Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Disneyland Hotel Instamatics

Good ol' Mr. X continues to deliver, above and beyond the call of duty, with more great images scanned from his personal Kodak Instamatic negatives. I'll keep sharing them as long as he keeps finding more!

First up is this nice shot of the Sierra Tower at the Disneyland Hotel - you can see that it has undergone its major expansion in 1966 (an additional 150 rooms) to the right of the elevator. Mr. X loved the Disneyland Hotel in these days.

Next we have this great shot taken from the top floor (the "Looking Glass Elevator" only had doors on the ground floor and top floor); Looking past the old 2-story structures, we can see the back of the red, yellow, and blue "Disneyland Hotel" sign. Beyond that, the parking lot, and the back of the "Pirates" show building. The Haunted Mansions cupola can be seen to the left, and though it is hard to see here, work was being done (tunnels beneath the railroad tracks, etc). And of course there's the Matterhorn, Sleeping Beauty Castle (looking so tiny), the Swiss Family Treehouse, and even the Moonliner. And HoJo's!

These negatives were pretty beat up - the image took quite some time to make it look nice. I thought I'd make this animated gif to give you an idea of what I was up against! The time goes by pretty quickly if you have some good music or an entertaining podcast to listen to. I hope you'll agree that the results were worth it.

Stay tuned for more Instamatics from Mr. X - many thanks to him for the gift of these wonderful photos.


Nanook said...

Yes, this was a grand time for the Disneyland Hotel. And these are some grand images, too.

Thanks to Mr. X - and you too, Major. (George Eastman would be proud of your work).

"Lou and Sue" said...

In the 2nd picture, it looks like those are new stores(?) being added (bottom left). I still have some souvenirs from those stores (from the 60's and early 70's).

Thank you, Mr. X, for these wonderful pictures and terrific memories!

Thank you, Major, for taking the time to give us pictures at their best! (BTW, what songs were you listening to, when you worked on that negative?


Andrew said...

It's neat how the "Erector set" framing extended out behind the building as well as to the front.

Thanks to Mr. X and Major!

K. Martinez said...

The Disneyland Hotel was wonderful when it was owned by the Wrather Corporation. It was my favorite place I ever stayed at when visiting Disneyland the few times that I got to.

I remember that elevated view when I stayed at the top floor one time only. I'd look for any attractions that peaked over the trees. I think I even remember watching the Rocket Jets in action from this vantage point. Unfortunately my memories are fading of such things now.

Thanks, Mr. X and Major.

Stefano said...

Thanks to Mr. X, and Major for the spiffy clean-up. I regret never making it to The Top of the Park; it seemed to me and other Disneyland loving-kids the height of adult sophistication.

In the saucy 1967 airline stewardess memoir "Coffee, Tea, or Me?", the authors list their favorite nightspots in cities all over the U.S., with the "Disneyland Bar" one of their choices for the L.A. area. They probably meant The Top of the Park, though that also could have been The Monorail Bar, almost equally cool for youngsters.

DrGoat said...

Never got to stay there in the 60s. My parents told us it would be better to spend the extra money in the Park. We always stayed at the Peter Pan. I suppose it didn't matter. We spent as little time there as possible. It was a thing to behold though.
K. The fading of memories plagues me too. It's unsettling.
Great job Major and thanks for the entertaining gif.

JC Shannon said...

I never stayed there, we lived in North Hollywood. but it was always a sight to behold when visiting the park. I do remember seeing pics of the pool and the golf course as a kid. I think I might have had a Viewmaster reel with a hotel shot as well. I remember when they extended the Monorail to the hotel and thinking how cool is that.

JC Shannon said...

Darn, hit the button too soon, thanks Major and Mr. X.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m glad you liked these, and I’m glad George Eastman would as well!

Lou and Sue, yes, you can definitely see some construction going on; not sure for what exactly, though. Gosh, what was I listening to? It was months ago now. Could have been the “Blank Check” or “My Favorite Murder” podcasts, or music by Ween, or The Cramps… hard to say.

Andrew, I didn’t really notice until you pointed it out, but you’re right, they were consistent with the “Erector Set” style. So mid-century!

K. Martinez, I think Don Ballard would agree with you about the Hotel during the Wrather years. I wish I’d had the chance to stay there back then. I would have been very disappointed if our room didn’t have a park view - or at least a parking lot view, since I always dreamed of being able to gaze out over the park at night.

Stefano, the cleanup was a lot of work, but I wanted to make that photo look good! I wasn’t aware of the memoir, “Coffee, Tea, or Me?”, but it’s funny that of all the places they had to choose from, they mention the “Disneyland Bar” as one of the favorite places.

DrGoat, it really does seem like the 60’s (or perhaps early 70’s) would have been the golden time to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. I’m sure we didn’t stay there because it was expensive, and we lived close enough that we just drove home. Occasionally the idea of visiting the park for more than one day came up, but it never happened.

Jonathan, gosh, I have dozens and dozens of Disneyland Viewmasters, you’d think I would remember if they featured the Disneyland Hotel, but I just can’t recall. It’s been a while since I looked at them. Yes, the thought of taking the Monorail to (and from) the park was beyond cool to my young brain!

