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Disneyland’s First-Ever Customer Has Been Using His Lifetime Ticket Every Year Since 1955

Disneyland’s First-Ever Customer Has Been Using His Lifetime Ticket Every Year Since 1955

Dave McPherson received a lifetime pass for being the first 'regular guy' ever to enter the park at age 22.

Crowds of people gathered around Disneyland at 2 a.m. to buy tickets to set foot in the legendary amusement park on the day it was opened to the public. David MacPherson went down in history as becoming the first person to buy a ticket and enter the now-iconic park. According to Business Insider, on Opening Day, a general admission ticket costs just $1, and attractions cost between $0.10 and $0.35 per ride. Now tickets cost $80 and rides are included in the price.  MacPherson was just 22 years old at the time when he set out to get his hands on the first admission ticket on Sunday, July 17, 1955. 

circa 1955: Holidaymakers in Disneyland in California. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The Scotsman rode approximately 10 miles from Long Beach, California to Anaheim to begin the queue, according to Bored Panda. He said that seeing the line of 6,000 people behind him was a sight he would never forget. Along with a complimentary card, he also received a lifetime pass for being the first 'regular guy' ever to enter the park and he's been enjoying the perks ever since. "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," he shared according to  This Day In Disney History. As exciting as this was for the then-22-year-old he did have one regret: he didn't get to shake Walt Disney's hand! During the park’s opening to the public the next day, Walt Disney welcomed the public but was quick to disappear shortly after opening the gate. He probably wanted to avoid the stampede of excited first-day visitors. Despite this, Dave's lifetime passes to the famous park which he said gets in installments every year, has been an honor since he'd been visiting the park ever since.



 

"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," he explained.

Source: This Day In Disney History

The special customer often carries some photocopies of a page in his scrapbook containing "first-day" clippings from papers in L.A. and Long Beach to prove to staffers that he indeed was the person to get the first-ever ticket. "It isn't unusual, after I give a copy of that scrapbook page to anyone manning the entrance gate, to have that official shout to the crowd 'Folks, this man bought the first ticket to Disneyland when it opened in 1955.' You can't believe how many folks from different parts of the world have then come over and asked for my autograph or shot a picture of my wife Wanda and myself!" Dave and his wife Wanda eventually moved to Kansas, but would still visit the Happiest Place on Earth every chance they got. Although Dave MacPherson passed away at age 85 in November 2018, his love for the theme park still lives on. 

Source: This Day In Disney History