Thursday, July 17, 2014

59 Years Ago Today...



59 years ago today, Walt Disney shattered the idea of what an amusement park was and raised the bar to new heights. The action all began at the Main Street Train Station with Art Linkletter and Ronald Reagan on the platform for the ABC Broadcast.



Thanks to the USC Digital Archives, we can see a series of photos that document Walt's Opening Day Grand Circle Tour aboard the E.P. Ripley on July 17, 1955.



Here, Goodwin J. Knight (Governor of California), Walt Disney, and Fred Gurley (President of the Santa Fe Railroad) wave to onlookers as they pull into the station aboard the E.P. Ripley and Retlaw-1. A costumed Mickey Mouse character is right up front.









Giving an equal opportunity to all, the trio switched sides of the train to wave to guests near the entrance.





At the end of the trip, the trio looks positively drunk with excitement as they exit the Main Street Train Station into Town Square with Art Linkletter trailing behind them. I love seeing Walt's cap sitting slightly askew.



Can you imagine actually being there on Opening Day? Happy 59th Anniversary, Disneyland!

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter and view my most recent photos on Flickr.

See more vintage Disneyland Opening Day photos on my main website.

6 comments:

K. Martinez said...

I'm just blown away that Disneyland is approaching its 60th anniversary.

Heidi Ann said...

Wonderful photos!! Happy Birthday to My Happiest Place!

stu29573 said...

Great pictures! I think the "costumed Mickey Mouse character" is actually a stuffed toy. I can remember seeing film of Walt making it wave its arm out of the train window. Also, the Mickey costume used that day was much more....scary....

Darryl R said...

Walt is just beaming with true joy that his "little park" he dreamt up came to fruition...all wrapped up with his hobby of a train circling it all...what it would have been like to be by his side that day.

CoxPilot said...

Two weeks from today I visited Disneyland for the first time.

beachgal said...

I also went 2 weeks after the opening. That's Bob Cummings next to Ronald Reagan and Art Linkletter in the first picture.