Friday, June 10, 2016

The Last of the September 1979 Aerials

I realized that I'd never finished sharing the last of those 1979 aerial photos of the Disneyland Hotel; so today I am bringing peace and joy to all nations by posting the 3 remaining photos in one amazing extravaganza that will blow your minds and empty your wallets. 

Our pilot/photographer circled the hotel, lower and lower. Like a drowsy bumblebee. Even though you can only see a small portion of Disneyland's parking lot, it looks like it was a busy day. Looking at the size of other nearby motels, the Disneyland Hotel was (is) a massive property. The old garden rooms were still there at this point.

Nowadays I suppose you could get photos like this with a good-quality drone - unless there are regulations preventing their use over the park and hotel.  I like to use my mecha-suit to fly around it.

And here it is, our closest view yet, looking remarkably crisp. The turquoise marina is full of little paddle boats. The lawn in the lower right almost looks like a baseball field, but... it's not of course.

Just for fun I decided to zoom in a bit more. I am wondering why the water to the right looks like the muddy runoff of a river into a lake. Maybe that's where the Hotel's effluent went! I had to go there. To the extreme right is the locatioin of the old "Dancing Waters" area; a little to the left of that you can see the lovely waterfalls that were removed a few years ago.

I hope you have enjoyed this set of 37 year-old aerial photos!


Nanook said...


Today's 'drone technology' notwithstanding, these are awfully-wonderful images. There seems to be just the correct amount of original hotel balanced with the newer towers and their wonderful surroundings. What a time it was.

Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

As a kid in the 70's I would have been very hard-pressed to decide which was my favorite Disney hotel - this or the Contemporary. Absolutely loved staying here.
Thanks again, Major!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, by all accounts the Disneyland Hotel is still (if pricey) place to stay, but I sure wish I had been able to experience it when it still had some of those vintage elements.

Scott Lane, I agree; even though I've never been to WDW, the Contemporary was used in lots of ads and articles, and looked pretty awesome with the Monorail running right through. However, at this particular minute, I would choose the vintage Disneyland Hotel!

Chuck said...

These are wonderful. I just retraced the steps my wife and I took on an evening stroll on our second wedding anniversary in 1995. Wonderful memory of surprising her after dinner with a room key (I'd found it floating in the marina). It was the only time I ever stayed at the hotel.

I remember seeing one of the screws from RMS Queen Mary somewhere on the Hotel property on a 1975 or 76 visit. Anybody remember where that was (is?) located?

K. Martinez said...

Cool! These photos are from the same year I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, but I stayed there a few months earlier in June of '79. That summer I was in a room on the top floor of the Marina Tower looking northward in which I could see the upper reaches of the newly constructed Big Thunder Mountain (yet to be open). I've stayed in the Sierra Tower too, but never the Bonita. Wonderful set today. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Major, The newer Disneyland Hotel has no appeal to me. I loved the vintage Disneyland Hotel when Wrather owned it and the interiors were pretty cool too. I enjoyed it the few times I stayed there and it felt first class all the way.

Unknown said...

"You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!"

I love aerials shots and have said so before. It's notable that the neighborhoods immediately to the West of the Hotels have changed precious little over the years. My brother lived over there for years and it's pretty solid 50's and 60's houses all the way.

I lobbied hard and long to get our Dad to put us up at the Disneyland Hotel. Somehow the 90 minute drive home kept winning out. Sigh.

Plane (plain?) geekiness: There is a flight restriction over Disneyland imposed by the FAA. It extends to 3000' above ground level and out to 3 nautical miles radius of the Park center. I don't know if anyone's drone has that kind of range. I secretly hope so, of course, 'cause I love aerial shots and always want more.

Tom said...

It always amazes me how massive that entire hotel complex was, stretching from the parking structure in the rear all the way up to the monorail station. When I visited in 2001, just after the addition of California Adventure and Downtown Disney, I could not figure out how they moved the hotel back away from the monorail. It wasn't until I saw a couple of pictures like this that I understood just how far forward the whole thing stretched.

Great shots! Love the details - so clear and bright.

Anonymous said...

@Tom, I had the same reaction, I know they couldn't have moved those towers but... the whole DTD remodeling was very disorienting to me.

@Chuck. I remember seeing the Queen Mary screw (a little nautical lingo there), but can't recall where it was kept. I remember comparing it in memory to the one still attached to the big ship. The viewing room there was a great concept. Hope that's still there.

After waiting 50+ years to stay here, I can now confidently assert that the hotel is an excellent property and worth the high price. It's definitely a quiet retreat from the craziness of the over-crowded parks. You can keep the Grand Californian.

I will be very interested to see the new 700 room hotel Disney is proposing in the parking lot just north of the DH. Apparently the tower will feature a rooftop restaurant with expansive views of the Park and the new Star Wars Land. Getting a seat there for fireworks will probably be a year wait.

Thanks for the terrific pictures, Major.


Anonymous said...

Just noticed that photo 1 has a bit of the old WonderBowl in the upper right corner. Wasted a fair amount of time and cash there before and after visits.

Fun stuff.


Chuck said...

No luck in finding where the screw was located, but I found where the all are now:

Anonymous said...

As I recall, the screw...and the lifeboat was located in the area nearby where the circular Mickey is here....between the South and East towers. Seemed pretty impressive when they were there in 1970. KS

walterworld said...

Agree with KS on the location of the propeller. There was an orange diving bell located over there too, which can now be seen (I think) in the lower middle-right of the last 3 pics. Sitting on 'home plate' on what looks like a baseball diamond but was actually a convention-goer gathering spot if I recall correctly.

Chuck: Thanks for the cool link to 'The Captain's Table' :)

LOVED staying at the Hotel numerous times as a kid from 73-83. What a cool place it was!

They converted a couple of the Garden Rooms facing the pool area back in the early 80's to make a large video game arcade back when that was all the craze. I played hundreds (thousands?) of games of 'Berzerk' there back in the Fall of '81.

Thanks Major!

Chuck said...

Thanks, KS & Walterworld! I thought I remembered it mounted near-vertically in front of a wall with some sort of pebbled finish. We'd come out of a building and there it was, partially in shadow. That doesn't match your description, but I might be conflating that with another memory (we did visit the Queen Mary as well) and I was only 6 or 7 at the time.