Friday, June 25, 2021

Parking Lot and Disneyland Hotel

I would be very happy to have lots more photos of the Disneyland Hotel; and I would also be very happy to have lots of photos taken from the Disneyland Hotel. Prepositions matter, people.

This first view (from August, 1975) was shot from high up in the venerable Sierra Tower, overlooking the vast parking lot. After a careful count, I can tell you that the lot had oodles of cars parked in it.

Looking past the lower buildings that were part of the Hotel complex we can see the Monorail along the edge of the park; it's fun to be able to discern landmarks inside Disneyland, but other than the Matterhorn and the backstage buildings of New Orleans Square and Frontierland, there's not much to see. It's funny though, over by the Howard Johnson's hotel (upper right quarter) we can see what looks like a church steeple, until I realized it is the Rocket Jets! Is that one of the castle spires just to the left of the Matterhorn?

In the distance (to our right) is the Crest Hotel, or maybe it had been renamed the Grand Hotel by this point (it's now the location of the Pumba parking lot). There is a rather huge number of campers/motor homes and buses in the lot! 

Next is a 1950s photo looking at the Disneyland Hotel - I thought it might be from Katella Avenue, but perhaps it was actually from West Street. But then, wouldn't the Monorail track be running parallel to the building? Help! It turns out that this slide is a vintage duplicate, and you can always tell because the colors get murky and the darks go very dark. Still, wouldn't you love to stay in that version of the Hotel?


K. Martinez said...

Great view from the Disneyland Hotel's Sierra Tower. I remember views similar to this when staying at the Disneyland Hotel. I remember once in a while seeing the rocket jets whirling around the central rocket, barely. The Howard Johnsons lodge is visible as well.

Thanks, Major. Love images of the Disneyland Hotel. That last pic is great too.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes, I would love to stay in that version of the Disneyland Hotel....or any version of it, up until the time when Eisner strong-armed the Wrather family into selling it to Disney.

Speaking of "oodles," wasn't that the name of a Dick Tracy villain?

Chuck said...

Major, that last photo has to be from West Street - Katella is about 2,000 feet (609,600 mm, 0.3291577 nm, or 4.07492e-9 au) south of where this building was located. The monorail track would be running parallel to the building...if it had been built yet. The monorail wasn't extended to the hotel until 1961.

Andrew said...

Maybe this picture was a "I can see our car!" scenario, but the zoom was broken...

DrGoat said...

Neat photos Major. I do that last one too. Great facade, so classic.
Andrew, I can see our car! It's the one behind the tree in that second pic.
The only time we stayed in the Disneyland Hotel (with our parents) wasn't until the 80s, on one of our family trips as older people.
The last trip with our folks was in '97 and we stayed in (at) the hotel because Mom knew this would be our last trip all together. We were eating breakfast in hotel restaurant, Goofy's Kitchen maybe. The characters from the Hunchback of Notre Dame came over to the table. Mom had not seen the Disney version, so she asked the Quasimodo character to go away and bring back Donald or Goofy. None of this new stuff for her.
Thanks Major. Unique shots.

DrGoat said...

Mike, I just read your comments on the last post about the trash can and that Disney auction on Ebay. I'm surprised you got away with 50 dollars on that beauty! I ended up with a couple of the framed prints that were hanging in the Hotel and they were more than that. The only other thing I got was the parking lot sign (Pinocchio 11E)and the shipping cost was over 175 dollars. I got flack from everyone for spending that kind of money, that evidently we needed for other, more important things.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Ah, the good old days when parking didn't cost as much as a steak dinner. Now all you can afford to eat is cheese and oodles.

Nice photos. Thanks for posting.

JG said...

I bet Nanook can identify every car in the lot.

I am going to arbitrarily announce that I am in that picture somewhere, since we went to the Park at least twice that year, and August was a quiet time on the farm.

Yes, staying in the DH of that era would have been wonderful, but like Dr. Goat, there were other things to do with that money. (Although, for my part, Dr. G, I'm with you, I can't imagine anything more important than a parking lot sign.) Back in 1975, it was still possible to do most of the Park in a day, and there wasn't much need to stay so close.

We stayed at the hotel in 2015, two adjoining rooms. My wife would not let me see the bill, so that's good I guess. It was a great time, and very convenient to come back mid-day when crowds are at their peak.

