Thursday, August 20, 2020

Disneyland Hotel Instamatics

Here are some more photos, scanned from Instamatic negatives given to me by Mr. X. All of these are Disneyland Hotel related.

First up is this interesting shot, presumably taken from the balcony of a room high up in the Sierra Tower. We're looking down on some construction, though I couldn't tell you what that structure is exactly. I think there used to be a smaller pool in that location, but don't bet any money on that!

It's hard to see through the smog, but you can see the open tunnel that ran through the berm, part of the construction for the Haunted Mansion. So perhaps this photo is from 1964 or 1965-ish?

This negative was really beat up, here's an animated gif showing the "before" and "after". It took some doing to fix all those scratches and other issues!

This next one might have been taken sometime around 1969, during the construction of the Marina Tower (which opened in 1970)and the large "lake" that was a prominent feature. Guests could eventually enjoy a little exercise in paddle boats... that would be pretty fun!

And finally, here's a nice shot of the Sierra Tower, date unknown.


Nanook said...

Some pretty nice construction shots, here. And the before & after shot reveals quite the change. That happens to be the Shopping Plaza Building which was the beneficiary of your Photoshop handiwork. It's been a topic of conversation in these pages before.

Thanks to you and Mr. X.

TokyoMagic! said...

Love these hotel shots. The building under construction is the Plaza Building, as Nanook mentioned. It's the one that had the sunken first floor (which doesn't look "sunken" yet in the construction photo). Dumbo's Trunk and Fantasia were a couple of the shops located in that building, in the seventies and eighties. Mazie's Pantry was a cafe which was on the lower level, around that same time period. I believe the top floor was always offices and in the nineties, one of them housed information and displays about Westcot, for the public to view.

Here's a post about that building, with more pics, from Don Ballard's blog:

"Lou and Sue" said...

Nanook and TM!, you beat me to it. I remember that shopping plaza well! Because we'd stay at Disneyland for a few days, we spent a lot of time shopping there and enjoying the hotel grounds. I love these pictures!

Major, I love the way you did the "before and after." It looks like you really had your work cut out for you, to fix all those scratches -- sort-of like putting together a thousand-piece puzzle, huh?! Thank you for taking so much time to give us beautiful pictures!!

Thank you Mr. X and Major!


The Plaza Building was also used for many Disney offices. The DL Hotel’s marketing department was located there as well as Disney Weddings and Events group. It also housed a Disneyland Resort Preview Center for a time and when Disneyland Paris was under development the Costume - Wardrobe department was located there just for the Paris costume design team. A Disneyland Hotel baby sitting Service was located there during the 70’s and 80’s.

I grew to like that building and took dozens of pictures of it as it was being demolished.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the Plaza Building… I feel like I should know more about the Disneyland Hotel by now, but for some reason, the history of the place doesn’t “stick” the way it does for the park. Thanks for the info!

TokyoMagic!, I always like a sunken floor. Really! It seems like back in those days, there was often a big construction project going on at the Hotel - which might have made a stay there a little less magical. Nothing like the sound of jackhammers in the morning! I would have enjoyed seeing the displays for Westcot, a weird, almost-forgotten piece of Disney history.Thanks for the link to Don Ballard’s blog. That first photo is one of mine!

Lou and Sue, some of those Instamatic negatives really are a mess; from what I can tell, they just sat in a drawer getting dusty and scratched for 40 years or so. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth all the time it takes to fix them up!

Mike Cozart, wow that building had many uses - I guess they really needed all that space. Interesting that they had the Disneyland Paris costume department there, I guess eventually that was moved to somewhere near the park in Europe? Was the baby sitting service for guests? Or employees? Such a shame that the place was demolished.


The babysitting service was for registered hotel guests. They showed Disney movies and had toys and games for the kids. I’m not sure if there was a age range - few people in the 70’s and 80’s traveled with babies so I’m sure that wasn’t a issue. The service wasn’t free but it let adults hit the many lounges and bars like The Crown snd Pillow, The Monorail Bar , The Top of the Park as well as others that came and went.

Tom said...

There was indeed a pool, just to the right of the semi-circular wall. That shopping plaza (which you fixed up so handily) is right about where the ESPN Zone building is now.

JC Shannon said...

I love old pics of the Disneyland Hotel and grounds. One of my regrets is I never explored it in person. Now it's gone. Sniff, sniff. Keep 'em coming Major, I love these.

JG said...

It's fun to read others memories of this building, and I always love construction photos. I don't have any specific memories of this one, though I must have walked by it and even gone inside many times.

We would sometimes get off the monorail here and wander around for a bit, both on the student trips and with mom and dad.

I remember on one of our recent trips, 2017?, we stayed in the DLH, my wife organized the trip and she would not tell me how much it cost.

The last photo is really what I remember. The tropical landscaping has grown up heavily, the grounds really are a jungle now, and an appropriate setting for Trader Sam's. The key to getting a seat there is to come slightly off-peak, either earlier or just past the dinner hour when the crowd drops off markedly.

