Ever since its opening day, Disneyland hosted future United States Presidents for landmark festivities. When the park opened on July 17, 1955, actor Ronald Reagan was a leading dignitary on hand, but on this day in 1959, it was Vice President Richard M. Nixon who was invited, along with his family, for the inauguration of the new Disneyland monorail.
The Nixon family would be the first guests to ride the attraction after its official opening, but first the future President’s daughters, Tricia and Julie, had the honors of cutting the ribbon during the ceremony. Unfortunately, despite the girls’ best efforts, the scissors did not work.
As Walt stated in the Disneyland 10th Anniversary television program, “Here we were with our monorail, the forerunner of rapid transit of the future, all checked out and ready to go, but somebody forgot to check out the scissors.” So Walt simply ripped the ribbon, creating a humorous moment fondly remembered today.
Since its opening on this day in 1959, the Disneyland Monorail has seen rerouted tracks and now features the newest Mark VII Monorails, and if you listen to the onboard narration you will learn this little bit of trivia: “When Walt Disney introduced this monorail in 1959, it was the first daily operating Monorail system in the western hemisphere.” Oh, and please remain seated until the Monorail has come to a complete stop. Thank you.
Banner Photo Credit: Disney