Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Grand Concourse at Night, November 1971

Today I have more scans from a series of 35mm negatives, all from photos taken by my friend Mr. X during his first trip to Walt Disney World.

As I mentioned in a previous post, X took a lot of photos of the Contemporary Hotel, not that I blame him. I'm going to try to parcel them out so that you don't get overloaded! Today's examples were all taken in the hotel's "Grand Concourse" - the giant atrium inside the "A-frame" structure - where the Monorails would come and go.

These were hard to scan! My Epson didn't quite know what to do with those dark, warmly-lit spaces, so I had to do a lot of adjustments. They were also pretty grainy - a common problem in low-light situations. In spite of those challenges, I think that the scans came out pretty good. I particularly love this one, with the dining area below bustling with guests, and "Monorail Red" on the platform.

Here's another nice angle, with those nutty acrylic trees. Another Monorail is present - possibly "Monorail Gold". I am very jealous of all of those people who got to see WDW in its earliest incarnation.

There's "Monorail Blue". Collect 'em all! 

You'll see more of the Grand Concourse in future posts.


Nanook said...


I'm certain it was just a typo - but that should be 1971, unless Mr. X has some super-human powers over the space-time continuum...

These images from the early years of the Contemporary Resort always bring back great memories - including all the unique aromas from back then - mostly gone at my last visit, back in 2012. Can't wait to see more-!

Thanks, Major AND Mr. X-!

TokyoMagic! said...

Hurray, for Mary Blair and her fabulous murals (last pic). I want several of those acrylic trees in my backyard. Heck, I'll take a couple of them in my living room, too! In the first pic, I believe we can see that outdoor patio with it's cluster of pole lights that I was asking about in Mr. "X's? last batch of WDW pics.

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

TO answer your question about the "cluster of pole lamps" from the post a week ago - the mystery opening & pole lights below the twin monorail beamways remains just that. But the area to the right of the beamways - including the other grouping of pole lights, was modified in the Spring of 1977 by the inclusion of a glass-enclosed atrium, accommodating an oyster bar, called the Coconino Cove; and away went that cluster of pole lights... "Guests enter Coconino Cove through doors in the existing window wall. Once seated at the fruitwood-finish round tables, they have an eye level view of sleek monorails gliding through the building. The south wall is all glass, offering an excellent view of Bay Lake and the wooded areas surrounding it. Above, pointed, triangular skylights let the sunbeams and moonbeams filter in day and night.

The lounge is open each evening, with dancing and musical entertainment provided by Amos and Charles 8:30 pm - 1:30 am.
(Not to mention great views of The Electrical Water Pageant-!)

Gotta love it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, thanks for that info! It's odd that it would be located next to the monorail beam and not in that area underneath it.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great photos, Major – thanks as always! The decor in general is great, but those acrylic trees really are something. I too want one!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to think that the Mk IV, -V, VI monorail look is still quite contemporary even after almost 40 years of service. Kudos to Bob Gurr.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook - yep, that was a typo alright. Corrected! Mr. X has many powers, though. I think I was just working on some of those awful 1970 GAF slides, maybe that’s why I had that year on my brain.

TokyoMagic! I wish they would cover over those murals with a terrible painting of spaceships - but first, they need to punch a lot of holes in the murals. How do we make that happen?

Nanook, gosh, you guys are way more observant that I am. Hey, who noticed the door off of its hinges near the nose of the Monorail in photo #1?? Also, “Coconino”, like the yeller streaks a-runnin’ through them sandstone cliffs in “Nature’s Wonderland”?

TokyoMagic!, it’s bad luck to be under a Monorail beam.

Pegleg Pete, maybe Disney needs to sell miniature acrylic trees as souvenirs??

Anonymous, they do look pretty neat. I’ve always heard that compared to Lear jets of the time, though I have no idea if that is apt or not.

Clyde Hughes said...

Thanks for the great photos! It's interesting to note how close the monorail comes to the dining area. The decor and spaciousness are wonderful to see. I love how the balcony is just above the track in one photo.

This is maybe from watching too many "Taryl Fixes All" episodes, but... an odd thought passed through my mind... regarding 'greasy parts' on the monorails' transport mechanism and track, and what if some of those greasy bits were flung out and into a guest's meal?

Were there grease removal cast members? Just a thought. ;-)

Tom said...

Acrylic trees! So awesome. So kooky. So 70's. I bet that place was absolutely glorious in the evening, dining there with the monorail zooming in and out every so often.

Great photos! Thanks for sharing these.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

“Coconino”, like the yeller streaks a-runnin’ through them sandstone cliffs in “Nature’s Wonderland”? And why not-? It IS The Grand Canyon Concourse, after all. And besides, you've heard of the Coconino Oyster - native to the southwest-?? Ah-hem.

Major Pepperidge said...

Clyde Hughes, it’s true, the bottom edge of that Monorail looks to be no more than, say, 6 feet above the heads of the people below. I wonder if that would ever be allowed these days? Now I can’t help thinking about biting into some linguini (or whatever) filled with grease and iron filings!

Tom, I’m sure these photos give only slight approximation of how the Concourse really looked, since the human eye is generally more sensitive than those old film stocks. I’ll bet it was stunning.

Nanook, I thought it was the Grand Theft Auto Concourse. And nope, I’ve never heard of the Coconino Oyster; from the way you refer to it, I think I don’t wanna know!

Melissa said...

EPSON - Experimental Prototype Scanner Of Now

I'm really feeling the "algia" part of "nostalgia" right now; these pictures are so beautiful and evocative it's painful.

Doug said...

Any pictures of the Monorail Club bar?

Anonymous said...

These might be among the best Contemporary Lobby pics I've seen. I wish I had been there to see it then.

This whole concept is very much of the moment in architecture at that time, John Portman's series of vast outdoor/indoor hotel lobbies was just kicking off with the San Francisco Hyatt Regency (which starred as the Towering Inferno in the eponymous movoe.

Portman's designs didn't include a monorail though.

I stay at the SF Hyatt Regency every so often, The look has aged well on the whole.

Great photos and restoration work, Major. thank you.