By Jeremy Miville
Yes, there were amusement parks before Disneyland, but none looked to capture the essence of youth and family all at once. So, with that in mind, and the power vested in me by InsureMyTrip, I declare Disneyland as the first true theme park.
I’m not alone in this thinking – Google it. Not now, though; I’d like you to read the additional “firsts” that have taken place inside the wonderful world of Disneyland.
It all began opening day: July 17, 1955…
Disneyland was introduced to a waiting public, as the first and only theme park designed and built under Walt’s direct supervision.
The first public ticket was sold to David MacPherson, but was actually numbered “2”, because Roy Disney pre-purchase ticket number 1 from the manager of admissions, knowing how cool it would be to own it!
The first Lifetime Passes were awarded to Christine Vess Watkins and Michael Schwartner, who had inaccurately been identified as the first two guests of Disneyland, in an official picture of Walt Disney and the children. I’m sure the passes made up for the confusion.
The park was, and continues to be, a trend setter. In fact, the Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first ride to use a tubular steel track! Their design became the standard in roller-coaster engineering.
Disneyland is also responsible for introducing the public to Steve Martin, actor, comedian, and musician who sold guidebooks and worked on Main Street. It was his first job, and allowed him to study comedy from Wally Boag, a performer at the Golden Horseshoe Revue.
“Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” in Adventureland is rumored to be the birthplace of animatronics. While they’re credited with this first, the technology evolved and continues to be a mainstay for Disney Parks and other landmarks around the world.
The first daily-operating monorail train system in the Western Hemisphere travels the rail at Disneyland. How cool is that?
Almost as cool as the fact the first Dorito came from Disneyland. See, the park was looking for a way to recycle old tortillas beyond a trip to the dumpster, and Frito-Lay Company saw the opportunity to turn them into a fun snack food. Share that tid-bit at your next pot-luck!
Disneyland is in first place when it comes to total attendance too! More people have passed through their gate than any other theme park in the world, with over 650 million guests since it opened.
When Disney opened the original Disney theme park he shared, “Disneyland will never be completed…as long as there is imagination left in the world.” It seems this continues to hold true!