Friday, April 13, 2018

Views From The Sierra Tower, August 1964

Both of today's photos were taken from an upper floor (or possibly the roof?) of the Disneyland Hotel's "Sierra Tower", which was only 2 years old in '64. Do these qualify as "aerial" views? Maybe not. But they're still kind of cool.

Let's start with this one, showing the vast parking lot; the blue Monorail kind of blends in with blacktop (cloaking technology?!), but you can just see it as it pulls in to the station at the Hotel (the tracks had been extended to the Hotel in 1961). 

This zoom got pretty grainy, but you can just see a parking lot tram coming in from the right side. The colorful rectangles are the back of the "Disneyland Hotel" sign. The building in the distance with the cone-shaped roof is the Melodyland Theater, which had opened in 1963. It later became a church, but was eventually torn down in 2003.

A second photo is pointed more toward the park, with the mighty Matterhorn looming over all. We can also see a few taller landmarks, like Main Street Station, the Opera House, and the Douglas Moonliner. 

The yellow Monorail is zipping along the beamway through what was left from the old "Holidayland" picnic area, although that officially closed in '61. To the left is a structure that was part of the early construction for the Haunted Mansion. 

The Sierra Tower was renamed the "Dreams Tower" (pee-yew!) in 2007.


Nanook said...


Now, where's my car-??!!

Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

These are fantastic, Major, thank you! Something a little different.

K. Martinez said...

I remember views like this when I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel in the 1970's except that it included Rocket Jets, Space Mountain and Mark III monorails in the view along with the Matterhorn. Also remember walking by Melodyland when going to Disneyland many times as well. It always reminded me of an inferior Space Mountain a little.

Yeah, pee-yew to removing the names "Marina", "Sierra" and "Bonita" from the hotel towers. They ruin everything! Thanks, Major.

Nanook, what gives? I was hoping you were going to identify every car in that lot.

Patrick Devlin said...

Though taken at a distance I always find a shot or two of the Mk. II monorails welcome. Very nice views today and they're aerial shots as far as I'm concerned, they're just oblique aerial shots.

Anonymous said...

Very nice angles today, Major.

Seeing the back of the sign is kind of nice, similar in spirit to the back side of water.

Remember the oleander bushes under the Power lines? No parking under the wires.

The Grand Hotel is just visible in the far right background of photo 2 also. Stayed there on our first visit with our children in the '90's. By then it was pretty run down, which is probably why we could afford it. I can't see Chao's, must be out of both pictures.

I do recall Melodyland, I seem to remember going in there on a church trip, but it's pretty vague. The building was a big concrete circus tent, in later years the concrete roof got moldy or stained, there were dark streaks and and patches on it and it looked nasty up close.

I can't see our car, in 1961, Dad had a blue Buick station wagon. Somebody help me remember where we parked. We probably came in the Katella gate if that was open at this time, since we stayed at the Magic Lamp or around the corner at the Kona Kai.


Melissa said...

I love the way the Monorail track bisects that first picture, and pulls our eyes straight to the colorful Backside-of-Disneyland signs.

Jonathan said...

I love the photos of the the Mark II. Back in 1961 we still had our 58 Belair. I wish I still had it. Love the parking lot full of $3,000 cars that are worth a fortune now. A little slice of a simpler time, and great memories. Thanks Major for the very cool photos.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't look like the old Grand Hotel in the 2nd picture. It was across from Melodyland and I'd expect to see it in the first shot. This looks to be the office building which was (and perhaps still is) the Western Law School. Sure like these pics...takes me back to those days of my very early teens.... KS

Anonymous said...

@KS, I think you are right. The Grand was on the same street as Melodyland. Thanks for setting me straight.


Nanook said...

@ JG-

KS is correct. If the first image was shot a couple of years later, we'd be able to see the Crest [then Grand] Hotel. LOOKIE HERE, and you can see the relationship of all three buildings.

Sunday Night said...

What a rare view of the parking lot. Love that straight monorail segment. Think of the extra money it took to extend the track that far out but it was certainly worth it, both for the Monorail riders and the people who just came into the lot and saw the monorail fly by. Seeing the monorail in the lot as a kid always intensified the anticipation of my Disneyland day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nanook and JG. Nice to have some reassurance that I haven't lost my memory so far! KS

Anonymous said...

I'll always be biased to the WDW monorail system (because it's bigger and better), though I can't deny that the Disneyland monorail has its charm, even if most of the view consists of parking lot.

Anonymous said...

@KS and Nanook, thanks for the photo confirmation. The Grand (Crest) has been there so long, I couldn't imagine it not being there.