Friday, January 22, 2016

More Disneyland Hotel Aerial Pix, July 9, 1979

Here are some more aerial photos, from a series taken mostly above the Disneyland Hotel, from the summer of 1979. See the first installment HERE

As I mentioned in the earlier post, the color on these was a bit out of whack, so I have made some attempt to make them look as normal as possible, with limited success. 

Anyway, we get a lot of Anaheim's suburban sprawl (and smog), plenty of the old parking lot, and of course the Hotel and even a decent glimpse at the park.

Zooming in on the park, all of the larger landmarks are apparent, like Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. The Mark Twain and the Columbia can be spotted, as well as the sub lagoon. The Jungle Cruise river is hidden (appropriately) by a lush forest. 

I wanted to zoom in on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which wouldn't open for around 2 months - I was hoping for evidence of construction, but this indistinct image doesn't show anything that I can discern.

Now for a second shot; this time we've circled around to the west side of the park, looking south for an even better look at the parking lot (for those who like such things!). At the top of the image we can see the "flying saucer" convention center. The Monorail track shows the yellow Monorail parked at the Hotel; the red Monorail can be seen zipping along the track if you look closely.

As for the Hotel, don't worry, we will be getting a much better look at it as the weeks go by. Our pilot continued to circle it, getting progressively closer and closer. It gets a bit repetitive to be honest, but that's the way it goes!   


Nanook said...


It's always fun looking at aerial views of Disneyland and the Hotel - and these are no exception. And it appears the Global Van Lines building is easily visible in two of the images.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Was that a gas station or a motel at the southwestern corner of the DL parking lot (last pic)? I'm only remembering the parking lot going all the way to the corner of that intersection.

Major, I believe all major construction was done on Big Thunder by July. The attraction was supposed to have been open by then, but the opening was delayed until September....I don't remember why, exactly. Maybe it was due to technical problems during testing? Or were they just behind schedule? Hopefully somebody out there remembers why it was delayed.

I'm loving these aerial pics, Major and I wish I could step right into them! On the ground level, of course!

Chuck said...

In the enlargement of the first photo, there is a large warehouse north of Frontierland in the left center of the frame. Just to the left of that is that campground that everyone remembers but no-one can remember the name of (where this was shot:

Somewhere along the east or south perimeter of the campground I was able to climb a piece of playground equipment and see over the fence into backstage parade float storage. I distinctly remember seeing the top of the eagle from the "America On Parade" Bicentennial parade. Since this would have been October of 1976, I can only assume that it was in storage awaiting its fate.

Now I'm wondering if that warehouse was built after our stay, because I can't figure out how I was able to see the float with that in the way. While I remember it being to the east, maybe it was parked to the south of the campground.

In the other photo, you can see the remains of the third and final location of the Disneyland Heliport at the 10-to-11-o'clock position from the "gorillasdontblog" watermark.

Anonymous said...

It was a GULF gas station, the only one of its brand in the area.

The red monorail wouldn't be zipping. With the yellow train in the hotel station, the red train would be sitting in its "hold" position until yellow crossed back over West street.

K. Martinez said...

How ironic is that? I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel around the time this photo was taken. I remember looking out and seeing the yet to be opened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad off in the distance from my top floor room. Do you remember that photo I sent you, Major?

Chuck, I stayed at that campground in the 1980's. It was called "Vacationland" when it was owned by Disney.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland Facts No One Cares About #236 & #237: Wrather opened Vacationland, their RV park companion to the Disneyland Hotel, in June of 1970 and operated it until Disney purchased Wrather in 1988—at which point it was renamed Disney's Vacationland Campground. Vacationland was demolished in 1997 by the Eisner regime during their Downtown Disney/Mickey & Friends Parking Structure construction extravaganza.

In 1976, it would not have been unusual to see America on Parade floats outside of the parade building during the day as it was difficult to squeeze every float, vehicle, cart, etc. inside only to take everything out again for the evening parade. The current parade building was constructed in 1965 near the pony farm after the original float containment area behind Main Street grew too cramped.

Floats are still often parked outside of the parade building (covered by Visqueen) except when heavy rains are expected.

That’s all I know!

Someday, let’s talk about Wrather’s other “land”: the Tennisland Racquet Club which Disney closed in 1994 after an eighteen year run! Or not. ;)

K. Martinez said...

Anonymous - Again, what awesome Disneyland facts that no one cares about. I wasn't sure if it was called Vacationland before Disney owned it. It was a nice park and I remember hearing the Electrical Parade off in the distance one night when I left the park one early evening. I wish they kept it because WDW has it's own Fort Wilderness Campground. Oh well! The only thing permanent is change. Thanks for sharing your always interesting facts and tidbits.

