands to be closed down for the rest of the day.
Following issues were resolved: low ride capacity, congestion, traffic jams, and slow food service. The park was set to reopen to the public on Monday, July 18, 1955 at 10 a.m.
So, this was the topsy-turvy story of Disneyland's opening day. Eventually, all the issues were thankfully resolved by Disney.