Life
Even now, Disneyland’s very 1st customer still uses his lifetime pass to visit every year
And you thought you were a Disney fan, huh? 👀
Caryl Jane Espiritu
04.22.22

Have you ever imagined how cool it would be if you had a lifetime pass to Disneyland?

Pexels - Craig Adderley
Source:
Pexels - Craig Adderley

Well, one man was lucky enough to win this amazing gift, and that person is none other than a man named Dave MacPherson.

In 1955, Disneyland opened its gates for the first time to customers, and the first guy in line was Dave.

Because he received the honor of becoming the first-ever customer of the world-renowned theme park, Dave also received the incredible gift of getting a lifetime pass.

Yes, he can go to the park and enter its gates for free for life! That momentous day was in 1955, and now, more than six decades later, the man still uses his lifetime pass every single year.

On July 18, 1955, at 2 o’clock in the morning, Dave who was then a 22-year-old college student from Long Beach, California, secured a spot for himself at the very front of the line at the brand new park. He really wanted to be the first in line so he made sure he was right there at the front, next to the gates that were still closed.

“I decided I wanted to be the first in line,” Dave said. “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.”

Pexels - Djordje Petrovic
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Pexels - Djordje Petrovic

From Long Beach, Dave drove his motorcycle to Anaheim only to make sure he was the first person to enter the gates.

After 10 hours on the road, he finally reached the gates and stood next to the ticket booth. He definitely was intent on making it as the first customer.

As soon as the gates started to let people buy tickets, Dave reached out and bought the first-ever ticket from the theme park. Walt Disney opened the gates privately to his family the day before.

Unspash - steve lozano
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Unspash - steve lozano

When David bought his ticket, he effectively made history as the first person, who was not a relative of Walt Disney who entered the park.

This Day in Disney History
Source:
This Day in Disney History

Because he had to get back to Long Beach, Dave didn’t get to use this complimentary card on any ride or amusement that first day at Disneyland. Apparently, he does not know where the card is today. However, he was able to preserve a copy of the ticket in microfilm back in the 1980s.

In honor of the event, Disneyland, later on, awarded Dave with lifetime passes which he continues to use every year.

When using his lifetime pass, Dave has to always show a photo ID.

This Day in Disney History
Source:
This Day in Disney History

As a backup, Dave also carries some photocopies of a page in his scrapbook containing “first-day” clippings from papers in L.A. and Long Beach proving that he indeed was the person who bought the first ticket.

This Day in Disney History
Source:
This Day in Disney History

“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!”

This Day in Disney History
Source:
This Day in Disney History

Dave and his wife Wanda eventually moved to Kansas a few years later, but the couple still visits Disneyland every chance they get.

Learn more about Dave’s first visit in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Caryl Jane Espiritu
hi@sbly.com
Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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