Chuck said...

Ken - Vacationland was a different campground on the west side of West Street, across the street from the one where I peeked over the fence. You can see it in the first photo, the residential-looking area to the east of the tennis court complex (is that Tennisland, Anonymous?) and SW of what's now a Holiday Inn. Stayed there a couple of times myself, both in the '70s and the '90s; wish there was something like that there now.

The one I'm talking about was on the east side of West Street. I'm not sure when it closed, but the facade was still standing through the mid-'90s. I really wish I'd taken a picture of it. Of course, there are a lot of things I wish I'd taken pictures of...

Anonymous - thanks for the info. Where exactly is the outdoor parking area in relation to the parade building? Just trying to figure out where I was looking.

Chuck said...

To clarify, I meant "Where exactly is the outdoor PARADE parking area in relation to the parade building?"

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yep, that’s the Global Van Lines headquarters! I didn’t mention it this time, but I did in my first post of these aerial pix.

TokyoMagic!, I see that Anonymous has answered your query about the gas station, so I am off the hook. Thanks for the info about Big Thunder… it’s strange that it sat there looking basically finished for months. Perhaps you are right about testing of technical problems. The next 8 (?) photos from this series pretty much views of the hotel, getting gradually closer and closer!

Chuck, I remember your photos of you and your sister at a campground - unless those were something different. I don’t understand why five year old Chuck didn’t take lots of photos with his Hasselblad medium-format camera! The Heliport is interesting… presumably it was only used privately for those final years… the “suits” visiting from Burbank, or whatever.

Anon, GULF used to sponsor a series of Disney magazines, I remember lots of ads featuring bright 1970s graphics and lots of GULF ads. I didn’t know that the Monorails would stop on the tracks (except of course in an emergency)… I guess I just assumed that they had it all timed “just so” to avoid such a stoppage.

K. Martinez, I think I can see you in the closeup! Your hair looks great. I feel like a dope because I don’t remember the photo that you mentioned. Did I post it on the blog? Arg, my brain.

Anonymous, I hope you continue to share lots of “Facts No One Cares About”! I knew that the Vacationland campground was gone, but did not know the details. For some reason I thought it survived longer than it actually did. There is a scarce postcard showing the entrance to that campground, I’ve only seen one, and it sold on eBay for BIG bucks! What the heck is “Visqueen”?! Wikipedia, here I come.

K. Martinez, I can only imagine hearing the Electrical Parade off in the distance at night. It would definitely make me wish I was sitting on Main Street, watching it closeup. It’s kind of a shame that the campgrounds have gone away… the real estate was too valuable, I guess.

Chuck, I wonder if there are any aerial photos of the park floating around the interwebs in which you can see the campground you are referring to? Wasn’t “The East Side of West Street” a play by Tennessee Williams?

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, Apparently I didn't read your comments close enough and misunderstood what you were asking. Sorry. Now I'm curious to know what your campground was named. That must've been really cool to peak over and see the floats.

Major, yeah, when I heard the electrical parade I did wish I was there at that moment.

Chuck said...

Ken - I can remember laying in my tent at Vacationland, hearing the whistle blowing on the Mark Twain and thinking "I wonder if the people who live around Disneyland ever get tired of the sounds of the Park." I don't think I'll ever test that theory myself.

Anonymous said...

Chuck: Perhaps you’re thinking of the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) location north of Vacationland?

Floats were parked pretty much wherever they could fit near the parade building back in the America on Parade era; mostly along the west and south walls of the structure.

Tennisland was located at 1330 S. Walnut… but between the $375 initiation fee and $35 monthly dues, playing tennis there was a little rich for most of us who worked at the park in the ‘70s!

The Gulf station at the corner of West and Katella had a long association with the park. There was even a gate that opened from the station into the parking lot to help visitors with dead batteries, flat tires, etc. Old-timers told us that up until the early 1970s they used to swing by, show their DL IDs and gas up at a discounted “corporate” rate. And if they didn’t have any cash, the station would put the charge on a tab. A supervisor once called the station and had them meet me in the employee parking lot when I wondered aloud if I had enough gas in my car to get home. Boy, are THOSE days long gone!

Chuck said...

Anonymous - wasn't the KOA on the west side of West Street? I seem to remember a lighted yellow KOA sign right next to Vacationland.

This other place was definitely on the east side of the street. There was a check-in/office structure right up against the sidewalk, and I want to say that you actually had to drive through a breezeway in the building to enter the grounds.

Ah, well...whatever it was called, it was a fun place to camp. We had a blast playing on what seemed to be a gigantic playground structure shaped like a railroad caboose, and I remember cajoling my dad to climb up with me to take a look over the fence to see the floats. Great memories.