Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Monorail Cafe, 1999 - Part One

My pal "Mr. X" has been very generous over the years, and the trend happily continues! He recently gave me a number of slides and negatives from 1999 with some great images of the Monorail Cafe over at the Disneyland Hotel. SeƱor X knew that the cafe's days were numbered, and he wisely snapped a number of very nice shots.

This fabulous wall mural is probably one of the features that visitors recall most vividly. It's like a giant attraction poster!

Author and Disneyland Hotel historian Don Ballard wrote about the Monorail cafe on his excellent blog; here's what he said: Another sorely missed and beloved sight from the Disneyland Hotel's history is the Monorail Cafe. Originally, this restaurant was known as the Coffee Shop from 1956 to 1986. Bonita Granville-Wrather changed the name and re-themed the restaurant just two years before disney negotiated the acquisition of the Disneyland Hotel.

Don continues: A favorite spot for just about everybody, the Monorail Cafe featured sandwiches, burgers, salads, chicken and the best milkshakes in town. It was a great place to relax and get a mid-day meal after having walked for miles at the Park. The waitresses were friendly, the prices were reasonable and the decor was priceless.

Sadly, I never visited the Monorail Cafe, but I sure wish I had. The thought of that beautiful mural being destroyed by bulldozers is a bummer.

Stay tuned for part two, in which we'll see some other great shots of the inside of the Monorail Cafe!


Nanook said...


I'm afraid I share the same fate as you in never dining (or visiting) the Monorail Cafe - or at least that I can remember. That's quite a stunning 'mural' shining down on diners.

Thanks to "Mr. X"and you.

Nanook said...


On more careful reflection, I believe I perjured myself. Undoubtedly I ate at the Monorail Cafe, and more than once. But somehow have forgotten about its great mural, that certainly should have cemented those visits in my mind.

Scott Lane said...

Many early morning pancake breakfasts eaten there when it was just the Coffee Shop. I sorely miss the old hotel grounds.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I only had one visit there. It was for breakfast and I remember I had hash and eggs (very good too).

Mrs. Hawk and I didn't go to the park that day but met friends who were taking two very excited kids (neice/nephew)for the day. Great dacor and good food. Left a lasting memory and alas shortly thereafter it was closed forever.

Thanks to both of you for sharing an jaring loose some old memories.

Chuck said...

Did I eat here? Is this where they did character breakfasts? I don't remember this at all.

I find the thought of that mural being destroyed by bulldozers depressing, too. I prefer to imagine it being obliterated by a big pile of cartoon TNT.

K. Martinez said...

Like Scott Lane, I ate breakfast there when it was known as the Coffee Shop. Lots of memories of that, but not the Monorail Cafe. Very nice set today and unusual in that you've featured images near the turn of the millennium instead of the usual 50's, 60's and 70's. Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

Beautiful pictures! So glad someone had the foresight to capture it all before its demise. I never got to visit the old hotel buildings that were taken out along with the Monorail Cafe, just saw them from a distance on a couple of visits long ago. I never get tired of seeing pictures like this one.

Matt said...

My friends and I started getting A.P.'s in 1989 and had them every year until 1996. Being a starving college student at the time, we would frequent the Monorail Cafe pretty much every time we went to Disneyland (which was about once a month). It was relatively cheap for a hotel restaurant, let alone being the Disneyland Hotel. It was great to just take the monorail over, have dinner, then hop right back on the monorail and get back into the park. I really miss this restaurant.

Anonymous said...

It must have been a windy day on the Skyway...

Anonymous said...

Major, I'm pretty sure I'm the same boat (or skyway bucket) with you. I remember looking in here once with Mom and Dad, but no memory of a meal.

Fun to hear others recounting, it sounds like fun.

That is a cool mural, definitely an '80's interior too.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, this is yet another feature of the old Disneyland Hotel (and not even that old) that I wish I had seen…

Nanook II, oh man, this lapse in memory is going to haunt you when you run for President in 2020.

Scott Lane, mmmmm, pancakes! Sounds so good right now.

Alonzo, ha, my dad loved corned beef hash, and I never knew anybody else who ate it! According to my friend, they sold menus in those last few weeks/months, and he wisely bought a few.

Chuck, I’m not aware of them ever doing character breakfasts at the Monorail Cafe, but please chime in, readers!

K. Martinez, Mr. X gave me quite a lot of negatives and slides from the mid to late 1990’s, so prepare for those! The amazing thing is how much has changed. No more Keel Boats, Cascade Peak, and so on.

Tom, I only spent a few hours one day exploring the shops and sights at the Hotel back in the 90’s, so I could have seen this, but I know I didn’t go in here. Darn it.

Matt, is there any comparable place at the Hotel for casual dining that is similar to the Monorail Cafe, even if it’s not as nicely themed?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Re:Corned Beef Hash

My dad got me hooked on it although I don't eat it often due to how bad it is for you.
Great prank with it that I played on my kids (saw it on Letterman yrs ago). Secretly take a can of corned beef hash and peel off the label. Replace with the label from a dog food can. Open the can with the kids watching (and video rolling) and say "I wonder why the dogs like this stuff so much?". Eat a generous spoon full in front of them and watch the screams, groans, wretching and laughter. Good times.

Unknown said...

I was momentarily confused by the terminology. I was thinking, "Monorail Lounge" and I thought, "Wha?"

K. Martinez said...

Major, I love corned beef hash with a fried egg on top and ketchup.

Alonzo, When having Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash from a can I'd always joke to friends about opening up a can of Alpo for dinner. Not the best stuff to eat (the hash that is), but I still enjoy it once in a blue moon.

K. Martinez said...

Patrick Devlin, And then there's the "Monorail Bar".

Major Pepperidge said...

Alonzo, that reminds me of an old episode of David Letterman in which Chris Elliott was taste-testing different brands of canned dog food. At the time I thought it had to be something like what your dad did!

Patrick Devlin, there should be a Monorail Lounge! It would be very retro, as if you stepped back 40 or 50 years, but with a Monorail theme. Come on, Disney!

K. Martinez, I think I’d have to do salsa instead of ketchup, but to each his own!

K. Martinez, was there a Monorail Bar?

Matt said...

Major, the closest place at the Disneyland Hotel would be Tangaroa Terrace, although it's not a sit down restaurant like Monorail Cafe was. There's also Goofys Kitchen but it's always PACKED with kids since it's a character breakfast. And it's a buffet.