I am not sure it is possible to capture the true scope and meaning of what occurred 55 years ago today? Maybe Walt knew, I am sure he hoped; but anyone else? Those who's talents were tapped, those who had toiled for the past year and a day in the dirt, the staff; any of them? Did they really have a clue what this dream was about?
All those years ago there was a 100 acre parking lot which cost a quarter for the day and a ticket at the gate cost you a dollar for an adult and 50 cents for a child. Water fountains were few and far between due to a plumbers strike and the pavement wasn't cured and dry. It was hot. The river boat Mark Twain almost flooded because it was unsure what the load capacity was. Doh!
It is so much to so many. It was a testament to the 'Showman of the World', it is a source of enjoyment to the child in almost all who visit. Even on a hot and crowed day. It is forced prospective to anyone who enters. It is a dispensation of belief to all. The thrill of new paint, the assurance of cleanliness where cleanliness is of most importance, it is the smell of popcorn and it is the tears of a lost balloon fading from your child's sight, high in the air riding the wind. It's all that and more.
It is where cartoon characters live and where candy is made. It is a reason to smile. It is the happiest place on earth after all. There are detractors; but they are few. There are dying children whose lives are made whole by a visit; if just for the day.
This is a 1954 publicity picture of Walt for the TV series Disneyland from my collection. It was this TV show which provided (some) of the money to build the park.
What was where fifty five years ago:
Main Street USA:
Disneyland Fire Department - horse drawn and chemical equipment
Disneyland Street Railway - 4 horse drawn cars
Horse drawn station wagon (4)
Main Street Cinema - with 6 performances of silent movies, accompanied by pianist
Disney Penny Arcade
Santé Fe & Disneyland passenger train and its six cars
Explorer's boat ride - 7 boats
Conestoga Wagons, Buggies, Buckboards and Surreys
Davy Crockett museum-theatre
Mark Twain river boat (turned out that the capacity was around 300 people)
Pack Mules - 2 packs, 1 lead horse and 9 mules in each group
Disneyland Stage Lines - 3 stages with 4 hitch
Canal Boats of the World - 8 boats
Casey Jr. Train Ride - 2 trains
Dumbo Aerial Ride - 10 Dumbo's
King Arthur Carrousel - 72 horses
Mad Tea Party - 8 cups
Mickey Mouse Theatre - seats 400
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - 8 cars
Peter Pan Ride - 7 galleons
Snow White Ride - 8 cars
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Exhibit
Autopia Freeway - 32 cars, 1 special Disneyland car, 4 police cars and 3 extra cars
Space Station X-1
Speed Boat Ride - 14 boats
TWA's Rocket Ride to the Moon - (Diana/Luna) accommodating 104 passengers each
Walt dedicating the park on this day in 1955 from my collection.
Dedication Plaque (unknown source)
Early 55’ aerial of Fantasy and Tomorrowland from my collection.Note what was referred to as either Snow or Holiday Mountain above the Castle which was dirt that had been dug from various parts of the park. Later to become location of the Matterhorn.