My friend took her daughter for a surprise visit to Disneyland today for an early Christmas present! (Let's be honest, it was probably as much for her as it was for her daughter). Disneyland, also known as "The Happiest Place on Earth", is the creative project (from brainstorm all the way to completion) of Walt Disney himself.
Opening day of the park, or "International Press Preview" was an invite only event on July 17, 1955. Well, it was supposed to be. Several counterfeit tickets were made and even though an estimated 11,000 people were expected, over 28,000 people entered the park.
For those who weren't invited, didn't hold a fake ticket, or climb over the wall using a ladder, people could watch the live broadcast of the event on the TV. Over 90 million viewers tuned into the broadcast, which at that time was one of the biggest live event coverages ever.
Though the broadcast seemed as magical as ever, the actual event was a bit of a folly. Paint was wet, trees were still being planted and with record breaking heat of over 100º F, the new asphalt was sticky tar holding onto ladies high-heeled shoes and rides had broken down early into the day.
All this being said, the public opening on July 18th, 1955 was packed and the park has been a favorite of many for the many decades since, including my friend and her Disney-heart daughter.