See Photos of Disneyland Before Its Opening Day Back in 1955

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Sleeping Beauty’s castle on July 12, 1955—about five days before opening day, hence the construction materials hanging around. Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

A tweet late last month from the Los Angeles Public Library about a few new photos recently added to their collection—vivid color photos of a 1950s Disneyland just days before its opening—inspired us to comb through the archives for more images of the theme park taken just before its opening day. Apparently, the big day was not a runaway success: the History Channel’s website says the opening was a disastrous mix of “Epic traffic jams, counterfeit tickets, broken rides, food shortages and a lack of water on a 100-degree day.” (For years after, park employees called it “Black Sunday.”) But in these photos, it’s empty and waiting for crowds of people whose imaginations will be captivated by the place for decades to come.

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