Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Disneyland Hotel Instamatics

We're getting down to some of the last Instamatics, given to me by our friend Mr. X. Every once in a while it seems that he finds a few more negatives in a drawer, but there might only be one more post featuring his pix from the 1960s. However - there's other great stuff from him still to come.

All of today's photos are from the Disneyland Hotel. Being negatives, they are undated, so your guess is as good as mine as to when the pictures were taken, but "late 1960s" would be a safe bet. Here's a nice view (taken from the Sierra Tower, I presume) looking down on the swimming pool. I seem to remember brochures mentioning an "Olympic-size" swimming pool, but this one looks small to me. Was there another larger pool elsewhere? Each circular table has an ashtray for your smoking convenience (were they generic, or did they have "Disneyland Hotel" printed on them?). In the distance are the garden apartments. And beautiful high-tension power lines.

Blum's Cafe was an offshoot of "Blum's of San Francisco" ("since 1890") in the heart of Union Square. The original was a popular eatery for folks who were out and about, shopping at Macy's or I. Magnin or Potholder Emporium ("No more burned hands!").   Blum's had a famous "coffee crunch cake" that is still remembered by many, though Blum's seems to have closed all of their bakeries (there were several others) sometime in the '70s. I can find no mention of their Disneyland cafe online!

And here's the wonderful Mark II Monorail Yellow (or gold or saffron or lemon or mustard) sittin' at the station. It has one large eye up front, and another on top of its head to see predators trying to sneak up on it. Look, the seats in the nose are still available, hurry up! 

Thank you, Mr. X!


"Lou and Sue" said...

It’s the mellow yellow monorail, Major!

I love these pictures - thank you Mr. X and Major! These bring back wonderful memories!

TokyoMagic! said...

The Blum's pic isn't opening up, but it looks like it might have been on the semi-sunken level of the Plaza Building. I'm thinking that's the same space where Mazie's Pantry was located, in the eighties.

Great Hotel pics, today! Thanks, Major and Mr. "X"!

Chuck said...

"Olympic-sized" refers to the breed of elk the pool was designed to accommodate. Unfortunately, they were never able to tear themselves away from Nature's Wonderland to come over and enjoy it.

I was thinking the same thing as TM! about Blum's being on the lower level of the Plaza Building. I have a strong childhood memory of walking along that level with my parents and sister in 1976.

And Mark II Monorail Yellow - the newest in the fleet when this was taken! This is what the future looks like!

Thanks, Maj M & Mr X!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, “mellow yellow”, hmmmm. I will have to retire to my chambers to make my decision. You’re welcome!

TokyoMagic!, fixed the Blum’s picture (curse you, Google Photos!) at 4:50 in the morning. I don’t know where Mazie’s Pantry was, and I don’t know where I am.

Chuck, that was mighty neighborly of the Disneyland Hotel to put in a pool just for elk, but I would expect no less. It’s that kind of attention to detail that separated the DH from other hotels. They also had a restaurant that just had french fries on the ground for sparrows and other birds. Since I have no personal context for that mythical “lower level”, I’m not sure I believe it. Next thing you’ll tell me is that the Earth is an oblate spheroid. It’s hard not to love that bitchin’ Monorail!

Stu29573 said...

My appreciation of Olympic pools stims from my wife, who loves to swim laps. I, however, like to bob around in a tropical lagoon waiting for the Professor to invent something to get us off of the island. The discrepancy has lead to us not getting a pool at all (well, that and an ongoing lack of funds) The same holds true with the Monorail. She wants blue, I want red. Whatareyagonna do?
I got nothin' for Blums.

DrGoat said...

Major, I'm guessing early 60s. Thought it might be even earlier like 1959, but I think the Monorail is wrong. Need info from the Monorail connoisseurs around here.
Really nice, sharp photos, and yeah, that Monorail is wonderful.
The name Blum's sound so familiar, but I can't put any specific memory to it. I know my parents went there, but the location escapes me.
Thanks Major and thanks Mr.X, great pics.

Melissa said...

Hooray for InstamatiX! Having a limited supply just makes them more precious.

We’re having a snowstorm today, so I really appreciate the chance to pretend like I’m lying around a sunny Southern California poolside.

K. Martinez said...

It was officially known as the "Mark II Monorail Gold" to those who care to know which I assume is none. There was no Disneyland Hotel station until the Mark II Monorails arrived and Monorail Gold was the new color in addition to Monorail Red and Monorail Blue. The Mark III Monorails had a different window design and had 5 sections instead of the Mark II's 4 sections.

Speaking of which, the Monorail Saffron is my favorite today. But then, the Mark III Monorail Tomato and Monorail Olive are great too. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I'm just wild about Saffron. That Monorail photo is Bubblelicious.
Thanks to Mr. X and Major.

JC Shannon said...

I wanna go swimming in the warm California sun. Great shot of the Monorail, I wanna ride up front. I wanna cinnamon bun (they are to die for) from Blums. Now that we have that settled, I love the Disneyland Hotel shots. It's the only way I will ever get to see it. Many thanks to Mr X and Major. I wonder if people paid extra for rooms with a view of the high tension towers?

Nanook said...

@ JC Shannon-
Perhaps you'd also like to indulge in your favorite slice of a BLUMderful Cake-?

That swimming pool really is Olympic-sized. Undoubtedly, the 'sophisticated optics' of the Instamatic camera has created a 'foreshortened-look'. Also, that would be the wrong angle to be taken from the Sierra Tower. In fact, it's most-likely taken from one of the upper floors of the Plaza Building, don't-cha-know, which is just north of the pool. (That shot is essentially looking south).

