Sunday, July 17, 2005

Black Sunday at Disneyland

There is an interesting article published by the Associated Press describing what took place at Disneyland on the day it first opened, often referred to as "Black Sunday". Despite all the fanfare, the writer recounts all the stuff that went wrong:

Long lines formed at the rides, forcing visitors to stand in the sweltering sun. Later it was discovered that counterfeit tickets had been used by the uninvited. Adding to the congestion, crashers scrambled over fences and berms in remote areas of the park.

Several of the rides shut down because of overuse, and by the end of the day all the "Autopia" cars had been sidelined. The deck of the river boat Mark Twain was awash; too many passengers had climbed aboard. And a gas leak was discovered in Tomorrowland, forcing evacuation of the entire area.

Refreshment stands quickly ran out of food and drink, and there were few drinking fountains. Women's spiked heels sank into the newly laid asphalt on Main Street. Families waited in long lines to use toilets. A saboteur snipped electrical lines in Fantasyland, bringing all rides to a halt.
I remember my first time visiting Disneyland, though I don't remember the date. It was like 1974, or something. I remember Monsanto's "Journey Through Inner Space". That was my favorite ride at the time. More recently, my wife and I would enjoy resting our feet on the longer rides like Disneyland Railroad, or the People Mover. Actually, I think the People Mover was the best ride they had!

The last time I went to Disneyland was a couple years ago, and it was on a Wednesday. Man, there were SO many people crammed into that park, and it wasn't even a weekend!

I'd like to read what you have to recall about Disneyland "back in the day". Click on "Post a Comment", and share it with us.


  1. My first visit to Disneyland was in 1966. I remember the Matterhorn the most, because I was too frightened to ride. I waited in line with my parents and older brother, but the closer we got, the more frightened I got! I was only 5 at the time. We went to Disneyland every year after that at least one or two times a year. I remember when I was in high school, our marching band and drill team performed in the Christmas parade. We were excused from school - had free admission to the park, and got to stay until 10pm at night! I remember when Space Mountain opened up. We were there, and they were just testing it before the actual opening. We all went on it at least 5 times in a row with no waiting! What a hoot! I continued to refer to "E" ticket rides as the "best of the best" for most anything. I used to take my children every year until we moved to Arizona in the 1990's. I haven't been back to Disneyland since. I know it has changed, but I like my memories best.

  2. I remember horses and mules. I know, shocking! :-) Where Space Mountain is today, there used to be a horseback ride. I have a picture on a horse with Tigger standing next to us. I must have been about 4- it was sometime around 1974. They took it out shortly afterward, and we were relegated to riding the mules at Knotts where Jungle Island used to be. I also used to love "Adventure through Inner Space", where you were supposedly shrunk down to the size of an atomic particle. It was a very educational ride, as well as fun. Star Tours is there now. What I really miss, though, is the Submarines. I've heard that there have been so many inquiries about them, that they are planning to upgrade and reopen them instead of removing them. I haven't been there in years, though, so i don't know if that happened.

  3. July 17, 2005

    I was there too. At 5:45am my friends had dropped me to hold a space for them. I expected it to be like May 5th and I made the mistake of bring a folding chair. At the yellow checkpoint I was given the choices to trash the chair or take it home (Right) or not enter the plaza between DL and CA. I trashed the chair. I was then forced to buy a ticket to go any further. Luckly, I had the $50.00 cash to buy a ticket. I didn't mention I was just holding a place for my friends. I had other more important plans but was an early riser unlike them. So for my $50.00 ticket I received an escort into California Adventures where I was made aware that if my friends weren't in line already they wouldn't make it into the park (Passholders or not). The casemember then gave me a wrist band and a pair of Gold Mickey Ears with a sticker on the front and the July 17, 2005 date embrodered on the back. I was then told to get in line. The line went from Bakersfield Bakery around to California Screaming and back to Greetings from California after winding throught the Hollywood back lot. They didn't post one of those signs stating "Your waiting time from this point will be". I wonder why not?
    After finding out the front of the line had arrived at 3pm on July 16, 2005. (I bet they had chairs.) I took some pictures and spoke to my friends once again about them getting in the park. I then decided to leave with my arm band, Mickey Ears and wondering if I should've just stayed. Well, Thank you for letting me know I was right in collecting my $50.00 ears and wristband as well as my souvier program and leaving to have a wonderful breakfast at Bakers' Square. Steve, did you stand in the rain on May 5th un- able to see anyone or thing due to all the risers for the VIPs? I did!You would think I would have learned then. But at least I can say I was there on 05/05/05 and 07/17/05. Would I do it again?Probably so, but with different expectations of the Happiest place on Earth. (Anniversaries not Included) Wasn't that on the bottom of the program in small print? R Taylor - Anaheim, Ca

  4. Hi, I remember my first visit to Disneyland was in 1980. My favorite ride then was the small world ride. I remember when I was in high school when we went to play on the main street with Valley High School during Christmas. I think we went like 2 times. I can't believe how much they cost now!! I remember $20 was entrance fee and that was a lot. I live out of state now, but will go back soon to visit.

  5. I remmeber Ralpha or Alpha Beta had a promotion during the 80's that if you bought like $50 in groceries you got a free pass into the park. Well, with 4 kinds in our family $50 in groceries was chump change. So we have 4 kids with free passes. The only kicker was that each child would have to be accompanied by a separate adult. My parents dropped us off in front of the park at like 8 am and we each had to approach an adult entering the park and ask if we could pretend to be their kid. Oh yeah, Tom Sawyer island rocked. Injun Joe's cave was bottomless.

  6. To this day the BEST Disneyland ride of all time is MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE.

    What other ride can you think of that takes you to hell and back?

  7. One of my earliest memories of Disneyland was around '72 or '73 and my sister and I in our matching pink crocheted ponchos. We have pics of that day somewhere. I remember it was getting dark and time to go and I was very sad at not getting to see Mickey in person, when one of my parents said "there he is!" and I took off at a dead run to catch him and I gave his nose a kiss. I was 6 or 7 years old at the time. It was one of the best days of my life!
    I was a little older when I had the holy you-know-what scared out of me on the Matterhorn with my dad, and the hung person on the Haunted Mansion. I still can't look at it to this day! My sister freaked out at the huge eye at the end of Inner Space, it was hilarious!
    Later memories include school trips there and trips with my family where I got to take a friend... and taking off to find boys to make out with on the 'dark' rides...LOLOL... Inner Space, Haunted Mansion, Pirates. Such fun, goofy times.


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