All fans of the Disney Parks know how remarkable these theme parks really are–with their exciting attractions, highly-immersive lands, beloved characters, fun treats, and world-class cuisine. Have you ever wondered who bought the first Disneyland ticket?
And one man, Dave MacPherson, can tell you how it all started with Disneyland in Anaheim, California as he not only visited the park opening day but then returned every year with the use of a lifetime ticket he received for being the first-ever customer to enter the theme park back in 1955.
MacPherson was only 22-years-old while studying at Long Beach State College when he became the first customer ever to set foot inside the happiest place on earth when he bought the first Disneyland ticket sold to the public. The almost lifetime park goer secured his number one spot by getting in line at 2 a.m. opening day, which has afforded him a lifetime of visits to the iconic theme park.
MacPherson came up with the idea of attempting to be first in line after seeing Disneyland’s opening celebration on television on July 17, 1955. Seeing all the celebrities enjoy the park made his desire to experience Disneyland for himself soar. So much so that it inspired him to be the first person ever to set foot in the park on its public opening the next day on July 18.
“I decided I wanted to be the first in line. The first person to go into the park who wasn’t a relative of Walt’s or some celebrity. The first regular guy to go in through the front door,” said MacPherson.
To carry out his plan, he hopped on his motorbike and rode 10-miles from Long Beach, California to Anaheim. MacPherson then walked to the nearest ticket booth and got in line. After waiting until sunrise, he purchased the first ticket sold to the public. This line MacPherson stood in had over 6,000 people in it, and he had made it to the front.
MacPherson has since lost his admission ticket. However, he was able to keep a copy of the complimentary card that came with it. He didn’t get to use the complimentary ticket because he had to go home the same day.
“Back then, folks would pay for admission and then buy books of tickets for various attractions. I don’t know what happened to the admission ticket for which I paid a dollar,” said MacPherson.
Although, he did receive a lifetime pass because he was the first public guest ever to the park, which he has used every year since. MacPherson says he receives a new version of the ticket every year in January.
“Each January I eagerly await the arrival of the next installment of the pass which is then good for another year at any Disney park, and I have received these annual passes since 1955. At the beginning, it was just a paper or cardboard pass and for years it was silver. In recent years it has been red in color and is made like a credit card and says on the front “VIP MAIN ENTRANCE PASS.” The reverse side has my name and says: Admit Passholder and 3 Guests,” said MacPherson.
For those wondering, on opening day to the public (July 18) Walt Disney opened the gate to the public. However, MacPherson says he quickly disappeared from sight, leaving many people a little disappointed.
That first Disneyland resort ticket that cost MacPherson only $1 has turned into a lifetime annual pass. Sadly MacPherson’s final visit was in 2018 as he died in November of that year.
How often would you visit Disneyland Resort if you had a park ticket that never expired?
Source: This Day in Disney History