Today, Disneyland is the second-most visited theme park in the world, but it wasn’t always that way. The Opening Day was a disaster that's now nicknamed “Black Sunday.”

Disneyland made its debut on July 17, 1955, in front of the media. It was a revolutionary concept, unlike anything the world had seen before. The opening day festivities were broadcast live on television, and historians estimate that around 90% of television owners in the United States watched it. The event was graced by the presence of two future presidents: Vice President Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who was a TV host at the time. Among the guests were Frank Sinatra and possibly even a young George Lucas.

The opening day of Disneyland was fraught with issues, some of which included:

Live Broadcast Problems

Opening Day of Disneyland was broadcast live on television on ABC. Pre-recording did not exist at the time, so everything had to be 100% live. It was also the largest live broadcast on television yet. Of course, there was a lot of pressure to make it perfect. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. There were several awkward moments and mistakes. Some of them include Walt speaking on camera too early, one of the hosts losing their microphones, etc.

High Heels Weren’t a Good Idea Back Then, Either.

Today if you choose to wear high heels to Disneyland, you may as well say goodbye to your feet for a couple of weeks. Well, back in Disneyland’s early years, guests often wore nice dress clothes to the park. This was especially true for the opening day since the event was broadcast live on television.

Unfortunately for several women who chose to wear heels, the tar on the ground was not completely dry. Their shoes sunk into the ground! Disneyland gave away free moccasins in Frontierland to those who needed them instead. These were the only shoes available in the park.

Counterfeit Tickets

Many opening day tickets were counterfeited. Even though only 6,000 people were invited, there were about 28,000 people in attendance.

There was trash, everywhere

For some reason, the garbage trucks did not pick up trash the night before opening. Cast members had to franticly try to hide the trash that was scattered throughout the park.

No water

Due to a plumber strike that year, Walt Disney had to choose between putting drinking fountains or bathrooms in the park. He ultimately chose bathrooms. After a lot of backlash, he famously responded, “People can buy Pepsi-Cola, but they can’t pee in the street.” Drinking fountains have since been added, though.

Painted Trees

Rumour has it that the cast members painted the trees green early morning on opening day.

Newspapers claim failure

After all the drama that was Disneyland’s Opening Day, newspapers everywhere predicted that Disneyland wouldn’t last one year. Walt was determined to fix all the problems. Within one year, attendance skyrocketed as Walt and his Imagineers added new attractions, fixed several issues, and saved the park. Now Disneyland has been open for over 60 years!