Opening Day At Disneyland 1955

Opening Day Poster & Photo

Opening Day Poster & Photo – Kids rush the park as the rope drops on opening day.

In honor of my blog launch I’m posting this article about Disneyland’s opening day, Enjoy!

Disneyland opened it’s doors to members of the press and select guests on July 17, 1955. The invitation-only event didn’t keep the public out though. After sending out 10,000 invitations and expecting a crowd of around 10,000 to show up, members of the general public found their way into the park. The park OFFICIALLY opened to the public the following day on July 18, 1955.

Opportunistic people started charging to escort the public over the park’s “berm” boundary with ladders and thousands of invitation tickets were forged. The park was over run with 30,000 guests, 3 times what employees were expecting.

Disneyland started running out of supplies, food and drinks became scarce, and attraction queues were overrun with guests. The plumbing started overflowing, restrooms went out of service, and drinking fountains were not installed yet do to plumbing issues before the park even opened.

Wait times for attractions became out of control, and Disneyland staff overloaded some of the attractions, which in some cases posed a serious safety risk. With too many guests aboard, water started to rush over the decks of the Mark Twain riverboat as it risked sinking to the bottom of the Rivers of America.

Walt later referred to this day as “Black Sunday” due to all the problems he encountered, but in the end Disneyland’s grand opening turned out to be a massive success. It made history as the first venture of it’s kind, people were talking about it all over the world, and the over-crowded mass of 30,000 people really meant one thing: People were desperate to experience Disneyland.

Below is a view of the flyer for the public opening on July 18, 1955, one day following the press opening.

Opening Day Flyer 1955

Public Opening Flyer 1955

 

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John Glass is a travel blogger, editor at SoCalSecrets.com, and author of the books “Things To Do at Disneyland” and “Things To Do at Disney California Adventure”.