I probably walked by that Blum's many times, but can't say I remember it. I do, however, remember [and ate at] the Blum's locations in Beverly Hills - the original on Camden Drive (with re-purposed tree branches adorning the walls above the booths - all appended with individually-wrapped Blum's candies, for the picking); and opening in March 1959, its "new $800,000 restaurant-store..." on the SE corner of Wilshire Blvd. & S. Beverly Drive. I believe both locations featured a 'do-it-yourself sundae cart' traversing the restaurant, so diners could "dress their own sundaes". Such fun. (I wonder if the DL Hotel location had such a feature-? As they said: America's most distinguished confections.

Thanks Mr. X, and the Major.

MRaymond said...

Monorail Yellow, sitting in the front, gives me flashbacks.

Anonymous said...

Major, this post is worth it for the picture of the power lines. Thank you. I would pay more for a room with a view of those, as long as it was the 1960's outside.

The name Blum's is vaguely familiar, but I can't confirm ever eating at one, or ever seeing the DH location.

I do recall that sunken area though, it is still there in some form. One trip not long ago, I stepped into one of the DH buildings to find the washroom and ended up downstairs. The windows on the stairs reached all the way down to the basement level in a sort-of pit design that was popular in the 60's. I remember being amazed that the Mens' was so small and cramped, obviously original to the construction and ADA compliant rooms must have been added elsewhere. The other rooms down there looked to be offices and Back-of-House. Maybe it was a different sunken area.

The Monorail Gold is a bright, cheerful version. I'll gladly ride in the nose cone, or even just admire from a distance.

Here's a thought for a post, Major; side-by-side photos of all the various monorail models through the years.

Many thanks Mr. X.


Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, I like swimming pools in general, and bigger is better. Not crazy about public pools though, I remember going to them when I was a kid and they were always so crowded. A tropical lagoon sounds more my speed, just like you! Can’t your Monorail be blue AND red?

DrGoat, Mr. X’s photos are from various years, I guess I should have said that; they seem to go from the early/mid 1964-ish to perhaps 1969-ish (at least for the Instamatics). The Monorail is definitely the Mark II, so this has to be pre-1968. I agree, “Blum’s” is a familiar-sounding name, I wonder if I actually had any experience with one of their other locations?

Melissa, I appreciate our nice weather, but a snowstorm sounds nice! Crazy, I know, but it’s something different compared to SoCal.

K. Martinez, I really didn’t know if the “Monorail (color)” thing had been used at Disneyland - it always seemed like a Walt Disney World naming convention. But I’m sure you are right; it just sounds more official and “right” to call them “Monorail Red” or “Monorail Blue” (and so on). How about “Monorail Metal-flake Orange”!

Alonzo, I’m sure that Saffron’s wild about you too!

Jonathan, I’ll bet it is chilly where you are. I never rode up front on the Monorail, I was always too impatient, but it sure would have been cool. I wish I’d waited just a little longer. Or maybe the bubble dome would have been even cooler! Now that you mention it, I do wonder if they charged more for rooms on sides that had better views back in those days?

Nanook, Mr. X sent me an email earlier clarifying that he was in the “Hotel retail structure”, wherever that was. “That structure may have had three floors and the lower level.  I can't recall exactly.  You are right about the pool, it does look small in this photo.  But this is the olympic size swimming pool.  Up those steps to the left, and across the walkway, would lead you to the area where El Vaquero steakhouse was.   And by 1970, I think it was, in the corner spot was the magnificent Chef's Kitchen, a buffet, the predecessor to Goofy's Kitchen.  There were no characters there in the '70's, I believe, but it was a really nice room -- casual”. Well well well, I wish I spent time just hanging out in Beverly Hills! It’s more of a “do something, then get out” city for me.

MRaymond, hopefully GOOD flashbacks, and not the kind that leave you weeping in the corner.

JG, I guess I need to work on my appreciation for high-tension power lines! I’m with you, “Blum’s” tickles some synapses, but not enough to help. I do sort of like the concept of a below-ground area for shopping and restaurants. Maybe it would help to keep things cooler on hot days? Plus it would just look neat. I’m all about building down as well as up. The 1964 New York World’s Fair had a display of an underground house, I’d want an above-ground house, with a complete below-ground house underneath it. But I’m not greedy. I like the idea of the side-by-side Monorail comparison, I’ll have to look for some good clear photos. Thanks!

Omnispace said...

Nice that Mr. X found more negatives. All this inspires me to sort our old family photos since in many cases negatives were separated from the rest to make copies of certain photos to send to the grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc..

I agree that the Disneylnd Hotel pool is probably foreshortened by the low camera angle, but I remember the term "Olympic Size Pool" being used very loosely when I was growing up. I think they were mostly around 25 yards long, whereas an actual Olympic long course pool is 50 meters.

I remember going as a kid to Blum's with my mother and one of her friends when they would take me with them shopping in San Francisco. It was right on Union Square on Geary Street, but it had a direct entrance into Macy's which seemed kind of neat. It's fun to know that they had a shop at the Disneyland Hotel.

I never got to ride in the front of the Monorail at Disneyland though we did get to ride it that way in WDW. Being in the bubble up top would be very cool. Just watch out for low-flying birds in the parking lot.

Nanook said...

The "Hotel Retail Structure" is indeed the Plaza Building - that three story structure, one floor of which was below ground level. It opened in 1966.

RerunCentury said...

I found old menu pic referencing Blum's ("Sandwiches/Meals/Fountain")

...also this nice memory:
"Blum’s in the Plaza Building at the Disneyland Hotel complex. Mom and I used to visit Disneyland every summer when we went down to L.A. to visit grandmother Johnston in Beverly Hills. Mom loved to stay in the old "Garden Rooms" section of the Disneyland Hotel (she called them the Lanai rooms). Every day we ate at least one meal at Blum's before or after a monorail trip. And on every trip we watched the "Dancing Waters" at the hotel complex."