July 18, 1955. Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California opens to the public. The park was the idea of Walt Disney who himself took inspiration from other parks in the US but also in other countries such as Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and Efteling in the Netherlands. Disneyland Park is the only Disney resort to have been built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. The park was opened to a restricted number of invited guests on July 17, but thousands of tickets were forged and the event was something of a disaster. The following day, the doors were open to members of the wider public, many of whom camped outside the park all night to get tickets. Since then more than 600 million people have been to Disneyland, making it the most visited theme park in the world. Disney now has similar parks in Florida, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Also on July 18: the Great Fire of Rome (AD 64); Mary Jo Kopechne dies in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy on Chappaquiddick Island (1969); Nadia Comaneci becomes the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games (1976)
Born on July 18: Nelson Mandela (1918), Martha Reeves (1941), Richard Branson (1950).