Monday, August 5, 2013

Amazing LIFE Magazine Pictures of Disneyland on Opening Day ! - Part One : Main Street U.S.A & Fantasyland

Hello Everyone! I'm back on Disney and more and i have something pretty exceptional for you, and with so many pictures that it will be a four part article! 

What you will see today and the next days are very rare pictures of Disneyland shot by LIFE Magazine photographers Allan Grant and Loomis Dean. Most of them were shots on Disneyland opening day or July 1955 as indicated by LIFE and some a bit later but most if not all of the pics were shot during Disneyland first days, in 1955. And they're all in glorious 1950's colors, so as usual click on each to see them in larger size! 

Not only these pictures show Disneyland as it looks at its very beginning but, even more precious, they allow you to "feel" the atmosphere, the people, the energy of the era... Fantastic pictures, really. 

Edited: The Part Two of the article showing incredible pictures of Tomorrowland on Disneyland opening day is now also online HERE and the part three with Frontierland pictures on opening day is online HERE

We will start by pictures shot by photographer Allan Grant on opening day with the famous shots of Mickey and the children running through Sleeping Beauty Castle and then back from Fantasyland.

Disneyland was open, and the first guests step in Main Street U.S.A!

Two rare pictures of Disneyland first parade - not shot the same day!

The picture below showing the end of the parade was shot on opening day.

At Main Street Station guests embark in the Disneyland Railroad trains.

The two next pictures show two different trains, with the parking lot and Katella Avenue in the background. And as you can see, strictly nothing else existed or was built around Disneyland at that time.

It's hard to think that DL guests embarked in what looks like a full size replica of Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific miniature train but yes, it did exist! The picture was shot apparently from the back of Tomorrowland, like the one above.

Let's move to Fantasyland with another shot showing the kids running to the castle. You can see that it was shot on opening day because of the scaffolding in the background on the top of which where the TV cameramen.

Here we come, Fantasyland, with a picture shot from the top of the pirate ship by Loomis Dean, like most of the shots below!

Let's do a zoom on the Mad Hatter tea cups - at that time located near the Carousel.

Let's move to Peter Pan's Flight with pictures of the mural painting of the loading room...

...and an amazing picture showing how basic was the load / unload at that time. Unbelievable. Now, due to safety regulations they couldn't do this anymore but, yes, that's how it looked on opening day!

We move now to the Snow White dark ride with two pictures showing Disneyland guests in the ride vehicle, which as you will notice have changed a lot since opening day!

Let's do like these children moving out of the "Sleepy" vehicle and let's go to Mr Toad Wild ride nearby with a series of pictures of guests inside the Mr Toad vehicle.

Not too far from Mr Toad was the Dumbo ride and the Pirate ship!... well as Casey Jr and Storybook Land.

You've note on the picture above the cameraman filming for the Grand Opening TV Special. In the distance guests could see the Disneyland Railroad passing by...

A last look to Fantasyland...

And with the children let's run through the castle to the next land...

...and for us it will be Tomorrowland in the part two of this article with stunning pictures of the land on opening day! The Tomorrowland article is now online HERE. and the part three with Frontierland pictures on opening day is online HERE
Pictures: copyright LIFE - Time Inc

If you like "opening day" pictures the Disneyland Paris book - in which you have the whole park in 320 pages with 750 photos including 250 WDI renderings - has plenty of pictures of Disneyland Paris in its early days and the book is still available in its collector edition! I also remind you that unfortunately there is now less than FIFTEEN copies of the Disneyland Paris From Sketch to Reality book available in its english collector's edition - french edition is also available - so if you don't own the book yet, it's really now or never! 

And there is a special price right now with a $45 / 40€ discount on the normal price, so order your collector copy while there is still copies available as it's really the last english collector copies. You'll find below a one click Paypal button as well as a video showing the whole book. Also, you can have more infos about this gorgeous 320 pages book HERE.

Choose between french or english edition -Price include shipping

Click on the image below to jump to the book presentation page.


  1. I am surprised the "population" on opening day was 5,000,000

  2. So good and fully colored photos. At my blog, I am also writing about some great pictures in the past. But sometimes I have no idea what to write. With this problem, I have some helpers from write my paper. They helped me fast and without problems!


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