Anonymous said...

These are excellent pictures, Major, and definitely improved through your hard work.

Any roof shot is going to be fine with me. I love these "back-of-house" pictures, and a view of HoJo to boot.

We never stayed at the DL Hotel in my youth. It was out of our price range then. I recall one or two trips we got off the monorail and walked around. I think we might have had lunch at the cafe there, but we were always chomping at the bit to get back to the Park.

Now, 50+ years later, I can afford to stay there. It's a nice hotel, with excellent amenities and an eye-watering tariff. I can't call it a good value, except for the proximity to the Park and the extra hour in the AM, which is the draw for us now that the I'm the one taking naps in the PM and not my kids.


Nanook said...

@ Lou and Sue-
Those "new stores" you mention are located inside the new Plaza Building - the construction of which appears to be captured in that image. The Plaza Building "with its distinctive shops, boutiques and offices", opened in November, 1966. To quote from Disneyland Hotel The early Years, 1954-1988 by Donald Ballard...

"This new structure was actually a sunken building, patrons having to descend a short flight of stairs to enter the shops on the first-floor level. A sunken garden landscaped that lower level, and red tile walkways led guests from shop to shop. It was described as having glass walls and graceful grillwork, gleaming in a lush garden setting. It was further described as resembling a necklace on green velvet, containing the beautiful and unusual in a score of smart, avant-garde specialty shops. Here one could buy aromatic tobaccos from Turkey, candles from Mexico, leathers from London, toys from the United States, Germany and Japan, and here one could select from fashions inspired in Paris, Rome, and on Carnaby Street. The Plaza also featured a beauty shop, a travel agency, and a dental facility. The sounds of tinkling fountains and of Muzak added to the calm atmosphere of the new shopping area"

A 'dental facility', huh-? Nothing was left to chance, evidently. It all sounds pretty swell to me.

Nanook said...

@ JG-
...and an eye-watering tariff. Truer words were never spoken; and unlikely to be found in any Disney-authorized hotel brochures... unfortunately-!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Nanook!



In later years Disney used the upper levels of the Plaza Shops for assorted offices including Wedding, conventions and event planning. Many of you may remember the WESCOT / Disneyland Resort expansion “preview center “ was located there and during the design phase of Euro Disneyland the costume & wardrobe team was set up over there away from the regular costume department was located. This was so the Paris project team could focus on that and not interfere with costume projects for Disneyland , Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. A few years after the EDL costume team vacated the building , framed costume sketches for Euro Disneyland were left on the walls oddly while new occupants worked in the space.

TokyoMagic! said...

I remember the Plaza Shops and always liked the design of the building. I also remember the sunken lower level and two of the tenants. Maisy's Pantry was a small cafe where you could eat inside or dine outside on the sunken patio. Next door to that, was Dumbo's Trunk, which was a toy store. There was also a clothing store called, Fantasia. I can't remember if that was on the lower level or the second one.

Mike, I remember visiting the WESTCOT preview center on the third floor of the building, back in the late nineties. Here's a scan of the flyer that they were handing out on the day I visited:

WESTCOT - Preview Center

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I remember a kid at my grade school talking about staying at the Disneyland Hotel, and thinking, “Disneyland is 20 minutes away, why do you get to stay there?”. Never realizing that some people might want to stay there because it was a neat place! My mom and dad would have never done that on his Navy pay. We’d just wait for “Navy Nite” and have a great time! I didn’t even walk around the hotel grounds until the 1990’s. I’m glad you have been able to stay there more recently, at least!

Nanook, thanks for doing the research I was too lazy to do. It all sounds so wonderful!

Nanook, I’ll have to look up how bad the tariff is for the Hotel, I never thought about it.

Lou and Sue, hey, I already thanked him!

Mike Cozart, I do remember WESTCOT, and have a flyer for it somewhere. Have you ever seen photos of the inside of the “preview center”? Did they have models, or was it just drawings? Of course I’d love to have seen it either way. Kind of too bad it never happened, although I don’t know that much about what they specifically wanted to have at WESTCOT. Thanks for that interesting info!

TokyoMagic!, was the sunken level where they put those waterfalls that have since been removed? “Maisy’s Pantry”, “Dumbo’s Trunk”, that whole area is like a mystery to me. Cool that you still have that WESTCOT flyer!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the sunken waterfalls and cave area was behind the Sierra Tower and right in front of the north facing doors of the Bonita Tower. The waterfalls were removed in 2010. The Plaza Shops Building was removed much earlier (late 1990's ?), in preparation for the construction of Downtown Disney.

"Lou and Sue" said...

To any of you true Disney-geeks from the late 1960's to early 1970's: I remember being in one of those hotel shops and being amazed at some teeny tiny very-detailed hand-woven baskets that were on display (under glass) and for sale. That shop had all different sizes of hand-woven baskets with patterns - sort of lined up from the biggest (one foot in diameter?) to the smallest - the smallest being less than one inch in diameter. Does anyone remember those?

I would LOVE to see pictures of souviners that junior gorillas still have from the Disneyland Hotel shops (or, Disneyland, for that matter) from the olden days.

