Disneyland - 50 Years Later
Sue and I were there where thousands of Disney fans donned special gold-colored Mickey ears as they streamed through the entrance to Disneyland on Sunday, 50 years after the landmark opened its gates and gave birth to the modern theme park. I was there opening day 50 years previous!
The festivities, which included a fireworks-and-confetti display, were set outside the Sleeping Beauty Castle and began with televised images echoing the fanfare of the park's launch in 1955. It was a lot cooler and everything was orchestrated very well, not like opening day.
Art Linkletter Was There Again
Broadcaster Art Linkletter, 93, who hosted the live telecast of the park's opening day along with Ronald Reagan and actor Bob Cummings, also was on hand. He looked pretty good for being a half-century older.
Disneyland was wildly innovative when it opened on July 17, 1955. It used robotic figures, holographs and panoramic movies in circular theaters to spin stories for children.
But Disneyland's opening day is now remembered as "Black Sunday." The $17 million, 160-acre park initially had prepared for about 15,000 people. Instead, fans burst through the perimeter fence or found other ways inside, swelling the crowd by nearly double. Mom, Dad and I joined Ralph, Carolyn and Paula Leibowitz that day... and we had real honest to goodness tickets courtesy of Western Publishing.
Ticket prices also have changed. An entry ticket into the theme park on its opening day was $1, but people had to purchase individual tickets to go on rides. By 1959, Disney introduced the "E" ticket, which allowed multiple rides. It was 85 cents. Today, an all-inclusive entry ticket for ages 10 and up is $56.