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The opening of the 160 acre park know as "Black Sunday" was and invitation only event. Guests included: Art Linkletter, Ronald Reagan, Bob Cummings, The Mouseketeers, Thurl Ravenscroft, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Danny Thomas, Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, California Governor Goodwin J. Knight, construction workers who worked on the park, studio workers, the press, and officials of company sponsors.
53 year old Walt Disney is introduced by the then actor, Ronald Reagan- "And now, Walt Disney will step forward to read the dedication of Disneyland."
"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 which have created America…with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to al the world."Walt Disney
*Attractions, shops and restaurants available for the guests enjoyment:
Town Square:City Hall, Fire Department & Plaza Pavilion Restaurant
Main Street U.S.A.: Bank of America, Camera Center, Carnation Ice Cream Parlor, Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, Emporium, Horse-Drawn Fire Wagon, Horse-Drawn Street Cars, Horse-Drawn Surreys, Main Street Cinema, Main Street Penny Arcade, Ruggles China and Glass house, Story Book Shop & Santa Fe/ Disneylands Railroad (2 engines: number 1- C.K. Holliday & number 2- E.P. Ripley)
Adventureland: Jungle Cruise, (2 boats: Ganges Gal and Congo Queen) & Red Wagon Inn
Forntierland: Chicken Plantation Restaurant, Davy Crockett Arcade, Frontier Trading Post, Golden Horseshoe Revue (at Slue Foot Sue's Golden Horseshoe Saloon), Mark Twain Steamboat, Mule Pack & the Stage Coaches
Fantasyland: Canal Boats of the World, King Arthur Carrousel, Mad Tea Party, Merlin's Magic Shop, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pans Flight & Snow White's Adventures
Tomorrowland: Autopia, Circarama USA (Showing the film A Tour of the West), Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, Space Station X-1
Opening day had it's fair share of mishaps, scalpers printed up thousands of counterfeited tickets, causing the park to be overcrowd which lead to problems such as: a food shortage and traffic jam! Temperatures soared into the 90s and women's high heels sank into softened asphalt; plumbing was a major issue as drinking fountains were turned off so that the park's toilets could work; and some of the rides malfunctioned. There was a gas leak in Fantasyland which caused the entire area to be closed to the public & even a piece of a window from the Mark Twain fell on the head of a State Senator!
The price of a ticket to enter Disneyland on opening day was $1. You had to spend from .10 cents to .35 cents for individual rides. On Oct. 11, 1955, a new system was implemented with ticket books costing $2.50.
Disneyland opened to the public the following day, a Monday, July 18th, 1955. On Sept. 8, 1955, after just seven weeks in operation, Elsa Marquez was Disneyland's one millionth guest. Clearly, Walt's idea of a park where children and parents could have fun together was, and has been, an asstounding success. His simple concept spawned Disney theme parks in Florida, Japan, France and Hong Kong, as well as other successful offshoots like The Disney Channel, the Disney Vacation Club, Disney Stores and the Disney Cruise Line.
Disneyland, like Disney himself, is an original. Close inspection of the elaborate workmanship, architecture and landscaping shows an attention to detail that make the park, when viewed as a whole, a true work of art.
*Were YOU there on opening day? Any stories you would be willing to share with us? If you weren't, and could have been, what attraction would you have been most excited to see and why?
Happy 58th birthday Disneyland & thank you Walt Disney for persevering!
Thank you all for reading! Hope you enjoy this fabulous day! And for those enjoying the park today, maybe I'll see you there! ;)
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Indiana Jones Sep 12-Sep 15
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln Aug 22-Sep 30
Big Thunder Ranch and Barbecue CLOSED permanently
Fantasmic! Jan 10-TBA
Disneyland Railroad Jan 10-TBA
Mark Twain Riverboat Jan 10-TBA
Sailing Ship Columbia Jan 10-TBA
Davey Crocket Explorer Canoes Jan 10-TBA
Tom Sawyer Island Jan 10-TBA
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:
The Little Mermaid Sep 6-Sep 29
Goofy's Sky School Sep 26-28
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