We much prefer DH to the Grand Californian, it seems like more families with small kids stay at the GC, and it is more of a zoo than a hotel. Also, the maintenance in the public rooms (restrooms in particular) was not keeping up with the wear and tear. Unusual for the Disney I remember, and definitely not consistent with paying $600/night, IMHO.

The lack of a single indoor public space or lobby makes the DH seem more intimate. Each tower has a nice ground floor elevator lobby, but people don't seem to congregate in them much, except the Fantasy Tower where the check-in desk is located. The GC lobby is impressive, but more like an airport concourse or a train station, full of noisy people all the time.

Neither hotel is a good value, (again, IMHO). More than half the exorbitant room rate is paying for the location and the all-important hour before the common herd gains Park access. Apart from the GC lobby, the amenities are only average for a Hilton-Hyatt-Marriott corporate hotel otherwise.

For Disney rates, you could stay (in a small room) at the St. Regis in NYC on Billionaires' Row, have everything made of marble, and all of Manhattan outside instead of Disneyland.

Thanks Major, I do love these old pics.


Nanook said...

Cars, cars, cars. Thank god the resolution isn't clearer, or I'd be spending the rest of my life trying to ID them all-!

On the other hand, the CU of the DL Hotel is just the ticket... I can't quite make out that black car on the left, but it's most-likely an early 1950's Cadillac. Next to it is a 1956 (possibly a '55) Pontiac. Facing us is a 1956 Ford station wagon. Then a 1950 two-tone Chevrolet. Just inside the driveway is 1955 two tone Pontiac. Then a 1955 Plymouth taxi cab. And finally, a 1957 Cadillac, hubba hubba.

Chuck already set you straight on the lack of a Monorail beamway...

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, while I have never personally experienced that view from the Disneyland Hotel, I sure can appreciate it in photos. How great it must have been, particularly for a kid, to be able to look into the distance and see things such as the Monorail zooming below, or the fireworks at night. Wow!

TokyoMagic!, while I can’t say for sure, I kind of get the impression that the Wrather family was not quite as resistant to selling once Jack and Bonita had passed. Not sure about a Dick Tracy villain named “Oodles”, but Duck Twacy had a villain named Neon Noodle.

Chuck, OH YEAH! Man, do I feel like a dope. Of COURSE the Monorail wasn’t there yet. D’oh.

Andrew, people have done crazier things. Like I used to try to take photos at night, thinking that my flash would illuminate something hundreds of feet away. Yup.

DrGoat, your mention of your trip in which your mom “knew this would be our last trip all together” makes me think of my own mom. My sister took her to a beach in San Luis Obispo, and rolled up my mom’s pants and held on to her arm so that she could get her feet wet in the ocean. “I never thought I would do this again!” my mom said. It was a nice moment for us and for her. It’s little things like that that make surprisingly big memories. Ha ha, I would have asked Quasimodo to go away too! I’ve still never seen that movie - the walkin’ talkin’ gargoyles in the ads made me stay away.

DrGoat, I guess I need to go back and read more comments from yesterday! Hey, that Pinocchio sign is a pretty great souvenir, you sent me a photo of it.

Alonzo, you had me at cheese. And it’s true, if parking is still around $25, you really can get a decent steak dinner for less! Makes ya think.

JG, strangely, August was hot, but I don’t remember it being particularly crowded back in the day. By then people were already mentally in “back to school” mode I guess. I’ve mentioned many times that I never got to stay at the Disneyland Hotel, as much as I wanted to. For one thing, spending the night probably meant two days in a row at the park, something we NEVER did. It’s nice that your wife didn’t let you see the bill! Who needs to know?? My friend Mr. X prefers the Grand Californian, and he has even convinced his grandkids that they need to stay there. Nothing like two hotel rooms at $600 a night. Bummer that they don’t keep the public areas up to their high standards. Now that you mention it, it IS kind of surprising that there isn’t some sort of grand atrium or other big public space at the old Disneyland Hotel - I guess that’s why they put so many restaurants and other stuff around the pool area, or near the Monorail Station. Mr. X also likes to stay in very nice hotels in NYC, and I always joke about how those famous luxury hotels cost as much as a Disney hotel!

Nanook, hmmm, which to choose, the Cadillac (very nice), or the station wagon (a sentimental favorite)? What can I say, they’re all great. And all stamped from 1/4” steel, I’ll bet! ;-) Gas mileage? Who cares!

