Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad Ticket Stubs (1957)

These five adult ticket stubs from the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, dating to 1957, retain a single “ride” ticket each.

The first pair of sequentially-numbered tickets (167300 and 167301) feature a date stamp of “Jan. 19, 1957” on their reverse. The second pair (644634 and 644635) were stamped seven months later, to the day. The final ticket (A041975), also from 1957 (though unstamped), differs from the others in that it afforded the bearer passage on the “Freight Line,” rather than the “Passenger Line.” The artwork varies, as does the identifying information and details found on the attached ticket.

The notion to build a railroad attraction predates Disneyland itself, as Walt had been fascinated by trains from a very young age. His was a train engineer, and he himself had worked as a news butcher on the Missouri Pacific Railway as a teenager. After becoming interested in model trains in the late-40s, he took the hobby a step further by building a 1:8-scale miniature railroad across his five-acre backyard. Inspired by studio animator Ollie Johnston, who’d recently done the same—only at a 1:12 scale—Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad ran its first route on May 7, 1950. Friends, family, and guests of the studio were invited to ride the miniature rails on weekends, with Walt even having official boarding passes printed to commemorate the excursions. The project prompted Walt to think about expanding his railway into a backlot tour on his Burbank studios property. The idea grew, and he began to entertain the notion of buying up land across the street from the studio and creating a full-blown amusement park to house a larger-scale railroad. The dream continued to evolve, of course, eventually manifesting in the world’s most famous theme park and the millions upon millions of visitors that tour its magical offerings each and every day from the seat of an old-fashioned steam train.

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