So Much to Do, So Little Time

An aerial photo of Disneyland under construction in the spring of 1955 shows just how much work remained before the park would open in a few short months. 

On the bright side, you can see many of the major structures at this point had gone vertical and were taking shape. Many of the full growth trees Walt Disney insisted upon are also in place round the hub and forming a barrier between Frontierland and Fantasyland. On the panic-inducing side, attractions are present solely in shell form – if at all – and there’s no sign of a paved road or sidewalk anywhere. 

While some Disneyland construction leaders openly doubted they could open on July 17th, others knew they had to get it done. Disney Legend Joe Fowler, a former Navy Admiral who oversaw the construction of Disneyland explained to Walt Disney biographer Bob Thomas why:

“There was a time when C.V. Wood [who Fowler reported to] in June said, ‘Joe, we might just as well postpone it ’til September. We’re not going to make it.’ And I said, ‘Woody, we have to make it.’ Course I’d been sort of indoctrinated during the war. I had been working right under limits, I had twenty-five private shipyards and by doggie, we had to make dates! There wasn’t any two ways about it. That was probably the greatest thing in the world that we opened in July. If we had waited until September when the crowds sloughed off, and so forth, we might never have gotten it off the ground.”

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