Thursday, May 26, 2005

"E" Tickets

I spent the better part of the past two evenings on the entry below this one.  The second night I fixed photos, fixed typos, added the name of the organ builder, revised the text, and added and corrected links to entries by the other Round Robin Photo Challenge participants.  Thanks to everyone who posted a mysterious doorway--I enjoyed all of your entries very much!

But it's almost midnight now, and I only got four hours of sleep last night.  So tonight's entry will be pulled from a recent IM to Sarah K:

What's an "E" Ticket?

My parents went to Disneyland in 1968 or 1969, as part of a trip to California. For financial reasons, and possibly romantic ones, Steve and I stayed home in Manlius with a sitter named Tibby. I was terribly jealous of my parents, seeing Disneyland without me! They brought back a map of it on tan paper, and I kept it on my wall for years. I didn't get to Walt Disney World until 1976, or Disneyland until 1977 or 1978. I was in college by then.

My mom lived an hour or so from Orlando from 1976-1977 and 1978-1995. So I always borrowed her car and went over for the day. But the first time, we went together. They still had ticket books then.

SaKishler: er, what are, or were, ticket books?

Until the late 1970s, at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World, you bought tickets for each ride. Usually, you'd get one ticket book, and supplement it with individual tickets if you ran out.  Depending on the cost of the ticket book, it had different numbers and denominations of tickets. I think the one I got that first time had only one "E" ticket, two or three "D" tickets, maybe five "C" tickets, and more "B" and "A" tickets than I'd ever use in a day. (I may have the numbers wrong, but you get the idea.) "A" tickets would be stuff like the bus down Main Street USA. The Haunted Mansion was an "E" ticket.

That's why the fan magazine about Disneyland is called The E-Ticket. Usually each issue's cover story is about one of the classic E-ticket attractions: the Matterhorn, Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on.

The E-ticket rides were the best ones, the ambitious, innovative ones. Of course, adults and older kids would especially want to ride the E-ticket rides, and end up paying extra for more E-tickets. But it would be totally worth the extra $1.50 or whatever!

SaKishler: yes, I suppose general admission cost a lot less in those days anyway.

I can't remember whether you could buy general admission without a ticket book in 1976. Maybe, but you wouldn't be able to do anything but walk around unless you spent additional money on tickets or food or souvenirs or all of the above.


That's more or less what I wrote last night.  I was writing off the top of my head from memory, so of course I got some of the specifics wrong.  In particular, it turns out that the ticket books had more "E" tickets than I thought: three or five of them as of 1972, depending on whether you got the 10 or 15 coupon ticket book.  The ticket books included park admission. It makes me wonder where John's got our old leftover Disney coupons stashed!  I know we still have some somewhere, from both parks.

A great illustrated FAQ about the old Disney coupon / ticket system, based on 1972 prices, can be found at  A more trivia-oriented look at the ticket books, with more illustrations, can be found on on Yesterland, incidentally, is one of my favorite Disney fan sites.  If it used to be at Disneyland, but isn't any more, you can find it at Yesterland.

Although the tickets and ticket books haven't been sold in decades, fans still refer to the high-end rides (e.g. Indiana Jones) as E-ticket attractions. Oh, and by the way, modern, "ticketless" airline purchases are also called e-tickets (as in electronic tickets).  But those aren't nearly as much fun!



ryanagi said...

I always knew the expression "e-ticket" originated in Disney history...but I never knew the specifics. I don't remember using tickets on my first trip to Disney World. I don't remember the exact year, but my brother was pretty much still a baby and Space Mountain was under construction. I have great memories of getting on the rides with my Dad, while my Mom watched and took care of my brother.

fdtate714 said...

I'd be interested to see something on the ticket books at Walt Disney World.  Time has a funny way with details like this, but I don't remember having that many E-tickets in a book.  I seem to remember two.  We certainly never had 5.  I also don't remember that many E-ticket attractions.  The Magic Kingdom, the only park open at WDW at the time, didn't have some of Disneyland's rides, but I KNOW that some of the rides listed at the JustDisney site were not E-ticket rides at WDW.  It's a Small World was free.  That's the only reason we ever rode it - that and the fact that it was air-conditioned.  I only remember three E-ticket rides at WDW - Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents.  I didn't see the Hall of Presidents until the park went to the general admission ticket - never enough E-tickets.  If we got more we would use them to ride Space Mountain or the Haunted Mansion again.  We would usually end up giving A- and B-tickets away to families with small children.
E-ticket still refers to the major attractions, and now they have E-Ride Nights...

An interesting bit of trivia:  Disneyland Tokyo was the last of the Disney parks to use the ticket books.  They were still using them in the late 90s.

gaboatman said...

This post brings back a lot of memories.  I lived in Florida for twenty years and went to Disney World many, many times.  I loved the E-ticket rides.  Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

cneinhorn said...

before I read the body of this entry I thought you were talking about the airline E tickets!  I had no idea Disney used to operate that way.  I went to Disneyland when I was about 5 years old, I'll have to ask my Mom if there were still e tickets then....our NJ boardwalks operate with ticket books, and let me tell you, it gets very expensive....sometimes in the summer if you go on a Wednesday, you can buy a bracelet for a set price and ride all you want, so that's what we do.     Interesting how there's a fan magazine too, I didn't know that either :-)

deabvt said...

Yikes!!   Hope you`re sleepin`!!!

ckays1967 said...

Do you realize how many people just don't get it when I was an E-ticket ride?????  I finally found someone who does...even my puppy husband didn't know until I told him.


chasferris said...

What fun, reliving the experience of trying to budget your tickets so you got the best visit possible.  Of course, it was impossible to get everything to come out even.  You always had left over tickets that you carried home and saved for the next visit.  Except, by the time you went again the designations had changed.  You weren't supposed to take tickets out of the book...but how could you trade around if you didn't? Ticket management was a full-time job.