Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing vintage Disney attractions and entertainment and a little Disney history.
When my great grandfather passed away years ago, someone set aside some early Disneyland memorabilia he had from a visit in the 1960s. Among the items was an early program and a ticket book, both of which I held onto because I had just recently discovered, well, how much I loved to read about all things Disney. The phrase “E ticket” is still widely used among Disney fans today when describing attractions, though the system hasn’t been in use in decades.
When Disneyland first opened in 1955, there was a (very small) flat-fee admission into the park. Beyond that, each ride cost an additional $0.10-$0.35. In order to simplify things a few months later, the company introduced ticket books in October 1955. A guest could still pay cash admission for a ride, but most opted for the “Value Books” that provided not only value as the name suggested, but convenience.
Originally just “A” through “C” attractions existed, but by 1959, the Monorail, the Matterhorn, and the Submarine rides would necessitate the introduction of the infamous “E Ticket Attraction”. The E ticket was reserved to let guests know an attraction was one of the best and most exciting the park had to offer.
Interestingly, an attraction earning an E ticket denotation didn’t always mean it was thrilling as we may define it by today’s standards. Often in that time, the E ticket rides were simply the most advanced; from the earliest days of Disney animation to the floating mountains and greenhouse techniques Imagineers are working on at Disney parks today, the company has always been on the forefront of technology and innovation.
The Disneyland Guide from 1972 offers the following breakdown of the rides from that time —
E coupons (or $0.85 admission) : Country Bear Jamboree; Disneyland-Alweg Monorail; Enchanted Tiki Room; Haunted Mansion; “it’s a small world”; Jungle River Cruise; Matterhorn Boblseds; Mine Train Ride; Pack Mules; Pirates of the Caribbean; Sumbarine Voyage
D coupons (or $0.70 admission): Columbia Sailing Ship; Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes; Flight to the Moon; Peoplemover; Rocket Jets; Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad; Skyway; Storybook Canal Boats; Tom Swayer Island Rafts; Mark Twain Steamboat
C coupons (or $0.40) admission): Autopias in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland; Dumbo; Fantasyland Theater; Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln; Mad Tea Party; Mike Fink Keelboats; Mr Toad’s Wild Ride; Peter Pan’s Flight; Shooting Galleries; Snow White’s Adventures
B coupons (or $0.25 admission): Alice in Wonderland; Casey Jr Circus Train; Main Street Cinema; Motor Boat Cruise; Swiss Family Treehouse
A coupons (or $0.10 admission): King Arthur’s Carousel; Main Street Vechicles (Horse Cars, Horseless Carriage, Omnibus, Fire Engine); Sleeping Beauty Caslte
No coupon required: Adventure Thru Inner Space; Circlevision 360; Carousel of Progress; Frontierland Arcade Gun Collection; GAF Photo Salon; Golden Horseshoe Revue; INA’s Carefree Corner; King Arthur’s Carousel; Walt Disney – A Legacy for the Future
At that time, guests had two ticket book options. The 10-ticket Coupon Book, a $10 value and available for $4.95, contained one A ticket, one B ticket, two C tickets, three D tickets, 3 E tickets, and the general admission cost. A 15-ticket book had one A ticket, two B tickets, three C tickets, four D tickets, five E tickets, and admission. This pass was $5.95 per adult (valued at $12.95). Lower priced versions of the same books were offered for children and juniors.
The mostly-inclusive model we recognize today began in the early 1980’s, when nearby Magic Mountain began offering guests unlimited experiences with one entry fee. At that time, admission prices to Disneyland and Walt Disney World were just $12.00 and $14.00, respectively. Ah, the good old days. 🙂
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE E-TICKET CONCEPT
– When Sally Ride, the first American woman on the Space Shuttle, was asked to describe her experience, she called it “a real e-ticket ride”.
– If you have a ticket book and aren’t sure when it’s from, there are a few ways to tell. The earliest will have expiration dates; that’s easy enough. Most of the later books do not have an expiration date, but instead have a three digit code on the back cover. The first two digits represent the year in which the book was purchased, and the last represents the month.
– Books could be purchased throughout the park from ticket booths near the attractions; these booths are also where a guest would present their ticket to ride or pay the cash price. When we visit Disneyland, we love to look for booths that have blended into the scenery, or have been repurposed. Take a look at some here!
– As time passed and/or new attractions were introduced, it was not uncommon for rides to be downgraded to a less-expensive category. Sometimes though, a ride would even get an upgrade in status!
How would you have used your coupons?
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Vintage Disney Loop:
- 1st Stop – My Dreams of Disney | Vintage Disney: The Magic Kingdom’s Original Attractions
- 2nd Stop – What’s the Point? | The Mickey Mouse Club
- 3rd Stop – Frontierland Station | 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage
- 4th Stop – The Delightful Life | YOU ARE HERE 🙂
- 5th Stop – Disney Mamas | The origins of Disneyland