10 Things That Happened When Disneyland Opened 60+ Years Ago
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Were you there for the opening of Disneyland? Like any amusement park, most people go into these parks expecting a day full of rides, good fun, and fun! Well, the opening day of Disneyland was nothing short of a hot mess. It arguably may have been just as huge then as it is today.
It seems like the people preparing the park for it’s opening day were greatly underestimating how it would actually turn out. Despite your usual traffic into the park and fake tickets flooding the area, there were also some pretty huge deal breakers that happened, like rides breaking down and the live coverage of opening be a complete fail. Here’s 10 things that happened when Disneyland opened 60+ years ago!
1. Food and drink shortage
Every single restaurant throughout the park experienced a shortage on food and drink. All of the provided opening day refreshments were wiped out within hours of the park opening.
2. The Mark Twain Riverboat literally sank
Yeah. The boat was filled way over capacity for the opening day and had a total of about 500 people crammed on board. Then, as soon as it was able to pull up to land, people rushed to get off the boat, causing it to tip again and sink further. Luckily, it was shallow enough where people could just hop off the boat and walk out. Not happily, might we add.
3. Sleeping Beauty’s castle nearly caught fire
There was a gas leak reported in Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland, which resulted in flames surrounding Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Walt Disney was actually so busy on opening day, he didn’t even know about the fire until the following day. Priorities.
4. Fake tickets were everywhere
The opening day was actual invite-only, and with this being said, tickets were mailed out for special guests- friends and family of employees, the press, and celebrities. However, because of these fake tickets spreading like wildfire, the expected amount of 15,000 guests turned into 28,000.
5. The park was covered in wet paint and weeds
Because Walt Disney wanted the opening of Disneyland to be finished in a quick turnaround time, construction crews were not exactly working efficiently. By the time opening day came around, guests could tell that the park was not ready. Workers were still painting, trees were still being planted, and weeds had yet to be removed.
6. There was a plumber’s strike
Many of the water fountains and restrooms throughout the park were actually not working due to a plumber’s strike. The plumbers thought that Walt’s working hours were unfair, and so, went on strike.
7. The rides were breaking down
Despite the painting and planting not being totally finished, the actual construction and safety of the rides were also not up to par. A number of rides ended up breaking down or closing completely. Some of them were just plain, old not finished.
8. It was really freakin’ hot
Temperatures reached a scorching 100 degrees, and on top of fountains not working and a refreshment shortage, it made for very dangerous conditions for the park guests. It was so hot that the tar was melting and guests were getting their shoes stuck in it.
9. ABC’s coverage of the event was a disaster
Despite the TV special not reporting on or showing any of the disastrous experiences listed above, there were also a number of technical difficulties, guests tripping over cables in the park, and unexpected moments like the reporter caught making out with a background dancer just before going live. Oi vey.
10. Traffic was backed up for literal miles
Given that Disneyland was certainly not prepared for the amount of people that were bound to show up, traffic was backed up for a whole 7 miles. It shut down the freeway for several hours.
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