In 1955, 7-year-old Michael Schwartner was supposed to take a trip to Mexico with his family, but he somehow persuaded his parents to take a detour to a new amusement park opening that day in 1955… Disneyland!

And then his cousin Christine Vess tripped and skinned her knee. And that’s how Michael and Christine became the very first official guests to walk through Disneyland’s gates on opening day, July 17, 1955. The two cousins also received a lifetime of privileges from Disneyland.

“It’s something I will always have forever,” says Schwartner, now 67. “It was one of the greatest days of my life,” he says.

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