Nanook said...


And all stamped from ¼” steel, I’ll bet! ;-) Oh lordy - I hope not-! Talk about '0' 'get-up-and-go' and even poorer gas mileage...

Melissa said...

Hunchback was a good film, but it just did not lend itself to the usual Disney merchandising/exploitation model.

I love these aerial views; they’re especially nice for someone like me who hasn’t spent much time there, so I can get a better idea of where everything is/was. I remember our bus dropping us off in the HoJo’s parking lot, and we walked the short distance to the gate. It was right there!

Grant said...

Thinking about the Monorail being extended to the Hotel. Does anyone remember the Monorail Bar? It was the easy way to get an adult beverage when visiting Disneyland. Take the Monorail to the Hotel. Get off at the Hotel station. Have your hand stamped for reentry. The bar was right next to the station, you didn't even have to walk downstairs. Pop in for a drink, then get back on the Monorail and back to the Park.

I visited it several times in the 70s. It was always full of what looked like dads who left the family in a ride line and scooted over for a quick snort. :D

Bu said...

I would also love to stay in the "Erector Set" version of the Disneyland Hotel! I was such a snob about those original Garden Rooms back in the 80's- soooo not as glamorous as the towers! Now, I would kill to go back in time! Those garden rooms had a lovely little private garden terrace. We did a "Hospitality Room" for some event and we were in one of those rooms that was converted into a kind of temporary VIP lounge- forget which event, but I remember the sweet little garden outside. I spent a lot of time at the hotel in my employee days- shopping, eating, and drinking! The shops were owned by Disneyland and we got our employee discount there- the "company" was called "UNOCO" or United National Operating Company. This was basically 1980's Downtown Disney...but in an office park environment...more Erector Sets! Unoco came from Dick Nunis and (I think) Jack Lindquist sitting at LAX trying to dream up a name for this company- apparently, it could not have a Disney affiliation in it's name due to some licensing thing with Wrather...anyway...they were in a waiting area between United Airlines and National Airlines...and there ya go...United National Operating Company. It sounds like a mythical story, but I saw it come out of Dick Nunis's mouth- so maybe he was supplying the myth factory 40+ years ago (?) I do miss seeing the parking lot. They ruin everything! :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, OK OK, maybe 1/8” steel?

Melissa, I have heard others praising “Hunchback” but (as I said before) those gargoyle sidekicks really turned me off. Maybe Quasimodo doesn’t need wisecracking sidekicks? Strange that your bus dropped you off in HoJo’s parking lot - why didn’t they take you all the way into the park?

Grant, I have seen pictures of the Monorail Bar and heard about it, but I never went there. It sounds like it was very popular with adults who wanted to take a break from all the magic, dreams, and wishes!

Bu, the old Disneyland Hotel had a real mid-century charm to it. Funny that it was advertised as “the most exciting hotel in the world”! Now that’s some serious hype! I would have wanted to stay in the Sierra Tower, but just like you, if I could go back, I’d be thrilled to stay in one of those original Garden Rooms. “UNOCO”, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read about that before, interesting! Whenever a Disney executive tells a story (like the one about UNICO), I would take it with a grain of salt, if not a spoonful!.

Melissa said...

I have no idea why they dropped us off where they did. I was so excited to be there I didn't think to ask!



No I said in the past Disney has sold park waste cans thru property control sales to Disney employees......and the last time I saw them for sale was in the late 90’s ir early 2000’s at WDW and they were 50.00 each .(also don’t think they were in sparking museum condition - they were scraped , dented and worn ) I never bought a Disney trash cans from Disney property control in Florida.

My Matterhorn trash can I purchased from Disney in EBAY when Disney had DISNEY AUCTION-ears hosted by EBAY . I bought my trash can from there ...... and it was WAY MORE than 50.00 but not obscene . I purchased my PeopleMover and Rocket Jet also from Disney thru their EBAY auction site in the 2003 period.

Incidentally what I paid for my PeopleMover and Rocket Jet then would buy you a Disney trashcan today.

DrGoat said...

Congratulations on those buys Mike. I knew you had a PeopleMover but didn't know you grabbed a Rocket Jet too!

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, ha ha, I understand that!

