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Disney’s 1st-Ever Customer Gets To Come Back Every Year For Free.

There’s something to be said for being first in line.

Dave MacPherson was a 22-year-old college student taking summer classes towards his English degree when a story on the local news caught his eye. It was July 17, 1955, the day before Walt Disney’s much-anticipated new amusement park opened in Anaheim, California. Dave decided on the spot to be the first member of the general public to walk through those gates.


Hoping he might win some sort of prize for being the first in line, Dave hopped on his scooter and drove the 10 miles from Long Beach to Anaheim. When he arrived it was about 1 in the morning, and he promptly took his spot at the front of the line. Inside the park he could hear workers testing sound systems and hammering last minute sets together. Even though the line behind him would reach 6,000 people, he made sure no one got in front of him.

When the gates opened for the first time the next morning, Dave was the first member of the general public to purchase his ticket. Once inside, Dave didn’t stick around to try out the rides or have a snack. Instead, he used the restroom, got back on his scooter and drove back home in order to get to his next class.

Chip & Company

“Why didn’t I shoot some pictures?” he wondered in retrospect. “I even forgot to ask Walt (Disney) for his autograph. I must have been balmy or something” after staying up all night.”

Weeks later Dave’s all-nighter was rewarded when he received a lifetime pass for four people to Disneyland and other Disney parks. “I was the most popular guy at the college,” he joked. Since then he’s taken full advantage of his passes, frequently visiting the park with his wife Wanda and their friends.

Chip & Company

Dave is now 80 and living in Utah, but he still makes the trek back to the happiest place on Earth. Still, he’ll always have the honor of being the first regular, non-celebrity or Disney family member to meet Mickey Mouse and the gang at the groundbreaking amusement park.

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