Thursday, January 09, 2020

Disneyland Hotel Construction, September 1977

Yessiree, it's time for more photos from Lou Perry, with thanks to his daughter Sue. B who has graciously shared so many pictures with us. Today we have three from 1977, featuring the Disneyland Hotel. 

First up is this view of the Marina Tower - there is a lovely marina on the other side, complete with boats that guests could take out on the water. There was also a sandy beach and a "tidal pool" for wading. It's now called the Fantasy Tower (*snore*). 

A whole new tower was under construction; it would open on July 1st. 1978 and would be named the "Bonita" tower (after Jack Wrather's wife). It is 13 stories tall, the tallest building in Anaheim at the time. It's now known as the Frontier Tower.

And finally, there's the Sierra Tower to our right, the first "tower" building, added in 1962 (and expanded in 1966). Doing a little research, I was not aware that it was renamed the "Dreams Tower" in 1977; now it is the "Adventure Tower".

THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!


Nanook said...

It's the 'Three Towers'. (Is that anything like the 'Three Tenors-?) Seems logical.

Thanks to Lou and Sue.

TokyoMagic! said...

I miss the old Disneyland Hotel buildings and layout! I think that last photo was taken from the old Plaza Shops Building. That was the building with the "sunken" first floor which we were talking about, a few weeks back.

Major, I think the Sierra Tower became the Dreams Tower, later than 1977. Maybe around 2007. I don't think they should have changed the names of the least not the Bonita Tower. Poor Bonita Granville!

I love these photos! Thank you Lou, Sue and the Major, too!

Chuck said...

The Bonita Tower was the first hotel building in the US with a solar heating system. The second photo shows how that worked with the original, open-plan layout of the rooms. You can see how the air conditioning was much less effective with this layout.

I think TM! is correct with the 2007 renaming date. I'm positive it was still called the Sierra Tower when I stayed in the Marina Tower in 1995.

Thanks again, Lou & Sue!

JC Shannon said...

I never got to stay at the hotel, but among my favorite brochures, is one of the Disneyland Hotel and grounds. Really cool views of the golf course and pool. After seeing all that, I wish I could have stayed at least once. Of course, if Major stayed he'd be a VIP. I can hear it now. "Front! Take the Major's bags to the Pepperidge Suite. He will need his usual private Monorail car as well." Thanks to Lou and Sue and Major.

K. Martinez said...

I loved the original Tower names of "Marina", "Sierra" and "Bonita".

As for the new towers I never understood renaming them and not having another tower built for "Tomorrowland". I mean, you have "Adventure", "Frontier" and "Fantasy" but no "Tomorrow" Tower?

Always loved The Disneyland Hotel when it was owned by the Wrather Corporation. Thanks, Lou and Sue and Major.

zach said...

Bus siting! I can hardly wait for more info!

I was fortunate to stay in the Towers a couple of times in the 80's. I remember remote operated Jungle Cruise boats, the dancing waters and koi fish ponds and caverns up against the south tower. It was all very Disney.

Thanks for the memories Lou, Sue and Major P.

(Psst! Party in the Major's suite!)


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it is exactly like the “Three Tenors”, only with less perspiration.

TokyoMagic!, I never experienced the classic Disneyland Hotel (not even walking around the grounds), but it sure sounds like a nice place to be. Double checking the “Dreams” thing, Wikipedia says that you are right, it was in 2007. I don’t know if I just made a typo, or used a different source that had the wrong info!

Chuck, So the Bonita Tower had solar heating from the beginning? That’s pretty cool, when you think about it, 1977 was right around the time of the energy crisis, so it makes sense that they were trying to think of ways around using fossil fuels. And see my comment to TokyoMagic! about the “Dreams” name. I almost wonder if I didn’t type “1977” by accident, since these photos are from that year?

Jonathan, I wonder if I have the Disneyland Hotel brochure that you mentioned? There are a bunch of them, so perhaps not. Like you, I really wish I’d had the chance to stay at the Hotel. It would have been amazing to have a fun day in the park, and then take the Monorail back, to relax, or eat, or have a swim.

K. Martinez, I wonder if they didn’t use the “Tomorrow” moniker because, just like in the parks, it would be hard to maintain a credible “future” theme? Just a guess. It does sound like the Wrathers really did some wonderful things with the Hotel back in the day.

dzacher, ha ha, I sure didn’t notice the bus. Maybe Chuck can tell us all about it! “Lincoln Bus Lines”, I didn’t know the 16th President could drive a bus. Truly, he was one of the greats. I remember the remote-control Jungle Cruise boats, and have seen some come up for auction on occasion. It would be neat to put one in a swimming pool and drive it around!

Anonymous said...

I love construction photos. Thanks Lou and Sue.

We visited the Disneyland Hotel once or twice as a kid, disembarking from the monorail to walk around. We couldn't afford to stay there. Seems like I should remember this tower construction, but I don't. I mostly remember the shops and restaurant buildings near the station.

Went over again with my friends in high school, I remember the marina, but not the JC boats. The Park was more fun, so we didn't stay long.

We stayed in the Frontier Tower a couple of years ago. Turns out I prefer DLH to the Grand Californian, fewer screaming kids so the tower base lobbies are nice and quiet. The grounds are beautiful lush gardens, quiet walkways away from the main concourse, and Trader Sam's is a great addition. It's like a quality corporate travel hotel, except stupid expensive.

I love the idea of partying in the Major's suite, and then riding over to the Park in his private monorail car, Bananaphone One. Mint Juleps for all my friends!


"Lou and Sue" said...

