Thursday, December 12, 2013
Disneyland Annual Passport from 1984
Back in 1984 when I was 19 years old, I felt like an odd duck. I loved Disney and I really wanted to work at Disney, although I was kind of frustrated that I would have to wait a few years until I graduated from college. During my Sophomore year at UCLA, while I was at Ackerman Union playing Ms. PacMan and Dig Dug in the arcade room, I ran into someone who had lived on my floor in the dorms (Kevin W.), who had been working at Disneyland for over a year. He told me about the Disneyland Annual Passport, which was only available to people who were members of the Magic Kingdom Club (available through many employers). I had a membership through my Grandmother's job, so I took my card down to Disneyland an inquired about it at Guest Relations. Well, it turned out that the Annual Passport was only $65, and included one full year of admission, plus parking. Sold! they took me into the Guest Relations office outside the gate, took my picture, and I just waited for them to make my Passport and laminate it.
On one of my first days enjoying my Passport (and skipping an Economics class), I remember thinking about how empty Disneyland seemed to me. I felt like I was in one of the best places that a person could be in, and that there was tremendous treasures there that could potentially appeal to more people, and yet, "nobody knows about it", I thought.
Well, two months and 5 days later, Disney hired Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, and they proceeded to mine the Disney gold all over the then-named Walt Disney Productions. Disneyland would soon be open every day. Prices at Disneyland would also go up in the not-too-distant future. All that unknown treasure that I was thinking about and more as I walked down Main Street would soon be discovered by Eisner and Wells, and carefully rolled out and introduced to the masses. Disneyland Annual Passports remained mostly a secret for at least 2 more years, before they started to radically advertise them, and they dropped the Magic Kingdom Club membership requirement (they eventually also dropped the Magic Kingdom Club).