Friday, August 02, 2019

Disneyland Aerial, March 15, 1969

I am happy to share a nice aerial view of Disneyland, circa 1969! I love aerial views, and this scan is from an oversized negative. Even though it was taken at a considerable height, it is possible to zoom in and see some fun details.

First let's look at the entire image, with Disneyland surrounded by Anaheim's suburban sprawl. The 5 freeway cuts though the landscape; Walt counted on that new highway to bring guests to his park, and it worked. In the lower center and left are some motels along Harbor Boulevard. It's surprising to see so many empty lots (farms?) still within spitting distance of the park. 

Zooming in a bit, we can see the Global Van Lines building on the right edge of the image (1/3 of the way down); further down the right edge we can see the Howard Johnson hotel. To the left is the massive parking lot.

You can see Harbor funneling into the Harbor Gate entrance. Parking: 50 cents. A few trams are sleeping in the warm sun. Nanook, can you please ID all of those cars?

I feel like I'm getting away with something when I can see into the park's backstage area. Notice the lines of Peoplemover trains, including several on the ramp (just to the left of the center of the image). There's the Carousel Theater, and the drained Sub Lagoon.

I enlarged this area at the northwest corner of the park to see what is in that otherwise-empty field; at first I thought that there were four buses, but now I believe that those are Jungle Cruise launches. In the last of today's details it looks like the Jungle Cruise river might be drained of its water. To the right of the boats might be three trams. Notice the tent just under the boats - I wonder what that was for?

More parking lot! And the Disneyland Hotel is to the left. I believe that the heliport is at the top center of the image, back when one could still catch a Los Angeles Airways flight from LAX to the park (and back). Just below the heliport, to the right, you can just see the old miniature golf course.

This is the view in which it appears that the Jungle Cruise's river is empty, though it is hard to be certain. The massive show buildings for "Pirates of the Caribbean" (still pretty new at that point) are impossible to miss. Above that, you can see the Haunted Mansion, along with its own large show building, which looks like it might not be fully completed yet. 

Then we've got the Rivers of America; the Columbia is dry-docked in Fowler's Harbor, the Mark Twain is rounding the bend at the north end of the river, and Cascade Peak is cascading. I think I even see a Mine Train crossing the trestle through Bear Country and Beaver Valley!

I hope you have enjoyed this aerial view of Disneyland.


Chuck said...

Wow! This view is spectacular!

That is the heliport, right where you describe it. And neither of the close-in campgrounds on West Street have been built yet, which means that they were of later construction than I had thought.

Thanks, Major!

Pegleg Pete said...

These are great, Major. Thanks! The detail is quite something. How is there still so much open land as late as 1969?!

JC Shannon said...

I like aerial photos 'cause there is so much to see and pick out. I always wonder what type of aircraft they were taken from. Thanks Major.

Stu29573 said...

I wish this was in color, but black and white had better resolution back then. The "beyond the berm" attractions are really spectacular! I guess they all started with Its a Small World, in a way, when the berm was pulled down for the installation. Then they got the fantastic idea of going under it, which gave those two attractions really signature moments. Imagination was a bit better then, I think...

Andrew said...

The tent might be part of the old picnic area used for group events, "Holidayland?"

It also think it's 'really cool how you can see into th PeopleMover maintenance bay!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Lol @ Nanook, no problem right? I'll help they all have four wheels on the ground except the one smart a@# who rode a Cushman mail truck to the park that day.

I love these older views when we still had classic tomorrowland yet had the show buildings of HM, POTC and IASW.

I fondly recall looking out the car window waiting to spy the Global Van Lines building because when I saw it I knew we were exiting the freeway and had made it to the park.

Thanks for posting. Happy Friday everyone.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Best aerial shot I've ever seen of Disneyland! I especially love it because it's my-era Disneyland.

This is the first time I've seen the POTC and HM "show buildings," as I always avoided looking at any of the background-behind-the-scenes stuff, until recently. I didn't want to "ruin the magic," but now I find it interesting.

I never realized how much of the area between Main Street and Tomorrowland that was used for "behind the scene" stuff.

Thanks for posting this, Major! I bet this picture will get more "stared at" than anything you've posted, yet.


Nanook said...


They are mostly American vehicles. (And you thought I couldn't do it-??!!) Love the views today.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

What strikes me in these pictures is that at this time I was an wide-eyed 18 year old attending Disney University orientation training in the Admin building. This is a snapshot of what the surrounding area was at precisely that moment. Takes me way back. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I never thought about it, but I agree, it is surprising that the nearby campgrounds were not there yet. I’ll bet they were added soon afterwards, though.

Pegleg Pete, I can only chalk up all that open space to stubborn farmers who were not thrilled with the way Disneyland had changed Anaheim. All the Disney company had to do was wait, like a spider!

Jonathan, I suppose this could have been taken from one of the L.A. Airways helicopters that went to and from LAX, though of course any small aircraft would have worked.