My dad does have pictures of remote control boats at Disneyland [Hotel], but I don't think his pictures are of little Jungle Cruise boats, so maybe they also had other styles of boats(??). When I come across them, again, I'll send scans to our Major to post. (Were there remote control boats in other places in Disneyland?)

Thanks for all the hotel information - there sure were a lot of changes over the years. I'm like TokyoMagic! - I miss the hotel complex of the 60's and early 70's. There was a lot to do, but everything was spread out with lush greenery and koi ponds everywhere . . . nice shops, too, way back then.

I was last at Disneyland about 3 years ago. Did they start building that new hotel complex that's going between these older Disneyland hotels and the Grand Californian? Just curious.


"Lou and Sue" said...

JG, I just read your comments. "Stupid Expensive" describes the hotel prices perfectly!

Save me a seat on Major's Monorail car - count me in!!


Anonymous said...

Hello Sue, at last count, Disney seems to have backed off on the design for the new hotel that was proposed to span the west end of Downtown Disney (fitting between that development and the present DLH and a clumsy design IMHO). This design seemed to be intended to push back on the City of Anaheim proposing some other planning restriction that Disney didn't like. When the City caved, the scheme was shelved because Disney wanted another design anyway.

Plans have also been floated for a more conventional high-rise tower-type hotel on the parking lot between DLH and the parking garages. This one would be just across the street from Galaxy's Edge and Frontierland and would have bomb views of the fireworks from the proposed rooftop bar. I believe this is the one preferred by Disney that the City initially opposed.

I don't think any construction has started anywhere yet.

Big new luxury hotels by Marriott, a JW and a Westin are under construction or nearing completion along Katella Blvd. The Westin should be well underway and the JW may be open already. These expensive sites will take a lot of slack out of the luxury room market unless Wookie World starts being a big draw.

We checked DLH room rates this week, over $500/night. Grand Californian rooms run over $600 and the Paradise Pier is in the $400's, so between double and triple the rates for a room with similar amenities from Marriott or Hilton.

I want a window seat in the Major's monorail car, facing forward.


Andrew said...

Later than I usually am today, but I can still enjoy the post!

I agree that while the new look of the hotel looks wonderful, there is a certain appeal to everything the hotel used to have. There were many things that look like they were very unique for a hotel at the time - the fountain show, the marina, the horseshoe waterfall, and the myriad of golf courses, for instance.

Fun comments from everyone! I seriously doubt that I will ever stay here...



There were indeed remote control boats at the Disneyland Hotel decades before the remote control Jungle Cruise boats. Towards the main lobby tower in the marina was a pool with a giant model of the QUEEN MARY ocean liner and an actual propeller from the ship. Guests could pilot remote control little harbor patrol boats around the Queen Mary and several little islands . Each boat had a functioning water canon and guests could shoot the water canon to activate sounds and animation on the Queen Mary and islands ( active the Horn on the Queen Mary, activate a lighthouse , put out a dock fire ....etc).
The Queen Mary was featured at the Disneyland Hotel as the ocean liner in Long Beach was owned by the Wrather Corp. - the owners of The Disneyland Hotel.
When the Wrather’s put the DL HOTEL of for sale, Disney desperately wanted it - but there was a stipulation: The Disneyland Hotel and The Queen Mary in Long Beach was a pack deal PERIOD! Disney paid dearly and even operated the Queen Mary at great loss for several years in the 1990’s.
During this time Disney announced a giant theme park resort plan called The Long Beach Project. The resort included a park called DISNEY SEAS and tied in The Queen Mary and even a Disney Monorail system. The project was massive and Disney had no real intentions of actually building such a project but rather used the plans to build excitement in raising the value of the Queen Mary and hopefully sell off the ship property at a big profit!!!


I’ve stayed at the Disneyland Hotel a handful of times - my first time was in 1973 with my grandparents . I was 5. I have little memory of the hotel except that it was totally pouring rain the day we checked in. The next morning - the day we were going into Disneyland - it was still raining and my grandpa said we were not going into the park if the rain remained so heavy. I kept running to the windows to see if the Monorail was working because if it was it meant Disneyland was open and people were going in. After having breakfast and exiting the coffee shop , Monorail Yellow came roaring past us approaching the Hotel Station: I freaked out and excitedly jumped and yelled “Disneyland is open!! Disneyland is open!!” .... and then threw up all over the walkway and planter!
After being cleaned up and calmed down we went into Disneyland.

Chuck said...

It's a bus from the '60s. Who cares?

Oh, you all do? Sorry...

We are looking at a Motor Coach Industries (MCI) MC-5 Challenger intercity bus. It's most likely an ex-Greyhound MC-5A, built between 1964 and 1970. Greyhound owned MCI from 1958 to 1986.

Lincoln Bus Lines is still in business today, providing nationwide bus charter service from their headquarters in Hanover, PA.

I found a couple of photos of Lincoln Bus Lines MC-5As on the Interwebs.

Taken 4/18/72, location unknown. Note the destination.

Taken 5/20/78, location unknown. I choose to believe they are headed to Holland, Michigan.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JG, thanks for the updated hotel info. The plans did look like a dis-jointed hotel style. BTW, those room rates you mentioned probably don't include the additional huge taxes (something like 17%, if I remember correctly), plus another $25(??) a day for parking if you have a car. I've seen the cheaper rooms (back, parking lot views) at the Grand Californian listed for $1,000/night during the busy season. Outrageous. (Hey Major, if you want to make some extra cash, you should open up a B&B!)

Mike C., thanks for the remote-control boat, hotel & Queen Mary information. Maybe those are the boats in my dad's pictures . . . I'll look for them. You poor thing - regarding your "throw up" experience. I hope you have some wonderful memories from later that day, in the Park!

Thanks, Major and everyone, for all of your fun comments and information!