Thanks Major and Mr. X, I can only imagine the time you spent restoring these pics.


Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, that makes sense. Nice that folks could leave their kids in a safe place if they needed to! Your mention of an age range makes me imagine a couple leaving their bratty 14 year-old behind, ha ha. It’s funny to think of the various lounges and bars at the Disneyland Hotel, I’m sure folks wouldn’t have been happy to stay in a “dry” resort.

Tom, thank you! You sure know a lot about the Hotel!

Jonathan, I’m right there with ya… I missed out for sure.

JG, yes, based on the photos that folks have linked to, the shops in the Plaza Building are pretty famous; I could imagine it being a fun place to have a leisurely stroll and spend some money. You never learned how much your wife’s trip cost? Uh oh! That means it was expensive! Oh well, she didn’t “break the bank” so to speak, and you’re still here to tell the tale. I love a nice tropical pool scene, it will go perfectly with my over-the-top tiki bar!

Omnispace said...

Thanks for sharing these pics and doing such a great job with the scratch removal. The first photo has so many wonderful things to look at: The great wooded berm of the park, the strangely huge opening for the future Haunted Mansion, a nice sweeping turn of the monorail beam, and the cool Disneyland Hotel Golf sign.

It's when you see photos like the construction of the marina, (and some of the very early photos of the hotel, that you realize this was once a flat, expansive, and fairly featureless area other than for some eucalyptus wind breaks.

That's a very nice photo of the Sierra Tower in all it's Mid Century Modern glory. Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty Castle is not the only Disney property that has been slathered with gaudy, oversaturated colors.

DrGoat said...

Nice job on some interesting pics Major. Construction photo fan too.
Stayed at the hotel three times in my life. Parents paid for my wife and I to stay there for a few days on one of our 1980s trips. Second trip was April 1995 for our big 5 day trip. Stayed in the Adventureland tower and ate in Goofy's Kitchen, the first and last time eating there. Last trip was a 2 day stay in 2002 with a good friend who really wanted to see Dread Zeppelin at the Hard Rock Cafe. I semi reluctantly went with him. Didn't go to the park but it was an interesting trip nonetheless.
Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, thanks for the kudos! I really do love that first photo, with so much going on! I would be happy if I had many more photos taken from Sierra Tower. I’m glad you pointed out the Disneyland Hotel Golf sign, because I meant to, but forgot! I wonder how they filled the Marina’s pool… did they dig a well into Anaheim’s aquifer or did they just turn a spigot and wait days/weeks? The new BLUE Sierra Tower (which I think is now called the Adventure Tower) is really REALLY blue! As I’ve said before, the Disney mantra seems to be “There’s no such thing as too much color”.

DrGoat, wow, very nice that your folks paid for your and your wife’s stay in the 1980s! Even then that was probably not cheap (unless you compare it to today, then it was probably a bargain). A 5 day trip sounds decadent. There’s nothing you had to pass up! And 1995 was still a good time to go (before the insane crowds every day). Dread Zeppelin, ha ha; I recently saw a band called “Mac Sabbath” - the singer dresses like Ronald McDonald and sings Black Sabbath songs with a food theme (re: “Gravy Train”).

DrGoat said...

Major, yeah, the 5 day trip was a bit overboard, but I'm glad we did it. As you said, the park was still enjoyable, and the Magic Morning was something I will never forget. Got to be first in line at the recently opened Indiana Jones ride. I really was in seventh heaven. Ate at the Bengal BBQ every day. Can't get enough asparagus wrapped in bacon. My wife didn't do the last day with me as she had had enough.
Mac Sabbath...hilarious!

JG said...

@DrGoat, my wife is the same way, this is why she has insisted on Disney hotels now that we can afford them.

She goes back to the room mid-PM and relaxes by the pool while the kids and I whoop it up in the Park.

So glad you got to do that trip, we visited right around the opening of IJ, and it was very nice.


DrGoat said...

JG, sounds like you all had a fun time. Thinking back I could have used a little of that R&R, but hey, Disneyland's right over there!
I don't drink, but my wife does occasionally, ergo she found a concoction made with Canton, a ginger liqueur, at Trader Sam's, so she spent the day by the pool, reading, with an occasional libation.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, it’s hard to imagine being tired of going to the park! But I have to admit, maybe after four days in a row I’d be ready for a change. Bacon-wrapped asparagus, oh man! Maybe I need to try to make that. Let’s wrap everything in bacon!

JG, I have heard more than a few stories about wives who opt to take a midday break at the pool, it must be a girl thing. Those girls sound pretty smart, come to think of it.

DrGoat, I might have been the same way - sure, I’ve done everything I wanted to do at Disneyland - two or three times! But how can I resist its pull? I’m only human!

Melissa said...

When I first glanced at the top thumbnail, I thought it was an aerial shot of the MarkTwain!