April 2, 2001
Anaheim, CA -- Amid music, fanfare and confetti, the Disneyland Resort officially welcomed its 450 millionth guest on March 15 -enough people to circle the Earth more than seven times; or line up between Los Angeles and New York 57 times.
First-time visitor to Disneyland park, Mark Ramirez of Lytle (San Antonio), Texas, a civilian production management specialist for the U.S. Air Force, was declared the 450 millionth visitor by Mickey Mouse just as he passed through the turnstile at "The Happiest Place on Earth."
"I'm completely stunned and speechless. I'm so excited, I'm shaking. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us," said Ramirez.
Ramirez was on vacation, visiting Disneyland park with his wife, Donna, an accounting technician with the Defense Commissary Agency in San Antonio; and their three daughters Nina, 12, a 7th grader; Ariana, 10, a 4th grader, who both attend St. James Catholic School in Lytle, Texas; and Alexandria, 1. "I never thought this could happen. It's something we'll always remember," noted Mrs. Rameriz.
Ramirez, a civilian employee at Kelly Air Force Base, was recently transferred to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the family will soon be relocating.
Ramirez was honored during a ceremony where he was presented with a lifetime pass to the Disneyland Resort (Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure), a stay at the new Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and a gift pack. He was also given the honor of changing the official attendance sign at the Disneyland park Train Station from 400 million to 450 million. "I'll be able to point to the sign and say I made that change. It's great being a part of Disney history," he said.
The family later rode in a cavalcade with Mickey Mouse down Main Street, U.S.A., led by the Disneyland Band.
In addition, the Ramirez family was treated to VIP tours of both Disneyland and the newest park Disney's California Adventure.
The Disneyland Resort has traditionally recognized attendance milestones, welcoming its one-millionth guest six weeks after the park opened on July 17, 1955.