The Opening Day of Disneyland is quite historic. Because it was so unique, ABC covered it with a 90-minute live special. There were so many things that the masses were bearing witness to, for the first time: including the Disneyland Opening Day rides. There were also some of the most magnificent Disneyland Opening Day attractions. However, not all of it was sunshine and rainbows. We will also find out about the Disneyland Opening Day disaster.
What could’ve happened amidst such a grandiose, memorable moment in history? What were the reasons behind this? Let’s dive into the world of Disneyland for it’s quite the ride!
The Opening Day of Disneyland
After a full year of demanding construction requirements and investing millions of dollars, Disneyland opened for the first time to the public on 17th July 1955. Thousands of invitations to the Grand Opening were distributed among the employees of the studio, the construction crew, the press, and representatives of the company and sponsors, a direct parallel to Disneyland’s grand and lavish scale. The Opening Day of Disneyland filled everyone with excitement and joy. Soon after Disneyland’s opening day, it made astounding revenues.
The eagerly awaited Opening Day of Disneyland events were broadcast by ABC in a 90-minute live show called “Dateline Disneyland”. One of the biggest and most intricate live broadcasts ever, it had millions of people watching the broadcast of the world’s most grand, magnificent kingdom.
Disneyland Opening Day Attractions
What were the Disneyland Opening Day attractions? Surely, the event wouldn’t be deemed magnificent if there weren’t at least some of the most attractive rides and attractions made available to the public. Let us look into some of the Disneyland Opening Day rides and attractions!
Did you know? There were 33 different attractions in the park when Walt Disney initially threw open the gates of Disneyland. Some of these attractions are as follows:
1. Country Bear Jamboree
The main feature of this attraction was a musical variety show performed by a wildlife bear. Since the Opening Day of Disneyland, this show has run practically continuously. Fun fact, it is one of the longest-running shows in the world.
2. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
The beloved 1941 animated movie Dumbo served as the inspiration for the attraction. Out of all the Disneyland Opening Day rides, this was one of the most enjoyable ones as attested by the attendees. It was first situated in Fantasyland. It has been improved on ever since and now includes two alternate spinning rides.
3. Cinderella’s Golden Carousel
The carousel’s original name was Liberty. It was made by a famous carousel maker, The Philadelphia Toboggan Company. It is now known as the Prince Charming Regal Carousel. It was one of the most attractive rides during the Opening Day of Disneyland.
4. Jungle Cruise
The Walt Disney World Jungle Cruise is based on a fictitious firm called The Jungle Navigation Co. that ran a British outpost on the Amazon River during the Great Depression. One of Walt Disney’s greatest commercial successes is this specific attraction. The animatronics used back then were some of the most advanced technology, especially taking into consideration the time period.
5. Mickey Mouse Revue
Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters appeared in this audio-animatronic musical production known as The Mickey Mouse Revue. Mickey served as the orchestra’s conductor, and characters from a number of iconic Disney animated features served as the ensemble’s members. This was one of the most fun Disneyland attractions that people saw on the Opening Day of Disneyland.
Some other Disneyland Opening Day attractions included: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Space Station X, Mad Tea Party, Mickey Mouse Club Theater, Mark Twain Steamboat among others. All in all, the Disneyland Opening Day rides were a sight to behold for all the audience who had never seen anything like that before.
Reasons for Disneyland Opening Day Disaster: Explained
This was the pinnacle of the Disneyland Opening Day disaster: everything wasn’t quite ready when the gates opened, and certain things didn’t happen as planned. What happened and why did Disneyland’s Opening Day not go as per the plan?
- The Opening Day of Disneyland did not go off without a hitch.
- Due to a problem with fake, counterfeited tickets at the invitation-only event, the park was congested and overcrowded. In fact, congested would be an understatement.
- Roads were jammed and nobody could prepare themselves for the crowd. Initially, only 11,000 people were expected to arrive. However, with the passage of the day, almost 28,000 people were given entry.
- There wasn’t enough accommodation or replenishments. There was not enough food or drinks to provide for the scale masses.
- People had to go through the entire event suffering from the Californian heatwave. In fact, most of the fountains on the Opening Day of Disneyland were not working.
- Shortly after, even the rides malfunctioned, and Fantasyland experienced a gas leak.
Now you know why it’s called the “Disneyland Opening Day disaster”.
What is Disneyland like now? It’s been decades since the Opening Day of Disneyland and change is constant. Hence, let us take a look at the current Disneyland. Since its founding in 1955, Disneyland has expanded and changed into a renowned resort complex. The Downtown Disney District and California Adventure, which expanded the size of the resort considerably, were the two major additions to Disneyland.
Disney has not only enlarged and expanded Disneyland, but they have also made new lands and experiences all around the world. You’ll understand the scale of change when you take into account how Disneyland employs 20,000 cast personnel now. The park was completely transformed recently with the incredible additions of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
Since its inception in 1955, with the Opening Day of Disneyland — a journey was marked. Although Disneyland started off rough with the Disneyland Opening Day disaster, it bounced back quickly on its feet just a single day later. The need to strive for betterment is what made Disneyland the amusement park attraction it is today.
With Walt Disney’s imaginative and innovative mind, he wanted not only a theme park with excellent attractions and rides, but a story to tell. And he was successful in his endeavor. Disneyland will forever remain an intricate part of society when it comes to enjoyment and an unforgettable experience.
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