From A to E Tickets: The History of Disney Attraction Tickets

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Disney History, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

Step back in time and learn how Disney theme parks adopted attraction tickets – and then ultimately eliminated them.

Do you still call Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds an “E ticket attraction” or wish you could use a C ticket to ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom one more time? Though it’s been decades since attraction tickets were used at Disney theme parks, many guests remember the colorful, lettered ticket books fondly. 

If you’ve always wondered why attraction tickets disappeared from Disney theme parks or wanted to know the history behind the tickets, we’re stepping back in time and diving into E-ticket attractions – and other ticket categories – back when tickets were the only way to ride.

What Were Disney Attraction Tickets?

Disney attraction tickets were, simply put, tickets that guests used to experience attractions throughout the theme parks. They were first used at Disneyland Park in Anaheim back in 1955 – the park’s first year of operation.

When Disneyland first opened, guests purchased an admission ticket at the park’s ticket booths, and they then purchased separate admission tickets for the attractions they wished to visit. However, within just a few months of the theme park’s opening day, Disneyland began selling “Value Books” that contained multiple attraction tickets in one handy book. These first Value Books only had A, B, and C tickets inside, but it allowed guests to purchase one book and experience multiple attractions for one price. Guests could, if they wanted to, still purchase individual tickets, but the books offered greater convenience (and less time spent waiting in ticket purchase lines!)

Both the tickets and Value Books stuck around, and when Magic Kingdom Park opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, the ticket system was implemented there, too. Tickets were pretty much the same at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom – for example, you could use a Disneyland E ticket for a Magic Kingdom E ticket attraction – though the Value Book options differed slightly.

Disney Attraction Ticket Categories and Types

As you learned above, the very first attraction tickets created for Disneyland categorized the available attractions into just three categories: A, B, and C. Here’s an overview of each ticket category:

  • A tickets: The smallest, least popular Disney attractions
  • B tickets: Attractions more popular or more advanced than A ticket ones
  • C tickets: The most popular, most advanced, and most in-demand attractions

However, as Disneyland rapidly grew and added increasingly more attractions, so too did the ticket options grow and change. In 1956, the theme park introduced D tickets, bumping a number of former C ticket attractions up to D-level status.

Four years later in 1959, Disneyland added another level to its attraction tickets: the famed E ticket. This became the highest category and it included the most popular attractions, like the brand-new Submarine Voyage and the sleek new Disneyland-Alweg Monorail. For the next 20 years, the E ticket category held fast as the highest attraction ticket category – and when Magic Kingdom opened at Disney World, the A through E system carried right over seamlessly.

Disney Attractions and Their Ticket Categories

Sure, many of us still call plenty of old (and even new!) Disneyland and Disney World attractions “E ticket attractions” – but which attractions actually were E tickets? Here’s a look at how the attractions at both Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom were categorized and which tickets could be used.

Disneyland Attractions and Their Ticket Categories

A Ticket Attractions

  • Main Street Horse Cars
  • Horseless Carriage
  • Omnibus
  • Fire Engine
  • King Arthur Carousel
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle

B Ticket Attractions

  • Main Street Cinema
  • Motor Boat Cruise
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Casey Junior Circus Train
  • Alice in Wonderland

C Ticket Attractions

  • Fantasyland Theatre
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Autopia
  • Shooting Galleries
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Dumbo Flying Elephants
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Snow White’s Adventures
  • Mike Fink Keel Boats
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

D Ticket Attractions

  • Rocket Jets
  • Peoplemover
  • Flight to the Moon
  • Storybookland Canal Boats
  • Skyway
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
  • Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad
  • Columbia Sailing Ship
  • Mark Twain Steamboat

E Ticket Attractions

  • America Sings
  • Rainbow Caverns Mine Train
  • Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules
  • TWA Rocket to the Moon
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Disneyland-Alweg Monorail
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Submarine Voyage
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Haunted Mansion
Magic Kingdom attraction ticket book

Photo by Rain Blanken

Disney World (Magic Kingdom) Attractions and Their Ticket Categories

A Ticket Attractions

  • Omnibus 
  • Horse Cars
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • Main Street Cinema
  • Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel Merry-Go-Round

B Ticket Attractions

  • Swiss Family Island Treehouse
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery
  • Mike Fink Keel Boats
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party

C Ticket Attractions

  • WDW Railroad Steam Trains
  • Explorer Canoes
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Grand Prix Raceway

D Ticket Attractions

  • Enchanted Tiki Birds
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island
  • Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat
  • Richard F. Irvine Riverboat
  • Skyway
  • The Mickey Mouse Revue
  • WEDway Peoplemover
  • Mission to Mars
  • Starjets

E Ticket Attractions

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • “it’s a small world”
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage
  • Space Mountain

Did Disney’s Attraction Tickets Have Any Value?

Like today’s annual pass versus theme park ticket decision, guests who visited Disneyland or Magic Kingdom during the attraction ticket era had to decide if they’d get more bang for their buck buying individual tickets or a Value Book. 

Each attraction ticket had a set face value:

  • A tickets were worth $0.10
  • B tickets were worth $0.15
  • C tickets were worth $0.25
  • D tickets were worth $0.50
  • E tickets were worth $0.85

Here’s something many people who didn’t actually use the Disney attraction ticket system don’t often know: Guests could mix and match tickets! If you had multiple A, B, C, and D tickets but no E tickets, for example, you could use multiple tickets to total the value of the ticket you need. 

Why Disney Attraction Tickets Were Phased Out

After nearly three decades of use at Disneyland and just over a decade of use at Disney World, the attraction tickets were replaced by single- and multi-day tickets, or “passports” that included access to every attraction inside the theme parks. But the tickets didn’t disappear overnight; Disney phased them out gradually starting in the late 1970s. 

Disney decided to replace individual attraction tickets with passports – or unlimited use tickets – after Disneyland competitor Six Flags Magic Mountain opened in 1971 and allowed visitors to pay a one-time admission fee for unlimited attraction use. By June 1982, both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom at Disney World had eliminated the tickets used for attractions and replaced them with today’s admission tickets.

However, there was one Disney theme park that actually kept the attraction tickets in place for another 19 years: Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland actually opened the year after the U.S. theme parks ended their attraction ticket programs, and the park continued to utilize this system until 2001.

Learn more about Disney history across the theme parks with our Today in Disney History series!

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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