“Walt's Dream a Nightmare,” read one, while another declared “Disneyland Shatters Illusions.”
It did not, however, shatter Walt Disney, who pressed on with improvements to his new park.
Not that all “improvements” went better. When Disney insisted on adding a circus to Disneyland, opening night was almost a repeat of the “Black Sunday” park opening. At the first performance a black panther chewed the paw off a tiger in the next cage, a wagon clipped a pole and knocked down part of the tent, the top of a well-endowed trapeze artist went south when the artist went north and two llamas got loose and had to be chased.
“Walt, sitting in the front row with the Mouseketeers,” wrote David Koenig in “Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland,” “buried his face in his hands.”