Rooney was pulling on an Everton shirt at Goodison Park for the first time in 11 years, having come through the ranks with the club before joining Manchester United in 2004.
The England captain has subsequently won five Premier League titles and a Champions League with United but his return visits to Everton have on occasion prompted booing and jeering from the home fans.
However, it was a different story on Sunday as Rooney and his childhood idol Ferguson came off the bench to play alongside each other for the closing stages of a 2-1 loss to Villarreal.
Rooney said: “I was delighted with the fans’ reaction.
“I didn’t know what to expect but it was great for me and for my kids, to see me once in an Everton shirt. It brought back some good old memories.
“I enjoyed it. It is nice to come back here and the fans gave me a great reception, which obviously I was delighted with.”
Everton were 2-0 down when Rooney came on, Gerard and Nahuel having scored for Villarreal.
Rooney produced a trademark piledriver from distance which flew just wide of the post, before Ferguson came off the bench to join him.
And the retired striker was all set to meet a left-wing corner, only for young defender Ty Browning to get there first and head home a late consolation goal.
Rooney added: “It was nice to get some minutes on the pitch alongside Duncan.
“I saw a bit of space and thought I would try my luck. Unfortunately it didn’t go in but it was a great occasion and great to get out on the pitch with Duncan again.
“Most importantly, it was a big day for Duncan and he really enjoyed the game. It was good to see him back on the pitch.
“Of course, it was a bit different today. Going into the home dressing room again was a bit weird at first. I didn’t know what to expect with the reception but it was great and I really appreciate it.”