Dave MacPherson was a 22-year-old college student back when "happiest place on earth" first opened.
Dave MacPherson created history by being the first ever customer at the grand opening of Disneyland back in July 1955. MacPherson was only 22 years old and a student at the Long Beach State College when he became the first customer to set foot in the legendary amusement park on the day it was opened to the public.
Dave MacPherson was a 22-year-old college student back in July 1955 when he became the first Disneyland customer ever.— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) December 30, 2019
He received a lifetime pass for being first in line.
He still uses it to this day. pic.twitter.com/pJ9DtKG2p4
The Scotsman started the line at the park's ticket window at 2 a.m. and ended up getting his hands on the first admission ticket on the morning of July 18, reports This Day In Disney History. MacPherson made the decision to go when Disneyland announced it would open its doors to the public. He 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." The then-college student drove on his motorbike for 10 miles to Anaheim from Long Beach. He had to wait for quite a while starting the line at 2 a.m. but it was all worth 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 only regret he has from that time was that he wasn't able to shake Walt Disney's hand! Nevertheless, MacPherson received a lifetime pass for being the first "regular" guy ever to enter the park. He received the ticket every January and enjoyed the perks annually ever since. "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.
Dave MacPherson was a 22 year old college student when he became the first guest to enter Disneyland on opening day in 1955. He had gotten in line at 2 am. Disney gave him a lifetime pass, and he has returned to the park every year since that day. pic.twitter.com/5uyFvaEgkP— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 3, 2019
Despite moving to Kansas, he visited "the happiest place on earth" every year later with his wife Wanda. The Disney-enthusiast would even carry photocopies of a page in his scrapbook which consisted of "first-day" clippings from papers in L.A. and Long Beach. This proved to those checking that he indeed bought the first 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!" Unfortunately, Dave MacPherson passed away at the age of 85 in November 2018 but his memory will live on! According to The Scottish Daily Mail MacPherson said that receiving his lifetime pass for four people made him "the most popular guy in college."
Cover Image Source: This Day In Disney History