2. July 17th, 1955 – The Grand Opening
Almost a decade after Disney sent his initial ideas for the “Mickey Mouse Park” to his studio production designer Dick Kelsey, Disneyland hosts its spectacular Grand Opening Event in Anaheim, California. Only 11,000 people were sent special invitations to the “International Press Preview”. However, nearly 28,000 guests showed up at the park that day due to purchases of faux tickets.
The park was opened in a rush, so that only the Jungle Cruise, Autopia, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, among a few other attractions were ready for the guests. The mass amount of over-surge led to kitchens running out of food and drinks, with one person even going as far as setting up a ladder over a fence in the back to let people in. Many of the attractions broke down and women’s heels were getting stuck in the freshly laid-out asphalt.
In short, the Grand Opening of Disneyland could have gone better.
But as these LIFE Magazine photos capture, there was still plenty of excitement and enthusiasm around opening day from those lucky guests.
The Disneyland Railroad runs by the parking lot before any was built around the park.
Main Street, U.S.A. on opening day.
The Mad Tea Party ride on opening day — well before an awning was built above it.
Casey Jr and Storybook Land. You can see an ABC camera man filming on the lower left side of the photo.