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The opening of the park was a monumental shitstorm that almost killed the company. Walt Disney had arranged for the entire day to be broadcast live on television – the roster included an endless stream of musical acts, a tour of the park, and (naturally) a go-kart race between Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. It was like he was daring the universe to wreck his shit. The universe immediately obliged.

When the turnstiles opened, the park was besieged by a swarm of 28,000 ticket-holders … which was weird, because they’d only sold 15,000 tickets. As it turns out, some scamp (as all criminals were referred to back in those days) had printed and sold an extra 13,000 counterfeit tickets. It didn’t get any better. The overwhelming number of people meant that every food stall in the park soon sold out, leaving starved visitors on the verge of eating Donald Duck.

The park’s hasty construction didn’t help matters. The plumbing soon ground to a halt on account of a local strike that left the water fountains dry, while the freshly laid tarmac paths turned into a sticky, people-trapping mess. It’s even rumored that a visitor’s poodle was completely enveloped in thatSwamp of Sadness.

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