Walt's theme park vision left a mark on American culture

Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2005 8:28 AM | Contributed by Jeff

To build his dream theme park in Anaheim a half-century ago, Walt Disney borrowed against his life insurance policy and cashed in property, including a vacation home in Palm Springs, to pay the $17-million construction bill. When the Anaheim theme park opened July 17, 1955 — with cranky Southern Californians fanning themselves on a sweltering hot day — toilets clogged, the food ran out and women's high heels sunk into wet asphalt. Disney officials still call it "Black Sunday."

Read more from The LA Times via The Orlando Sentinel.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 12:01 PM
Wow I had no idea the opening of Disneyland was so horrible. That's pretty entertaining though.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 1:14 PM
That is why the Disney Complainers are always so off in their arguments. They complained about MGM when it opened, Animal Kingdom, DCA, etc. The fact of the matter is that very few theme parks open complete and without any problems.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 1:35 PM
I just find it hard to believe they built it in a year. Then again, so was the Empire State Building.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 4:28 PM
Wow, I didn't know either was built in a year!

I have to say, I loved Disneyland. I know many people hate on it, but I had a blast, it was more than I could have dreamed it. If Walt Disney World is 'better', I'm really happy come Oct.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 8:28 AM
It was built in a year but, let's remember, it wasn't the park it is today.

There was no:

Pirates of the Caribbean

Haunted Mansion

Space Mountain

Monorail

20K

Matterhorn

Star Tours

Toon Town

....and a whole lot more. The haters of California Adventure may have some legitimate gripes but I suspect those same people would have hated on Disneyland because it was, literally, half the park it is today.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 1:16 PM
Yah, but with nothing to compare it to...

Remember this was a brand-new idea. People didn't know what to expect. Also, it was a LOT larger than his original idea of a small park with a choo-choo, merry-go-round, and statues of Mickey and friends.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005 6:04 PM
Yeh, thats nothing new, either. Most parks built from scratch don't open with much as it takes years to add major rides to a park, and people can say what they wish about DCA, for what it is, and its size, I thought it was exceptional.
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