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Disneyland's first ever visitor used his lifetime ticket every year since it opened in 1955

Ben Thompson

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Disneyland's first ever visitor used his lifetime ticket every year since it opened in 1955

Featured Image Credit: Disneyland/Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

It's the happiest place on Earth and one man knew that better than anybody, given he was the first person to ever visit Disneyland.

Dave MacPherson was a 22-year-old college student when he visited the beloved theme park when it opened its doors on July 17 1955.

He drove 10 miles from Long Beach to Anaheim to make the historical trip and beat out 6,000 people to be at the front of the line.

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Disneyland has been welcoming Disney fans for years. Credit: Pixabay
Disneyland has been welcoming Disney fans for years. Credit: Pixabay

Arriving at 2.00am to secure his place in the queue, MacPherson bought ticket number two.

Ticket number one had been reserved for the big man, Walt Disney himself.

Recalling the incredible feat, MacPherson said: "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."

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MacPherson fondly remembered riding the Jungle Cruise and the Peter Pan attraction amid the opening day chaos.

Later in life, he became a successful attorney - but he never lost touch with his inner child.

He got in line at 2.00am to secure his place. Credit: Disneyland
He got in line at 2.00am to secure his place. Credit: Disneyland

Remaining a devoted Disney fan, MacPherson would make good use of his lifetime pass to the park and visited regularly.

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He would make a pilgrimage to the park every year with his friends and family up until his passing in 2018.

Although he didn't keep a hold of his admission ticket, he held onto the complimentary card that came with it: "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."

The ticket is a far cry from what you see today. Credit: Disneyland
The ticket is a far cry from what you see today. Credit: Disneyland

Each year he would receive a new form of the ticket.

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MacPherson said: "Each January I eagerly await the arrival of the next instalment of the pass which is then good for another year at any Disney park, and I have received these annual passes since 1955.

He returned annually with his family. Credit: Disneyland
He returned annually with his family. Credit: Disneyland

"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."

Since opening 68 years ago, Disneyland has delighted millions of fun lovers around the world.

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It has also seen other locations pop up in Orlando, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Topics: Community, Disney, Disneyland

Ben Thompson
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