Monday, July 04, 2016

Disneyland Hotel, September 1972


Here are three casual photos taken near the Disneyland Hotel, circa 1972.

This first image shows the distinctive Sierra Tower (post-expansion so that the sign no longer says "Hotel Disneyland") with its external elevator. This massive building was not big enough to contain all of the people who wanted to stay there... the huge Marina Tower was right next door, while the Bonita Tower would not be built until 1978.

The landscaping is quite nice, with sidewalks winding through grassy lawns, palm trees, and colorful flower beds. I love the oval sign with a map of the grounds to help newbies get oriented.

Why are all those people lollygaggin' around when they could be inside Disneyland?! Maybe someone can tell me, is that screened-in part of the top floor a private area for folks staying in the Presidential Suite (or whatever)?


Unknown said...

Happy Fourth of July all and sundry!

Major, I think that screening is just to give a cleaner visual line to the top of the Hotel after one has blocked off the view from all of the rooftop mechanical systems. Or maybe its where they're building my personal suite...

Nanook said...


"Lollygaggin' "-! Any time you can use that word in a sentence, you receive bonus points-! Yeah - what's up with those folks-?

Major, I believe the "screened-in" part of the top floor houses mechanical equipment - although it could easily be a Disneyland Hotel-version of the Mussolini balcony-! (One could never be certain just when Jack Wrather would be in a speechifying mood, and he could always just head right up there and begin his spiel).

Of course, the Looking Glass Elevator has been gone for awhile now, but it was always exciting taking a ride to the top floor to visit "The Top of the Park". It's too bad the original design didn't call for an 'underslung car': (running the cables down one side of the "shaft", then under the car, and finally back up the opposite side of the shaft way, before looping back over a pulley in the machine room, and ultimately ending in the counterweight, traveling up/down along the side of the shaft way). Utilizing that [more expensive] design, gives the illusion of the elevator car "floating" up and down in the shaft way. Oh well - it's history now.

Thanks, Major & Happy 4th-!

K. Martinez said...

Happy 4th of July to Major and all the GDB readers!

I sure miss the old Disneyland Hotel. Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

There was another "screened in" area to the left of the new Disneyland Hotel sign after the 1966 remodel. I believe both were primarily cosmetic to keep a straight "line" across the length of the top of the entire building.

Chuck said...

Loving those floral print clothes in the third photo. I've just decided what I'm going to wear today, despite the cool and rainy forecast. I won't let the weather ruin one of my favorite holidays. To quote Walt, "I get red, white, and blue at times," and I'm not going to let a little weather rain on my parade.

Happy Independence Day, Major and the rest of the regular and casual crew! Be safe out there wherever you are as you celebrate the birth of this Nation.

On days like today, I like to reflect on Walt's vision - “tomorrow will be better as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.” Here's to many more great, big beautiful tomorrows for the United States of America...and for each and every one of you.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, that was my other theory! But I thought maybe there was something cool like a private tennis court up there or something.

Nanook, yes, I’m sure that all that’s up there is ugly machinery, but I do like the idea of it being a balcony for a fascist dictator. Everyone’s welcome at Disneyland! They should have used solid-fuel rockets to propel the elevator.

K. Martinez, happy 4th to you too!

Anonymous, I’m sure you are probably right.

Chuck, a cool and rainy 4th of July! I think of so many 4th’s from my past, especially in the days when it was OK to light a few fireworks (before California became a giant tinderbox all the time). A few years ago I found myself in Morro Bay for the 4th, and the fog came rolling in, so thick it was like rain. The fireworks over the bay were cancelled, that was a bummer! I hope you have an excellent holiday in spite of the inclement weather. Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill will help a lot!

Anonymous said...

Hello Major, I see the team has chimed in on the mechanical screen. The items that this element is hiding can be seen fairly well in some of your earlier aerial photos. There's a lot of unsightly equipment that makes our modern architecture so comfortable, and no one wants to see it. Out of sight, out of mind.

I'm very interested to see the designs for the proposed new 700 room hotel to be built north of the DH. I have only seen renderings for the view out of the top floor restaurant/lounge which is to have a grand aspect over Fantasmic and the fireworks show, not to mention StarWarsLand. Reservations here will be tough to get.

I hope it will include a rooftop deck and bar, since these amenities are missing from the whole DL area. The trend in the industry is toward including these when the climate permits. I'm sure the top floors of this new hotel will have some lavish rooms, tall or double height ceilings, townhouse type units, etc. with prices to match, as was done at the Grand Californian.

Not sure when this is planned to open, the timeline seems a little tight to coordinate with SWL, but miracles may happen. It seems that Disney has good relation$ with the local city agencies.

Always good to see these old pics of the hotel. Hope it won't look a little down-market in the next few years.