Why The Bungled Launch of Disney Plus is a Good Omen


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Why The Bungled Launch of Disney Plus is a Good Omen

The Happiest Place on Earth was a Failure on Day 1 Too!


(Chesnot / Contributor/Getty Images)

Did the same people who designed healthcare.gov create the system infrastructure for Disney's new streaming service?

After months of aggressive marketing and hype, day 1 of Disney+, the company's official foray into the increasingly crowded world of content on-demand was a bit of mess.

Within hours of its launch, Disney+ users began experiencing connection problems and took to Twitter to air their grievances. 

Another subscriber tweeted, "My kid just woke up and @Disneyplus has crashed."

Disney chose to focus on the silver lining in the cloud, tweeting that the challenges were the result of stronger-than-expected demand.

"The demand for #DisneyPlus has exceeded our highest expectations," the company wrote. "We are so pleased you’re excited to watch all your favorites and are working quickly to resolve any current issues. We appreciate your patience."

With so many Disney+ users experiencing issues on day 1, it's tempting to fantasize that Walt Disney is in heaven somewhere (or in a meat locker) shaking his fist and demanding heads roll.

In reality, Mr. Disney would probably smile and reflect on another epic failure in the company's history: July 17, 1955, the day that the world's most famous theme park first opened its doors in Anaheim, CA.

Opening day at Disneyland was a colossal failure. It became known among cast members as “Black Sunday” due to all of the problems experienced at the park.

Here are a few of the many challenges that were encountered on day one at Disneyland, according to Main Street Insider:

  • As Disneyland opened, workers were still busy trying to get the park ready.  Trees were still being planted and some of the paint was still wet.
  • Due to a problem with counterfeit tickets, over twice the number of invited guests showed up to attend the opening day festivities, making the park quite crowded.
  • To make matters worse, each parking ticket had a designated time to enter the park to prevent overcrowding.  But the guests who entered early in the day were not leaving after a few hours as expected.  So, they were letting more people in and no one was exiting the park.
  • Because more visitors than expected showed up, the Disneyland restaurants and refreshment stands ran out of food and beverages.
  • The asphalt on Main Street had just been poured the night before and was still wet.  Women’s high heels were sticking in the pavement.
  •  Many of the rides broke down on opening day.  The Storybook Land Canal Boats had to be pulled by cast members in rubber boots.  At the time, there were no guide rails for Autopia; Therefore, some of the cars crashed into each other, making them inoperable.
  • Due to a plumbers’ strike during the construction of Disneyland, Walt Disney had to choose between having working bathrooms or working water fountains on opening day.  Walt chose bathrooms, which was probably a good choice; however, the temperature that day reached over 100 degrees, leaving guests hot and thirsty.
  • A gas leak in Fantasyland led to the land being temporarily closed for part of the day.
  • The Mark Twain riverboat was filled beyond capacity, as the capacity for the boat had not yet been determined.  When the crowd moved from one side of the boat to the other to see the sights, the boat began to list from side to side and water came over the deck.  A few days later, with over 500 guests on board, the Mark Twain almost sank and became stuck in the mud.  Disney then established a capacity of 300 in order to prevent this from happening again.
  • Due to the Disneyland opening day disaster, many press reviews speculated that the park would not last long.

Maybe the problems encountered by Disney+ subscribers on day 1 are a harbinger of great things to come.

Hammer and Nigel talk the launch of Disney+ and whether their kids will force them to subscribe in the clip below.

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