Disneyland Opens

Walt Disney had been dreaming about an amusement park for quite some time. And the idea grew. So he talked to people.

He wanted to charge admission. Won’t work, they said.

He didn’t want a Ferris wheel. Oh, ya gotta, they said.

He didn’t want any alcohol on the premises. You’ll go broke, they said.

Clearly, what did they know? Disney went to the Stanford Research Institute to help him figure out where the park should be located; eventually they settled on Anaheim, California.

During work on the park, Disney was a constant presence, giving the place his finely detailed touch. He wanted it perfect. They went through 129 different plans for the entryway alone before Walt was satisified.

He wanted to keep the Castle small enough (77 feet) so that it was never imposing or scary. Originally, he wanted live animals for the Jungle Cruise. Okay, nobody, not even Walt Disney, is perfect.

In fact, opening day was plagued with problems. The heat of the day melted the newly poured asphalt and women’s heels got stuck in the stuff. Counterfeit tickets had been distributed and the park was overcrowded. There weren’t enough trash cans. Rides broke down.

Ah, but people loved it. Disneyland, a $17 million Magic Kingdom, had over 1 million visitors in only 7 weeks.