"I've only ever paid $1 to get into Disneyland and that was on my first visit. As you can see I'm living up to my Scottish name," said MacPherson proudly.
When 22-year-old Dave MacPherson arrived at the gates of the 'Happiest Place on Earth' shortly after midnight on July 18, 1955, all he'd hoped for was a story for his college newspaper. A student at the Long Beach State College at the time, the Scotsman had packed his notebook and camera and traveled all the way to Anaheim on his motorbike. Upon arrival, MacPherson realized that he was the first one there and would be the first customer to set foot in the legendary amusement park; something that would change his life in ways he'd never imagined.
According to This Day In Disney History, speaking of his decision to make the 10-mile journey, 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." His dream of becoming the first paying customer to step foot in the park came true when the sun came up on the morning of July 18 and he bought the first ticket to be sold to the general public.
"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," MacPherson revealed. Along with his ticket, he got a complimentary card that gave him access to all rides and amusements in Disneyland on the opening day, but having spent so many hours standing in line, he did not have the energy to enjoy any of them. As per a report by the Scottish Daily Mail, describing the time he spent inside the park, he said, "I didn't go on any rides at all."
"After standing in line so long, the first thing I did was go to the restroom. I can't remember buying anything or seeing a parade but as I recall, the attractions had very long lines that first day. I heard that folks standing in the long line to get in were passing out from the heat... I was very tired from being up all night, so I went briefly around to see at a glance, so to speak, the entire layout. I needed to get some rest because I wasn't thinking straight. I had my camera with me and I didn't even take any pictures. I didn't realize these pictures would be valuable someday," said MacPherson.
Thankfully, he's been able to make up for his underwhelming first visit with several more in the years that followed as he was later rewarded with lifetime passes (which he continues to receive in installments every year). "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. 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 revealed.
MacPherson and his wife Wanda have visited both the California theme park and Walt Disney World in Florida countless times over the years. "I've only ever paid $1 to get into Disneyland and that was on my first visit. As you can see I'm living up to my Scottish name," he said proudly.