Stu29573, yes, color is almost always better, but I am still mighty glad to have this very nice photo. In a way, Holidayland (1957-1961) was “beyond the berm”, but I’ll bet there were lots of visitors to Disneyland who never knew that Holidayland even existed.

Penna. Andrew, Holidayland was long-gone by 1969, but that’s not a bad guess. I think the actual Holidayland tent was much larger than the example seen in today’s photo, too. And yes, I love that “behind the scenes in Tomorrowland” view!

Alonzo, notice that Nanook hasn’t chimed in yet. He’s still identifying all of the cars! I realize that it will take time, so that’s OK. I wonder what happened to the big globe that was outside the Global Van Lines building? It was cool.

Lou and Sue, wow, as a kid, there was no such thing as “ruining the magic”; somehow the more I knew about how things worked, the more amazed I was. Yes, there is a lot of land used for employee dining areas, maintenance areas, etc. On the souvenir “fun maps” they would just draw these as areas full of trees, which always made me wonder why they left so much room for trees!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I guess I was hoping for a little more specific information! ;-)

KS, I think you were there at the best time, that was the park that I loved so much as a kid.

Nanook said...

@ Andrew-

Although it would seem like that tent had a former life as the one in Holidayland (and originally used for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus), I don't think so. That tent had rounded ends - as opposed to the one we see here - which appears to be rectangular in shape. But you never know...

Nanook said...


Okay then... a 1966 Mustang (dark blue)...

Jason Schultz said...

Major - Great view! Looks like the Submarine Lagoon was drained for refurbishment.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook - yes, I am pretty sure that is a different tent. I wish I knew what was inside it! Maybe it just provided a shady place to eat for construction workers or something.

Nanook, I thought it was turquoise, but I bow to your knowledge.

Jason Schultz, yes, the lagoon is dry! I wonder if they emptied it regularly, or "as needed"?

Chuck said...

Major, I agree those campgrounds were probably added within the next year or two. They were definitely there by late '74.

Andrew, I'm not sure if you are referring to just the tent as having been part of Holidayland or the piece of land it's on as having been the former Holidayland. Holidayland was actually located just SW of where the HM show building is in this photo (and where the HM show building remains today...or at least it was before July 4th & 5th).

You can get a better feel for its location and the shape of the tent here and here.

Melissa said...

Disneyland Ariel 1969? I thought The Little Mermaid didn't come out 'til the '90's!

(Wocka wocka)


The Submarine Voyage Lagoon is drained mainly for the construction of the New Monorail Station to accommodate the arrival of the large new MARK III MONORAIL trains. Like the Haunted Mansion show building in this shot ,the Monorail station looks incomplete.
It’s very impressive that WED not only created New Tomorrowland but also included redesigns for phase two to update the autopia cars and monorails and station as well. The real core of Phase Two New Tomorrowland of course was Space Mountain Complex which was original announced to open in 1968. Disneyland publicity always talks about how the lack of technology prevented the start of Disneyland’s Space Mountain - which really wasn’t the case - it was the lack of money slowly being diverted away from Disneyland and funneled into Walt Disney World. Space Mountain was merely going to be a 4 track bobsled indoors. Two other New Tomorrowland ‘67 projects that also became postponed or shelved was a new Skyway Station exterior with waterfall sculptures on the exit side facing the train station and ALPINE GARDENS - a cantilevered terrace restaurant and dance pavilion also with a rising stage - a circular waterfall in the center of the building would intensify as the stage rises up with its performers - the falls would thin out and the curtain of water would open revealing the entertainment.!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, you can really clearly see how much bigger that Holidayland tent was! Thanks for the links.

Melissa, I had to check my spelling to make sure I didn’t actually type “Ariel”.

Mike Cozart, ah, that makes sense. I can’t really tell that the Monorail station is incomplete, the photo is just too fuzzy. Maybe it should be gleaming white? Also, I didn’t know that they actually had planned for “Phase 2”, but that is some brilliant thinking on their part. Funny about how they said that technology was the issue for Space Mountain not getting built; but it totally makes sense that they needed so much money for WDW. I’d never heard of those shelved Tomorrowland plans, such a shame that we didn’t get them! Although they probably would be removed by now anyway. I remember that there was a period where I felt like Disneyland was getting no love from the company, and Disney World was getting ALL of it!

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
Thanks for those additional shots. Those are wonderfully-unique angles - especially the first one.

@ Andrew -
Your reference points for the layout of Holidayland would be the baseball diamond stood where Pirates of the Caribbean now stands; and the circus tent stood where the Haunted Mansion now stands - the show buildings, in both cases.

Andrew said...

Thank you, Chuck and Nanook! I should really do a quick Google search before I blast off a comment like that, but I appreciate you telling me these things a lot. The tent was a lot bigger than I pictured it being!

MRaymond said...

I love the aerial shots today. Any chance of getting a higher resolution version of 1969B? There is so much good stuff to see. I was 8 years old when that shot was taken.