Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random Views From September 1971

Today's first photo shows the old "Court of Angels" in New Orleans Square. Like the Snow White Grotto, this was a place that one could go to find respite from the summer heat and jostling crowds. For most of its existence, the Court simply was; you didn't shop there, or dine there, or run up those steps to access an attraction. How many people never knew of its existence, or poked their heads in and walked away because there was "nothing to do"? 

Walt Disney clearly saw value in a place that was quiet and lovely, waiting to be discovered by anyone who was might happen upon it. Today the area is accessible only to Club 33 members and their guests.

Meanwhile, over on Main Street, we get this nice portrait of one of the horses as it pulled a streetcar. Is this one of the Belgian Draft Horses? Whatever he is, he has cheered me right up! I wish I had an apple to share with him.


TokyoMagic! said...

They ruin everything!

Nanook said...


I've always loved the Court of Angels for the very reasons you mention. Architectural details such as this calls to mind Caribbean Plaza @ WDW, which seems to be awash with little details that many a Guest may not see at first glance, but are there, nonetheless, to entertain at a subconscious level for those who may miss them while walking thru the area.

The stairway of the Court of Angels always reminds me of the oft-used touch from Morris Lapidus of the "Staircase to Nowhere" - famously featured at the Fountainebleau Hotel, in Miami. The same idea was also used in the original lobby of the Riviera Hotel, in Palm Springs.

Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


I should also have mentioned the horse in the second image is named Willie - he was a long-time poker buddy of Mr. Ed's.

K. Martinez said...

I'm so over it when it comes to Disneyland and the alteration of things best left alone. Call me jaded, but it doesn't phase me anymore. Meanwhile Walt's original kingdom is stagnating due to the lack of actual new attractions or a brand new 'E' ticket in twenty years. And I don't count the park across the esplanade.

What a beautiful portrait of one of the Streetcar horses! You're right. It does cheer one up. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

It's so strange to think of the Court of Angels in past tense (at least as far as the general public is concerned). Really noticing it for the first time is one of my favorite memories of my favorite day at Disneyland.

I love Belgian draft horses. They have a much fresher, fuller flavor than the bottled variety, and don't get me started on what cans do to the taste.

Beautiful pair of images today, Major. Thank you!

Melissa said...

Two beautiful, atmospheric pictures today. Makes me feel all smiley.

Anonymous said...

What Chuck Said.


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I think many regular fans agree with you, but I’ve always wondered what Club 33 members think? Are they just happy to have their exclusive restaurant, details be damned?

Nanook, I’m not familiar with the “Staircase to Nowhere” (except at the Winchester Mystery House); I think the one at the Court of Angels actually was a functional staircase that led up to offices (or something).

Nanook again, I’ve seen dogs playing poker, but never horses.

K. Martinez, I always think I’m over it, but they they’ll destroy yet another remnant of classic Disneyland, and I get riled up all over again! It really is incredible that there has been no new E-ticket attraction for 20 years. Presumably the management counts the stuff at DCA as “new Disneyland attractions”. I wonder, have any E-Ticket style rides been added to Florida’s Magic Kingdom over the last 20 years?

Chuck, I know that real estate is valuable at the park, but there must have been a way to make changes to Club 33 without closing it off to the average visitor. Somehow it would have been a little less terrible if it was done to benefit the park experience for everyone. Why not add an extra wing to the Haunted Mansion, available only to wealthy patrons?

Melissa, I’m glad you’re all smiley!

JG, Chuck is a wise man.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I know I would occasionally see cast members going up or down those stairs. Hopefully someone here knows for sure, but I'm guessing that there probably were offices of some kind up there. I believe it also led to a back entrance for Club 33. I remember looking up at various times and seeing cast members up there wearing the Club 33 costume. I know for sure that it also led to the Disney Gallery. One evening when I was in the Gallery, there was a door propped open that was normally an emergency only or a cast members only door. I stepped through the doorway and ended up on the landing at the top of the stairs of the Court of Angels.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, based on the blueprints I have access to, the stairs in today's picture wrap up around behind our viewpoint to a balcony overhead that leads to some offices (south of the French Market, kind of over the restrooms) and to the second floor area over French Market that is now the "Jazz Club" part of Club 33.

To the Northeast (over the head of the photographer in today's pic) is the rest of old Club 33. I believe this area has been revamped to provide the full access elevator required by ADA. The old elevator in the original Club 33 lobby did not meet today's codes, which require room for a horizontal gurney.

You are correct in recalling an outside courtyard outside the rooms where the Gallery was located. This is the small courtyard between the old One-Of-A-Kind shop and the next shop. I can't remember what these shops are called today, I am using 1969 references.

This courtyard is still in place, but now is crammed with merch. The Gallery/Dream Suite and the old Club 33 Trophy Room open out on to this courtyard's stair for emergency exiting, as well as the Fantasmic Control Room which is/was(?) located over the little food service walk-up on the corner by POC entrance.

I'm pretty sure this is the courtyard you saw in that clandestine glance, it is very similar to CoA, but Court of the Angels appears too far away to be seen from the Gallery/Suite exit door location.

Does this match any of your memories?


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, Thank you for clearing that up! I guess I was getting my courtyards and my staircases mixed up. This was back in the nineties and it was a very quick glance outside that door because I knew the longer I stayed out there, the more I risked the chance of being "reprimanded" about being where I wasn't supposed to be.....even though the door was wide open!

TokyoMagic! said...

Also JG, I believe that other courtyard is called the Royal Courtyard. It recently received a major overhaul, which included ripping out and rebuilding the staircase. I keep forgetting to check it out to see if they ruined it like they ruin everything else (hey, I try not to be bitter, but it's difficult!). You are right, that courtyard is located between the former One of a Kind Shop and the former Pirates Arcade, which is now a store. Funny, I don't even know the current names of those stores. They don't include the names of stores on their park guides/maps anymore. There is also an entrance way into that courtyard from the street (Royal St.?) and just inside that entrance is a hidden service elevator and also the "Fortune Red" machine from the old Pirate Arcade.

Dean Finder said...

WDW's Magic Kingdom does get new major attractions, but they seem to have a one-in-one-out policy. They added the 7 Dwarfs' Mine Train, but it replaced 20000 Leagues under the Sea.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, we visited the Gallery only once, also in the '90's. I looked closer at my drawings, which are not dated, these show the Gallery plan with the Dream Suite overlaid on it and shows an internal courtyard that is part of the Dream Suite, but that is separate from the Royal Court, and exits into it down a little hallway. This court might have been what you saw also.

I had forgotten this little internal court until reexamining the drawings. I do remember being surprised by it when touring the Gallery. It makes complete sense to have a place where the Suite occupants can enjoy a nice day outdoors without being visible to Park visitors on the exterior balconies. I think this feature must have been part of the design when the space was intended as Walt's apartment.

They have changed the exit out of Pirates which dumps out past the Royal Court. I remember originally you could step out of the exit hall and down some steps into the One-Of-A-Kind shop, but this is now closed off, probably due to "slip and trip" issues.

Great conversation, thank you.


Anonymous said...

Indeed that's a Belgian. Have on here at home!