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20 Historic Photos Of Disneyland On Opening Day In 1955

littlethings.com logo littlethings.com 8/19/2019 Ileana Paules-Bronet
a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building: disneyland-opening-day © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images // disneyland-opening-day

In 1955, the world of theme parks changed forever. Disneyland, originally known as Disneyland Park, located in Anaheim, California, opened to the public on July 17, 1955.

According to Disney lore, Walt Disney came up with the idea for Disneyland after he visited numerous amusement parks with his daughters throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1953, he bought a 160-acre site in Anaheim, and construction began on the theme park in 1954.

Since opening, people have visited Disneyland over 726 million times. The amusement park was so successful that Disney went on to open a number of other Disney parks, both in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to Disneyland, there is also Walt Disney World (located in Florida), Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and Tokyo Disney Resort.

Although each of the Disney parks is amazing, there’s nothing quite like the original in California. Take a trip through memory lane by looking through these historic photos of Disneyland from opening day!

a group of people standing outside of a building © USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Cowboys on horseback ride across a bridge into Frontierland on opening day. It’s not typical to see people on horseback at Disneyland nowadays, but on opening day in 1955, there were real life cowboys on the property.

a car parked in a parking lot full of cars © USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

The parking lot was completely full on Disneyland’s opening day. People were so desperate to get into the park that some even parked illegally — just look at the car in the front left, that’s definitely not a parking spot!

a group of people on a boat in the water © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

On opening day, park-goers couldn’t wait to try out the attractions — from rides, to games, to restaurants, they couldn’t get enough. In this photo, kids and adults alike stand in line to get a chance to go on the Tomorrowland boat ride attraction.

© Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

The ‘Circus Train’ ride was an exact replica of the ‘Casey Jr.’ train used in Dumbo. In the background of this photo, you can also see people floating down a lazy river on a boat.

a group of people sitting at a table © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Kids spin in the iconic teacup ride at Disneyland on opening day. This ride, located in Fantasyland, was officially called the ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.’ The teacups are still an iconic Disney ride.

a person standing in front of a building © Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Walt Disney poses in front of the Fantasyland castle during the grand opening of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. Walt Disney passed away just eleven years later, in 1966, at age 65.

a group of people walking down the street © Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Park-goers watch the Tomorrowland portion of the parade, which features cars, astronauts, and more. Disneyland still features a daily parade, which kids and adults absolutely love. It’s always a fun way to take a break from riding rollercoasters!

a group of people standing in front of a castle © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Kids sprint through the opening under Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Fantasyland. The castle is absolutely iconic, and people from all over the world flock to Disneyland to get a picture with the famous castle.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

“Bartenders” serve root beer to kids at the Golden Horseshoe, a children’s saloon. Although Disneyland is great for adults and children alike, they’ve always catered to younger kids, which is why this adorable saloon was a hit.

a view of a city street © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Kids zoom around a mile-long track on Disneyland’s Autopia freeway care attraction. Autopia is still open at Disneyland, and other Disney parks have their own versions of the same attraction.

a group of people sitting at a table © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

People take a break from the heat and relax in Tomorrowland’s ‘Space Port.’ On the first day, people were absolutely astounded by what they saw. Although it was thrilling to get a first look at Disneyland, it was also exhausting — people could relax in restaurant and lounge areas to catch their breath and get ready to explore more.

a vintage photo of an old building © Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Disney characters stand near the Fantasyland castle. As is the case today, Disney characters are a huge part of the Disneyland experience. Kids can’t wait to meet all their favorite characters, from princesses to Mickey Mouse to brand new movie characters.

a close up of a busy street filled with water © Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Trolleys transport park guests from the parking lot to the amusement park. The parking lot was enormous, so to save people the long walk to the park, trolleys carried guests to and from the amusement park. Disney California Adventure Park was eventually built on this parking lot.

a man standing in front of a group of people posing for a photo © USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Walt Disney and California Governor Goodwin Knight wave to fans from on board the E.P. Ripley train. The opening of Disneyland was a huge event — ABC even televised the unveiling of the park.

a large ship in a body of water © Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Happy park visitors wave from on-board the Mark Twain Riverboat ride. The Mark Twin Riverboat is still in operation today — it features a 14 minute ride around the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.

a group of people standing in front of a building © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Park guests watch as the parade makes its way down Main Street. Main Street is still a huge attraction for guests at Disneyland. It welcomes visitors to the park and sets them up for a great day ahead.

a group of people walking down the street © Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck hold hands outside the Fantasyland castle. These two classic Disney characters look perfect standing in front of the iconic castle.

a group of people on a boat in the water © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Adults and children float along the water on one of the boat rides. From their vantage point, they can see the circus train and numerous other rides at the park.

a crowd of people in a room © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Park-goers gather in the plaza around the teacup ride. This central location was a fun place for families to get together and take in the sights of the park.

a group of people walking down the street © Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Excited kids sprint into Disneyland to get on rides and explore the park. As is true today, kids can hardly contain themselves as they see Disneyland for the first time.

RELATED VIDEO: Woman returns to Disney 34 years after winning free pass as teen (Provided by: CBS Los Angeles)

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