I can say with certainty that Disneyland is the happiest place on the planet. 18 million people visit there every year.
Every year since 1955, the same face has appeared at the park, and it definitely stands out from the rest.
You thought you were a Disney fan.
Dave was the first customer at Disneyland.
On July 18, 1955, at 2 a.m., the 22-year-old understudy from Long Beach, California got himself a spot at the actual front of the line at the fresh out of the plastic new park.
“I decided I wanted to be the first in line,” he 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.”
Subsequent to traveling 10 miles from Long Beach to Anaheim on his cruiser, MacPherson remained before the closest ticket office and began an arrangement.
Disneyland became the first regular person to enter the park on its first day when he purchased the very first ticket at sunrise.
Disneyland opened its gates to Disney’s family and celebrities in 1955.
The day was supposed to be an international press preview, but counterfeit invitations were distributed and more than 20,000 people showed up.
The opening of the park was not what Walt had in mind.
The park’s refreshment stands ran out of food and drinks quickly. The hot California weather and long ride lines made for some pretty miserable guests.
The park officially opened to the rest of us on the 18th.
It only took seven weeks for Disneyland to reach 1 million visitors. America’s newest and greatest tourist attraction was it.
He didn’t get the chance to shake the hand of Disney himself.
After welcoming guests into the park, Walt almost vanished, likely to let the guests enjoy the attractions without distraction.
MacPherson was the park’s first-ever customer and was rewarded with lifetime passes.
“Each January I eagerly await the arrival of the next installment of the pass which is then good for another year at any Disney park, and I have received these annual passes since 1955,” the 86-year-old said.
These cards read “VIP MAIN ENTRANCE PASS” on the front and feature his name on the park, as well as “Admit Passholder and 3 Guests.”
MacPherson uses those passes every year.
He has been coming back to the park every year since 1955, and he has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
He has to show a photo ID to enter the park.
MacPherson needs to prove that he is the first-ever customer, so he brings along some clippings from the park’s opening to prove it.
He said he’s become something of a celebrity among Disney fans who recognize him and his honor.
“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’,” he said.
“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!”
Being known as the first man to ever enter the park is a small perk of fame.
The real pleasure for MacPherson is the memories of that day and the history he made, simply by taking a chance late one night and getting on his motorcycle to drive to Anaheim.
“Being the first member of the public to buy a ticket at Disneyland on July 18, 1955, and seeing the 6,000 people behind me in line when the gates opened, and seeing Walt Disney himself is something I will never forget,” he said.