His ideas then evolved to a small play park with a boat ride and other themed areas.Over time, Disney's ideas continued to evolve into a concept for a larger enterprise; that enterprise became what is known today as Disneyland.Following a televised first-look of the park along with a pre-opening for the press and VIPs on July 17, 1955, the official and historic public opening of Disneyland occurred on July 18, 1955.A half-century later, the official commemoration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary began on May 5, 2005 and ended on September 30, 2006.Disneyland was opened to the public on Monday, July 18, 1955.A Special Media Preview which included a live TV show on ABC aired on July 17, 1955, the opening ceremonies were televised nationwide and anchored by three of Walt Disney's friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan. The park was overcrowded as the invitation-only affair was plagued with counterfeit tickets: 11,000 people were invited, but 28,000 showed up. The high temperature was over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and a plumbers' strike left many of the drinking fountains dry.
Realizing a functional movie studio had little to offer to the visiting fan, he then began to foster ideas of building an area at his Burbank studios for tourists to visit and take pictures with Disney characters set in statue form.Walt delighted in giving visitors rides on his miniature train.(See Michael Broggie, Walt Disney's Railroad Story, 1998.) Early in development, during the early 1950s, it became clear that more area would be needed.Construction began on July 18, 1954 and would cost US million to complete. Because of his brother Roy's distrust of the project, and because of financial considerations, Walt Disney was forced to turn to outside financing for his theme park.For the first five years of its operation, Disneyland was owned by Disneyland, Inc., of which Walt Disney Productions and ABC each owned half.Another influence on the Disneyland concept was Walt's interest in model trains.