K. Martinez and DrGoat: Most of us on GDB are in the same boat with you. But the Major won't let us forget -- that's his job! ;)

Maybe I missed some recent comments - but I don't think we've heard from Melissa, lately . . . I hope all is well.


Chuck said...

Thanks for doing the clean-up work, Major. Having done that myself a few times, I truly appreciate your efforts.

Sue, I don't remember the baskets, but I have a pretty clear memory of an exterior window display along what I remember as a red tile walkway. It had several different sizes of plush Mickey dolls on display, from a small, stocking-stuffer size to one that seemed as big as a recliner. I remember the price on the big one was $2000.00 in 1976 dollars (which would be $9,566.77 in 2019 dollars).

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I also don't remember the baskets. I do remember a small cart next to the stairway of the Plaza Shops, which sold "crystals" (pendants, charms, key chains). The lady who worked the cart had an accent (maybe European) and she would talk to guests about "THE POWER of the crystals!" This was around 1981. I'm thinking that she might have been an outside vendor or lessee or whatever they called it back then.

I have a couple DL Hotel postcards, and a couple sugar packets from Maisy's Pantry, which have "Disneyland Hotel" printed on them. I also have a ticket for the Hotel parking lot and a parking validation sticker. I've posted all of those on my blog. Unfortunately, I don't have any other items which are specific to the DL Hotel. I wish I had thought to at least get some matchbooks, but unfortunately, I did not! All of the souvenir items that I did buy at the Hotel shops, were souvenirs which could also be purchased inside the park.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck - $2,000 for a stuffed Mickey?!?!?! For the heck of it, I just googled what a Gremlin (car) cost in 1976 and the sticker price was $2,889.00. E-gads!

TM! I'm looking forward to finding those posts on your blog! BTW, are you still planning to post some vintage catalog pages soon? I'm looking forward to it!

Regarding the hotel shops, at one of them I purchased two life-sized porcelain(??) baby squirrels - with money that I had earned from doing extra chores. Such a silly "kid-purchase," but now, when I see anything similar to them in other people's houses, I get sentimental (I didn't keep mine).


TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I don't remember the life-sized animal figurines, but I remember them selling the tiny miniatures. Do you remember those? They also sold them in the Emporium on Main Street. Virginia's Gift Shop at Knott's just started carrying those type of miniature animal figurines about a year ago. I wish DL still sold unique, non-Disney items like that.

In addition to the Hotel souvenirs, I have also posted other various DL souvenirs from my childhood......and I guess from adulthood, too. And yes, I still plan to post some scans from the 1972 Sears Christmas Catalog. That post will be up beginning on the first Friday in December.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! Yes! I remember those tiny miniature bone-china figurines-on-cards at the Emporium (by Hagen Renaker). I had purchased a number of them, as a kid - but had gotten rid of them years ago. When I recently stumbled upon them on ebay, I bought some of the same ones I had in my youth (frog, dog, bunny, turtle, and more). :)


"Lou and Sue" said...

One last comment/question, as I forgot to ask this earlier: On the last picture, we can see what is probably the back of a colorful sign (lower right of picture). Does anyone know what is on the front of those orange/blue/yellow "squares"? Is that for the coffee shop?




I remember that we were NOT allowed to take photos of the WESTCOT preview center. But I think it depended on the cast member’s disposition on that day. There were minimal concepts for WESTCOT CENTER and it mostly focused on the resort area proposals. There were a few concepts of VENTUREPORT ( the Spaceship Earth like structure) there were a few concepts for FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD ( the version of World Showcase) and one of the entry to WESTCOT that faced the Main Street Train Station - it was designed to look like the Ellis Island building : the Gateway to The Four Corners of the World . There was a small massing model showing the basic shapes and themed areas to the expansion .
The exhibit changed slightly a few times. The first visit featured a video of a family planning what the wanted to do for their vacation - one wanted to go Europe , one wanted to go to Japan , one wanted to go to a space center and someone wanted to go to Disneyland etc....so the mom ( I think ) said they would do all those things and go to WESTCOT CENTER.

But Anaheim got the low-brow discount CRAP SANDWICH “ Eisner’s California Crap Trap”.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike C.: HAHAHAHA! re your comment about the "crap trap"! :) At least you are able to make us laugh about it. Did you take notes over the years, or do you just have a wonderful, photographic memory?! Your wealth of knowledge, and Disney experience, is amazing!

(I know I said I wasn't going to post anymore comments tonight - but I just had to do this one.)




No.... I didn’t take notes , but i have a very good memory for visuals and events ( especially if it’s something I was excited about) ....but if I read a paragraph in a physics book I couldn’t tell you much of what I read 20 minutes later....I also do better with pictorial instructions or directions than written ones hence my degree in architectural design.

Chuck said...

TM! & Sue, I had the Hagen Renaker frog and my sister had the dog, both gifts from my grandmother. I believe my sister has them now; the figures "lived" at my grandmother's house, which my sister inherited and now lives in, and she has been really good at keeping the important things that mean something to the family. I need to ask her about them.