Disneyland opened its gates on July 17, 1955, on a plot of land in Anaheim, California that previously consisted of orange groves. It cost $17 million to open the park, and its opening day was referred to as “Black Sunday” by Disney employees for years afterward because it had a bumpy start. Several rides were not ready to go and there were thousands more people entering the park than expected who walked in with counterfeit tickets. However, the park recovered and today visitors spend almost $3 billion a year at Disneyland.
On opening day, visitors could watch the first Disneyland parade featuring Dumbo and other Disney characters, and listen to the Disneyland Band.
Fantasyland housed most of the rides in 1955, and children poured in through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to ride the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the King Arthur Carrousel, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and the Storybook Land Canal Boats for the first time. To the disappointment of some guests, the Rocket to the Moon, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides were closed.
The other main attractions that were open were Autopia, Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station, Disneyland Railroad New Orleans Square Station, Jungle Cruise, Main Street Cinema which showed silent films at the time, and the Mark Twain Riverboat.
On July 31, 1955, the Casey Jr. Circus Train opened, and on August 16th of the same year, Dumbo the Flying Elephant was ready. Alice in Wonderland opened in 1958 and the Matterhorn Bobsleds made their appearance the following year. In 1963, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened, and the delightful “it’s a small world” ride was added in 1966. 1967 ushered in Pirates of the Caribbean, and in 1969 the Haunted Mansion made a spooky addition to Disneyland.