Friday, July 3, 2009

Opening of Disneyland Article

The one good thing about being at the doctor yesterday was that while my dad was waiting in the waiting room for me, some guy came around and handed out these newsletters for the county for this month. What happened to be in the center of the newsletter? Why an article about the Opening of Disneyland of course!! Here's the article:

July 17, 1955: Disneyland Opens
Disneyland Park was opened to the public on July 18, 1955. The Special Sunday events, including the dedication, were televised nationwide. ABC broadcast the event live on its network- at the tie, one of the largest and most complex live broadcasts ever.

The event did not go smoothly. The park was overcrowded as the by-invitation-only affair was plagued with counterfeit tickets.

The temperature was an unusually high 101 degrees F, and a plumbers' strike left many of the park's drinking fountains dry. Disney was given a choice of having working fountains or running toilets and chose the latter. This, however, generated negative publicity since Pepsi sponsored the park's opening; enraged guests believed the inoperable fountains were a cynical way to sell soda.

The asphalt that had been poured just that morning was so soft that ladies' high-heeled shoes sank in. Vendors ran out of food. A gas leak in Fantasyland caused Adventureland, Frontierland and Fantasyland to close for the afternoon. Parents were throwing their children over the shoulders of crowds to get them onto rides such as the King Arthur Carousel.

The park got such bad press for the event day that Walt Disney invited members of the press back for a private "second day" to experience the true Disneyland, after which Walt held a party in the Disneyland Hotel for them. Walt and his 1955 executives forever referred to July 17th as "Black Sunday." Disney officially called July 17th "Dedication Day" and the 18th as "Opening Day."

On Monday, July 18, crowds started to gather in line as early as 2 am, and the first person to buy a ticket and enter the park was David MacPherson with admission ticket number 2 (Since Roy O. Disney arranged to pre-purchase ticket number 1). Walt Disney had an official photo taken with two children instead-Christine Vess Watkins (then age 5) and Michael Schwartner (then age 7), and their photo carries a deceptive caption: "Walt Disney with the first two guests of Disneyland." Vess Watkins and Schwartner both received lifetime passes to Disneyland that day, and MacPherson was awarded one shortly thereafter. The passes were later expanded to include every Disney-owned park in the world.

Just thought it was an interesting article that I could share with ya'll!

Article is from the Healthy Home Times via The Boothwyn Pharmacy, INC.

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