Watch: Walt Disney Prepares for Disneyland's Opening in 1955
Disneyland's construction ended up costing three times the initial estimates. Mr. Disney needed it to be perfect.
Every image we see of Disneyland in the 1950s and '60s shows a wonderland polished to a high-shine, its visitors squeaky clean and its operations timed with militaristic precision. So it's hard to imagine a time, almost exactly 60 years ago, when the happiest place on Earth was, well, anything but glossy, no-hair-out-of-place perfection.
Time.com just released a clip that shows the chaos prior to the park's opening on July 17, 1955, a snippet from PBS's American Experience special called Walt Disney, which airs in September. Here we get a peek at Disneyland's creation, made possible by the obsessiveness (and irrepressible optimism) of its creator.
Disney seems to take an almost literal hands-on approach to the whole project. The video notes Disney would walk "every inch of the construction site," ordering people to "move that gazebo, it's blocking the castle" or "that tree's too close to the walkway; how about moving it?"
In all, the project ended up costing triple what was estimated, a lot of the expense going to the wages of thousands of extra workers needed to open the gates on time. But enough talk; check out the clip below: