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The Happiest Place On Earth: This Was What Disneyland Looked Like When It First Opened in the 1950s

Walt Disney’s fantasy city, Disneyland, was opened on the 17th of July in 1955. Built on 160 acres formerly orange orchards in Anaheim, California, the $17 park was a dream come true. Although the fantasy park receives more than 18 million guests yearly today, it’s impressive that it has always attracted many people from day one. So what were its debut days like? That’s what this article is all about.

The birth of Disneyland

Walt Disney, born in Chicago, was the ‘creator’ of Disneyland– it was named after him. He used to produce animated cartoons in his small Los Angeles studio before he became famous for his 1928 short film “Steamboat Willy”; that was where Mickey Mouse first appeared.

Courtesy: TCM

After that, Walt went on to produce several famous Disney cartoons like “Pinocchio.” He decided to build an amusement park to educate and entertain kids; Disneyland’s construction started in 1954. The park is still fulfilling Walt’s dream today.

Even Disneyland was not ready

Having produced different Disney cartoons that children loved, Walt Disney’s influence was remarkable. Thousands of people couldn’t wait to visit his fantasy land. People even counterfeited passes for the opening to get a peek inside.

Courtesy: Designing Disney

Aside from the invited people, thousands of people got into Disneyland on the day it was opened. As a result, the Mark Twain boat almost capsized because of too many passengers; even the refreshments got exhausted. 

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most famous characters. According to the story, she lived in a castle, and Walt Disney wanted kids to experience this castle whenever they visited Disneyland. 

Courtesy: DisneyExaminer

With kids crossing the drawbridge over the moat, the character’s castle in Fantasyland received thousands of guests on that day. They also explored the inside where a model torture chamber was. 

Adventureland’s Jungle Island

Another sight that caught the attention of thousands of guests on the July 17 opening was the Jungle Island. The island featured mechanical wildlife that excited the kids who visited.

Courtesy: Touring Plans

The guests circled the island in sightseeing riverboats, with a giraffe peering down at them. To spice up the boat ride, a hungry hippopotamus frequently shows up and opens his mouth, thrilling the kids on the boats.

Frontierland’s Painted Desert

The Painted Desert in Frontiersland entertained kids with cowboys, horses, cattle, and, of course, Indians. Ranchers cross a stream while Indians stand motionless at the banks to prevent scaring horses. It was a realistic scene for the kids.

Courtesy: Fandom

Buckboards, Conestoga wagons, and stagecoaches were the best rides there at the time. The desert was brilliantly designed to look and feel like a mini-desert, giving kids the experience of the movies they’ve seen.

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