The image above was shared on Facebook by the great Fred Dekker, and it made me wonder: when else has Disneyland been closed? The park is famously open 365 days a year - yes, even on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day - but it has shut down completely on three different occasions (I'm not talking about days when parts of the park were closed, but rather days when the whole shebang was shuttered).
It's important to note that in its first few years Disneyland wasn't open every day. In fact it used to be closed Mondays and Tuesdays on the off-season. And the park has been closed in the past for special events. It also has closed early because of inclement weather (but only a handful of times. The Disney World park has had to close more due to hurricanes that whip at Florida). But there have been three unscheduled days when Disneyland never opened.
The first is shown above - the national day of mourning after JFK was killed. The next time was after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994; that was one of the most powerful quakes ever recorded in North America - it was felt as far away as Las Vegas - and the park was shut down for an entire day for inspections, to make sure everything was safe after all the shaking.
The last time Disneyland was shut down unexpectedly was on 9/11. A park employee explained to The Disney Archive what it was like to be working that morning:
The [park] was preparing to open that day when the news broke. Right away, all gates that were unlocked were quickly locked. All employees went to their emergency zones. Everyone was confused. Then, an announcement was made by one of our managers. Around noon-ish, it was officially decided not to open the park at all and most of us went home. Ticket booths stayed open to refund tickets while some stayed to turn away guests and break the bad news to them.
Disneyland was open the next day, but as you can imagine much of the happiness was sucked out of the Happiest Place on Earth:
Only the hotel guests were really in the park. I remember working the monorail ticket booth (now a trading pin store) in the morning and I didn't sell a ticket. Just processed travel vouchers, sold Lion King tickets, and working as an information booth for the resort. Not a single guest walked through DTD, no planes in the sky, no music was playing on the walkway, and it was very difficult to keep a smile on anyone's face. Due to the low attendance, the parks closed earlier than scheduled. It was very surreal because only two days before it was packed. Something I'll never forget.