First-ever Disneyland customer goes every year since 1955

October 7th, 2019

Almost every youngster dreams of going to Disneyland, but imagine having a lifetime pass

22 Year Old College Student Visits Disneyland

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Thisdayindisneyhistory Source: Thisdayindisneyhistory

This in itself is no big deal. Lots of 22 year olds visit Disneyland. But none of them have ever been the first paying customer to walk through the gates except one.

Meet Dave MacPhearson

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On the morning of July 18, 1955 Dave MacPhearson was stood at the entrance of Disneyland at 2AM. Making sure he was going to be the first paying customers through the gates.

The First Ticket Buyer

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Dave’s efforts paid off as he was the first ticket buyer.

Disney Advertises Grand Opening

Disney had advertised the opening of the Park on ABC-TV. At this time Dave was a student at Long Beach College and happened to see the news about the park opening.

Doing A First

Dave immediately came to the conclusion that he wanted to do a first. He wanted to be the first everyday person to pay to visit the park.

The Journey

Dave rode his bike ten miles from Long Beach to Anaheim starting out around midnight.

Dave Makes His Purchase

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Following through with his plan Dave purchased his ticket for one dollar.

Much to Dave’s pleasure his special ticket gave him the rights to use all rides and amusements for the entire day. However, he didn’t have much time to make good use of the tickets.

A Proud Moment

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Although Dave was quite pleased with his achievement but he didn’t get the chance to shake Mr. Disney’s hand as Walt left right after his opening remarks.

A Blast From The Past

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These still photos were retrieved from a newsreel that was shot on opening day.

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The footage was aired in 2005 on a Salt Lake City television station. They had done a feature story on Dave and it was in celebration of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.

A Grand Reward

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At this time the event was honored by giving Dave a life time pass for the Park. Every year Dave receives his pass, and since 1955 he has made it a point to use it each year.

Changes In The Passes

Over the years Dave has noted the changes in the passes

  • At first it was just paper or cardboard
  • For many years it was silver
  • Then it became red and was like a credit card

The ticket says “VIP Main Entrance Pass. Then on the backside it is marked with “Admit Passholder and 3 Guests”.


Dave doesn’t want to face any disappointments when he visits the park each year.

He is required to show photo I.D. but he also carries pieces from his scrapbook of clippings of his being the first visitor.

The Ghost of Disneyland Past

Dave often uses this phrase when talking about his amazing experience of being the first. He took great pleasure that day in seeing the 6,000 people lined up behind him. This along with being the first, and seeing Walt himself is a memory Dave says he will never forget.

In The Now

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thisdayindisneyhistory Source: thisdayindisneyhistory

Dave really does deserve his lifetime Disneyland pass for his efforts of making sure he was the first one through the gates

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