On July 17, 1955, about 28,000 people (roughly half of whom had been sold counterfeit tickets) walked, for the first time, through the gates of Disneyland and into history. To say it didn’t go smoothly would be an understatement: The temperature was 101 degrees (hot, even for Southern California) and difficulties with both the plumbing system and the labor unions made it impossible for anyone to get a drink. Only a handful of the rides and attractions were open at all, and most of those were continually breaking down and closing. Even the animals—the horses and mules in the Wild West attractions—refused to cooperate. That walk may have been historic, but it was made even more difficult by all the asphalt—poured only a few hours earlier—that kept sticking to everyone’s shoes. ...
I was six years old, hanging onto my mother's hand, staring through a lot of adult legs and wondering why all the tv cameras were doing there, and why there were so many fat, black cables snaking across the ground.
But what I remember most were the milling crowds, the heat, and the few rides we got to go on. (There was the train around the park, and the Mark Twain, and that was about it.)
Never got to go on the Autopia, but it's just as well. Frank, Sammy Davis Jr. and the rest were riding around in 100 degree heat.