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How Much Did Disneyland Cost When It Opened Compared With Today?

Ever wonder what it would be like to visit Disneyland back in 1955? To stroll the barely solidified pavement and see the park in its infancy?

Maybe you’d bump into Uncle Walt having lunch at the Chicken Plantation Restaurant before checking out the Indian Village? How about forking over a C-ticket to ride the Jungle Cruise?

Today, we’re used to the modern all-day, all-attraction type of Disneyland. As a die-hard Disney fan, I know all about the famous A-E ticket system that used to rule the park, but it was phased-out before I was even born.

While working on The Ultimate Guide To Disneyland Annual Passports, the thought occurred to me:

If I could go back in time and visit Disneyland the year it opened, how much would it cost for me to ride everything at the park like I expect to do now?

On this page, I’ll walk you through the steps I took to make an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison for tickets to Disneyland in 1955 and Disneyland today, including some interesting things I learned along the way.

As an aside, I’ve recently updated the calculations on this page in response to a request on our Mouse Monthly Facebook page. I’d like to give a special shout out to Autumn and thanks for reading!

1. How Many Attractions Did Disneyland Have in 1955?

It’s hard to compare the price of admission to the park today with what it cost in 1955 for several reasons.

  1. The park had about half the number of attractions it now has.
  2. Park admission and ride tickets were sold separately, with the famous A-C tickets.
  3. There was only one theme park, Disneyland, and no place to ‘hop to’ like we have today.

When it opened, Disneyland had a number of temporary rides and shows that passed rather quickly. Other attractions followed shortly afterwards that same year, the last being the Mike Fink Keel Boats near Christmas of 1955.

The first step for our comparison is to count the number of attractions that we could visit/ride the first year. Simplified, here’s what was open in 1955:

Ticket-LevelNumber Of Attractions
Free With Admission9
A-Ticket7
B-Ticket9
C-Ticket12
$.50 Special Ticket1

As you can see, there we 38 attractions open by the end of 1955. If you’d like more detailed information, I’ve included several tables at the bottom of the page showing which attractions were open and at what ticket-level.

2. How Much Did Disneyland Tickets Cost In 1955?

1955-Disneyland-Ticket-Plan-Advertisement

Now that we know how many attractions we could have visited, the next step is to figure out the price of tickets.

When Disneyland first opened, and for many years after, guests were charged separately for admission to the park and attraction tickets, similar to a travelling carnival. Adults could get in for $1 and rides cost between 10-30 cents each.

Ticket-LevelCost in 1955What It Would Cost in 2020**
A-Ticket$.10$.97
B-Ticket$.20$1.94
C-Ticket$.30$2.91
8-Ticket Book*$2.50$24.22

Then in October 1955, the famous A-E ticket system was created, though at the time D and E-ticket rides had yet to be invented. Tickets could be bought individually throughout the park or in an 8-ticket book that included an admission discount of $.10.

1955 Disneyland 8-Ticket Book
Ticket LevelNumber In Book
A-Ticket3
B-Ticket2
C-Ticket3

You didn’t have to pay extra for everything though. Some venues, like the Golden Horseshoe Revue and Dutch Boy Paints Color Gallery were free with admission. Another show, The Mickey Mouse Club Circus, required a separate $.50 ticket.

By Alex Blasingame

I'm a professional pilot and entrepreneur. I love Disney, TaleSpin, Eeyore, maps, details, etc.

8 replies on “How Much Did Disneyland Cost When It Opened Compared With Today?”

Very interesting article!

If I could go to Disneyland and visit 38 attractions in one day (let alone 60!), it would be a miracle. We rush in the morning to try to get fast passes, and are lucky if we can get two before they are filled for the day. We then prepare to stand in line for most of the day, and feel fortunate if we get to 8 attractions (no, walking through sleeping beauty’s castle doesn’t count!)
At the price of $69 for 38 attractions, that gives $1.80 per attraction (2018 prices).
If we’re able to get to 8 attractions, at about $100 (one-day, one-park passes), we’re up to $12.50 per attraction. Add on $18 for parking, and with no souvenirs or food (we bring food from home), it’s $14.75 per attraction. What a value! 🙁

Hello! I’m trying to cite your article, but can’t find the publisher/sponsors used for this. Would you mind helping me out? Loved this article btw!

I really enjoyed your insight and breakdown between then & now… There is one issue I have with it is that since this park does cater to really little ones, it would be nice to have a pay as you go option as well. And in this day in age, there would be no tickets. Prepaid tickets would be on the card you have to swipe anyway before going on the attraction. Last couple of times we did 10 attractions total in our family. Extremely expensive. Moreover, there is no way anyone can experience even 30 attractions in any given day with all the lines etc…I think Walt Disney is turning in his grave!!!

Thanks for the comment, Ivy.

The pay-as-you-go idea certainly has merit. I know there have been times where my family has only gone a few rides in a single trip, but this was more due to having a small kid than long lines.

Your comparison to current ticket prices isn’t really valid as you didn’t take into account the change in attractions. There are new attractions and more of them now. If you create a list of all of the attractions currently in the park and use the same A-E scale (D & E from 1959 of course), and run the math then you get a 1 day value of $11.05 (no $1 admission, just purely rides). After inflation, that works out to $98.26, just 72 cents shy of the actual 1 day 1 park ticket price.

Thanks for the comment, Adam. The comparison I did in this article is from 1955 looking forward. The numbers you have are from today looking back and they look great, but are outside the scope of what I was looking to do. If you’d like to write up an article from the perspective you used, I’d be happy to publish it.

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