14-Year-Old Wins Free Ticket To Disneyland In 1985 But Doesn’t Use It Until 34 Years Later

by Kelly Glass
Kelly Glass is a writer whose work focuses on the intersections of parenting, health, and pop culture. She lives in an Illinois college town with her educator husband, wildly ambitious sons, dog, and several fish. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Romper,, HelloGiggles,, What to Expect, and more.

In 1985, admission to Disneyland cost $16.50. That same year, Tamia Richardson walked through a turnstile at Disneyland and won a free ticket.

The Happiest Place on Earth celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1985 by running a promotional giveaway, including a new Cadillac, to every 30th visitor. Fourteen-year-old Tamia didn’t win a Cadillac, but she won a paper ticket worth free admission for one to the theme park.

Tamia, now a teacher and school counselor in Alberta, Canada, found the old ticket in a box of photos and mementos. She decided to take advantage of the offer 34 years later and visited the park Thursday with her teenage daughters.

She didn’t know how it would go, trying to enter the now expanded and improved park with the barely recognizable promotional ticket, but she was in for a surprise.

“I was a little nervous because it was an old ticket,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I was crossing my fingers.” The park accepted her ticket for free admission and exchanged it for a new daily pass with access to both Disneyland and California Adventure Park.

A Disneyland employee had to verify the validity of the ticket by calling a manager, said the Los Angeles Times. In the end, Tamia was able to use the ticket, and her 15- and 17-year-old daughters had a magical time.

Watch the video for more on this happy story.

Footage provided by KTLA Los Angeles

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