First Disneyland Ticket

Thursday, 19 May 2005 | Disneyland

Recently, I was surprised and honored to receive an email from Dave MacPherson, the first person to buy a ticket to Disneyland on July 18th, 1955. Although the park officially opened on July 17th, it was only open to selected guests and celebrities by invitation. Disneyland opened to the paying public the following day.

Dave MacPherson is now 72 years old and resides in Utah. He was awarded a lifetime VIP pass for him and three guests to Disneyland. That's a dream come true for a Disneyland fan like me! Thank you so much for allowing me to present your story on my web site, Dave!

DISNEYLAND'S GRAND OPENING (some little known facts)

by Dave MacPherson

I was at Disneyland when it opened for the public on Monday, July 18, 1955. Since I have some facts about that event that many websites evidently haven't known, I thought you might like to publish them:

It's true that Roy Disney, Walt's brother, requested the first printed ticket for his grandchildren's memorabilia.

It's also true that the park opened the previous day (Sunday) for a preview for only special guests and the news media, that some counterfeit tickets were printed by someone, and that some party crashers climbed over fences surrounding the attraction.

And it's true that when Disneyland opened for the public on that hot, humid Monday (the 18th), Walt Disney posed with Michael Schwartner and Christine Vess, the first two children in line.

But I had determined to make some history myself.

Since I wasn't Walt's relative, or a special guest or party crasher on the 17th, or a youngster on the 18th (I was then a 22-year-old college student), I had only one option. Employing the hard work and initiative that Walt had admired in persons like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, I focused on being first in line on the 18th and putt-putted on my Simplex motorbike from my Long Beach home to Disneyland during the wee hours of that unforgettable Monday.

Some time later I was notified that I had won a lifetime pass (good for any three persons and myself) - an annual card that I have received each year since 1955 which, in recent years, has also been good for other Disney parks including the ones in Florida and France.

You might say that 1955 was a very good year for a youthful Scotsman!

Because of my line of work, I've had many opportunities while guesting on worldwide talk shows to plug the various Disney attractions and tell about my purchase of the first Disneyland ticket when that park opened to the public.

I should add that Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck think it's about time for the media to air the facts I'm sharing here. Since I'm now 72, who am I to disagree with them? I enclose some old clippings from my scrapbook along with the two Daves - 50 years apart - the latest pic taken in 2005 near our home in Monticello, Utah.



Dad said at 2:56 AM on Friday, May 20, 2005

That's a great story, Mike! So nice of Mr. MacPherson to provide you with the information! He is proof positive that the "early bird gets the worm"!! What a great reward for his efforts!

Kathya said at 8:03 AM on Friday, May 20, 2005

Wow, that's such an awesome story! :D

Lori said at 9:08 AM on Friday, May 20, 2005

WOW!!! LOVE that story!!!!!! How nice of him to email you!! I'm so jealous! ;)

disneymike said at 9:32 AM on Friday, May 20, 2005

Thanks Dad, Kat and Lori! I received a very nice email from Dave last night thanking me for adding his story to my website.

Ingrid said at 7:08 PM on Friday, May 20, 2005

That is such an awesome story. So kind of Dave to share it with you as well. How did you find one another?

disneymike said at 8:58 AM on Monday, May 23, 2005

Thanks, Ingrid! Dave contacted me by email with all the news clippings, picture and story. He must have found me by a web search since my blog is

Gadisa said at 12:27 PM on Monday, May 23, 2005

Such a wonderful story and the photo's of Mr. MacPherson as a 22 year old student and now are great ... a lifetime VIP pass, wow.

By the way I found your blog through Flickr :)
Greetings from a dutch Disney fan :)

disneymike said at 1:20 PM on Monday, May 23, 2005

Gadisa, thanks for the nice comment. Please feel free to visit again. I'm so glad to hear you're a Disney fan like me!

Alice Benson said at 8:00 AM on Sunday, May 29, 2005

I am Dave MacPherson's sister and I have always been envious that he had all those passes to Disneyland and I never got to use one!

disneymike said at 9:55 AM on Monday, May 30, 2005

Thanks for commenting on my site, Alice! It's an honor to have been contacted by Dave and yourself too. I'm so sorry to hear you never were able to take advantage of those Disneyland passes. I'm envious too, as a Disneyland lover. ;)

Snowhite Pam said at 6:40 PM on Thursday, June 2, 2005

Hi DisneyMike, I was a Disneyland Ticket Taker Cast Member in March of 2004 and had the blessing of having Dave and his wife come through my line. They shared his pictures and story with me. (Wow, a red lifetime pass! We didn't see those very often!) I got my picture with him, (because I asked his wife to take one!) and he and I have been emailing and friends ever since. I feel it an honor to know them both. GOD bless you, Dave and Wanda! ºoº

disneymike said at 7:40 PM on Friday, June 3, 2005

Hi Snowhite Pam! It's so neat you got to meet Dave and his wife in person. I would love to meet them someday too. I have corresponded with Dave by email and he is a very kind person. I am honored to have made his acquaintance even if only be computer. Pam, please feel free to email me if you'd like to talk about anything Disney. :)

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