Disneyland: Then and now

On July 18, 1955, Daily Variety front-paged: “23,000 Storm Disneyland in Biggest Press-Preview Turnout in History.” That figure will fade this Sunday, when 56,000-plus are expected for the re-dedication ceremony in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Those expected to attend include Disney’s oldest daughter, Diane Disney; also Michael Eisner, Bob Iger and Art Linkletter, who was there opening day. A weeklong celebration will spread from the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday to the Port of Los Angeles aboard the Disney Magic Saturday with a benefit for Make-a-Wish. My column July 18, 1955, opened: ” It’s a Good Morning for Walt Disney — and everyone who has an investment in Disneyland.” The next day I continued, “The public marches into Disneyland at the rate of 5,000 an hour, but the press is mighty mad at the mishandled ‘press preview.’ Many of those invited to cover the event couldn’t get near the exhibits or describe ’em … Although the park’s features defy anything in existence, howcum somebody goofed on the number of drinking fountains? Waiting in line for rides is OK, but not for water.” The news story concluded, “The normal 40-minute drive from Hollywood consumed an hour and 40 minutes but was worth it.”

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