This photographic print, featuring a 1955 image of the Disneyland Main Gate entrance, has been signed and annotated by the park’s first-ever paying guest, Dave MacPherson.
MacPherson, a twenty-two-year-old student at Long Beach State University, at the time of Disneyland’s public opening on July 18, 1955, had seen the park’s Press Preview broadcast a day earlier and later decided to hop on his motorbike and drive the ten miles to Anaheim, in order to be first in line for the park’s first official day of operations. Arriving at 2 a.m., MacPherson stood in line for eight straight hours, with thousands filing in behind him throughout the early morning. As the final countdown approached, he was made to fend off line-cutters with a paper he’d brought along and had signed by park employees who’d passed in the night to verify that he indeed had been first to the gate. At 10 a.m., Macpherson purchased Ticket #2, giving him the distinction of becoming Disneyland’s first guest. Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother, had arranged ahead of time to acquire the very first ticket (Serial #000001), but the next went to MacPherson for the price of a dollar, making him the first member of the public to be admitted to Disneyland. The honor earned him publicity photos and write-ups in the local papers, as well as, much more significantly, the awarding of the first-ever Disneyland Gold Pass, which would provide him unlimited lifetime admission to not only Disneyland, but each subsequent park built and operated by the Walt Disney Company in the years following. Macpherson confessed that after his long night, he didn’t have the energy to ride even a single attraction, but did manage to walk the entire park to see the many wonders that would only grow with time, and that he would—for his quick-thinking and perseverance—go on to enjoy endless times in the years following.
Dave MacPherson has hand-signed the print in black ink and also notated with an arrow the historic ticket-booth that made the first public ticket sale in the park’s history.
This very unique signed photo makes for a fascinating piece of opening-day Disneyland memorabilia, marking the very moment in time that birthed both a legacy and theme-park empire the likes of which the world had never seen.