On this day, 60 years ago, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California opened its gates to invited guests.  It was then that Walt Disney delivered his famous speech:

To all who come to this happy place: Welcome.
Disneyland is your land.
Here, age relives fond memories of the past,
and here, youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.
Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts
that have created America,
with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration
to all the world.

That, it, indeed, has been.

Here are some interesting facts about Disneyland’s opening:

  • Adult tickets were $1 and children’s were 50 cents.
  • The park was built in just one year.
  • A lot was not yet completely ready:  asphalt was soft, paint was wet, there was a food shortage, a gas leak in Fantasyland, and some rides broke down.
  • 15,000 invitations were printed for the July 17th preview day, but people made copies and almost twice that amount showed up, resulting in many of the problems that were had.
  • 18 rides and attractions opened that day, as well as shops and restaurants.  Among them were King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Mark Twain Steamboat.
  • There was a plumbers’ strike during construction, so Walt Disney had to choose between having working restrooms or working water fountains.  He chose restrooms.  (Source: Frontierland Station)
  • Temperatures were around 100 degrees that day.

(Source: CNN)

Actor Ronald Reagan (later, President) co-hosted on the ABC special broadcast.  You’ll see him in a white jacket and dark bow tie (50:20 mark).

Here are some photos from the day:

Walt and Mickey ride the train Image Credit: Water and Power

Walt and Mickey ride the train
Image Credit: Water and Power

Image Credit: Designing Disney

Image Credit: Designing Disney

Image Credit: Disney Dreamer

Image Credit: Disney Dreamer

The following day (July 18, 1955), Disneyland opened to the public (rather than by invitation).