For over a year, Walt Disney had been telling the public about the magical kingdom he was building down in Anaheim. As construction neared completion, there was a frenzy of discussion about the park. What was it really? Would it bankrupt Mr. Disney? Would it be just one big tourist trap? While many were predicting certain disaster, others were eager to see what it would actually be like.
Thanks to Admiral Joe Fowler, construction crews raced on to complete the park before the peak summer tourist season was over. Meanwhile, once Disney was able to commit to an opening date- July 17, 1955, ABC began planning out how it would cover the live proceedings. They had to requisition equipment from around the country to ensure they had enough cabling, cameras and monitors.
Live television was already a harrowing experience; that was compounded by the fact that ABC needed to cover the opening outdoors and sprawled out over 160 acres. ABC's technicians also had to deal with the heat and the constant construction that was still going on around the park.
Despite the frantic schedule and stress of getting this huge operation up and running, Walt decided to share his Magic Kingdom with his close friends by throwing an anniversary party in the Golden Horseshoe. Walt reveled in showing off his dream; a dream that was rapidly becoming reality.
Guests described Mr. Disney as giddy and excited. The 54 year old was like a kid again. He was the master of all he surveyed. A dream he held onto since he was a child was coming true.
So the stage was set; this Magic Kingdom was finally going to be unveiled. A dream would come true and history would be made. You have a ticket to the amazing dedication of DISNEYLAND- join us next week as we unwrap Walt's greatest gift to the world- DISNEYLAND.