Mike Cozart, I managed to buy one single item from Disney when they were selling directly on eBay - a Mickey Mouse Club Circus program (the big glossy magazine-style thing), it was about as new-mint as can be. And the bonus is that it had a MMCC flyer tucked inside, also mint! It wasn’t mentioned in the description, so I still don’t know if they knew it was there but neglected to mention it, or if I somehow lucked out. So cool that you got your Disneyland Matterhorn trash can, what a great item!

DrGoat, just imagine what else Mike has that we haven’t heard about!


Yeah when Disney was selling directly on EBAY you could tell Disney had no idea what the hell they were doing. Sometimes it worked in the bidders favor. Disney would have a rare Disneyland sign — an example the 1970’s version of the Snow White attraction tent entry marquee shield ... in great condition ... it would have a odd auction title like “ Disneyland Snow White metal panel “ opening bid 200.00. Then there would be a Mickey Mouse poster from 1978 given out that summer to Disneyland guests by the millions and it would be listed like “ VERY RARE MICKEY MOUSE 50TH POSTER FROM DISNEYLAND “ opening bid $1,000.00

Besides things being described completely inaccurately , there was other fishy behavior. For example I won a 1/100 scale WDI model of the Mark Twain used for some Tom Sawyer Island change proposals in the early 90’s . It was made of paper , plastic , cardboard and metal ....and it was in need of repair. I won the auction for like 135.00 . The. I got a noticed and said there was a mistake so the auction was being canceled. Then it came up again and I won it a second time .... AND again the auction was canceled for the sane reason ... there was a mistake in the auction. AGAIN it came up for auction and for a third time and 4 weeks later I WON the auction AGAIN! ........ and AGAIN ... my payment was refunded and the auction canceled saying there was a mistake in the listing.

I think the mistake was that Disney wasn’t getting the amount of money they were expecting - very very SHIESTY of Disney . Eventually I saw it come up again for a fourth time....... the description and images were the same as the previous 3 auctions ....but I cannot recall if I bid again but it went for about 800.00 and I don’t think I saw it re-list again .

"Lou and Sue" said...

Nanook, what does "CU" mean?

DrGoat and Major, I love your mom stories!

DrGoat, your money was well-spent. Don't listen to "everyone"!

Love today's pictures, thank you, Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

The GC lobby is impressive, but more like an airport concourse or a train station, full of noisy people all the time.

JG, you have nooooo idea!
Around 2007, at one of our Disneyland family reunions, about 10 of us were relaxing around that BIG beautiful lobby fireplace at the GC, exhausted after a loooong day at the Park, but still wanting to spend more time together. Since it was probably close to midnight, very few people (if any) were around, thankfully, as one of my 40-something-year-old relations chose that moment to confront and blame his mother for all his childhood frustrations and problems. Strong words - including MANY F-bombs - started flying LOUDLY for several minutes. Surprisingly, NO ONE came over to our happy little Disney employees either, strangely. I sat there in total disbelief, and all that kept going through my mind was, "This is the Happiest Place on Earth."

In case you're wondering, that relation has never been invited back to another family reunion.

JG said...

Sue, I’m sorry that happened to you. For some reason, family reunions don’t always turn out well. Maybe there’s a reason people move way from each other. I know there was in my case.

Disney lodgings, and the Park area lodgings in general, seem to generate as many bad vibes as good ones. The prices, crowds, and hype all create a pressure cooker atmosphere that can overpower the best intentions. I think I’ve seen meltdowns like you describe once or twice every trip since the 90’s.

I may sound snobbish, but I like quiet places, and even Manhattan can seem relaxing compared to Disneyland.

I think CU in Nanook’s post means Close Up, he’s referring to a zoomed closeup shot.


"Lou and Sue" said...

I prefer quiet places, too. (Did you ever stay at the Disney Inn in WDW? Peaceful resort, back in the day.)
I can now look back at that crazy GC situation and was so unexpected and surreal (especially being in Disneyland). But you are right...crowds, high prices, plus exhaustion and hot weather REALLY can create fun times. That one episode was the only bad experience I had with the family; all the other times were tons of fun.

Thanks for the CU explanation!

Chuck said...

My wife and I honeymooned at WDW 28 years ago. As we got off the plane in Orlando and headed for Baggage Claim, still a little dazed from the rush of the day before and totally stoked that a) we were married and b) we were headed to WDW, we encountered a young couple about our age heading the opposite direction who, based on the souvenirs they were carrying, had obviously just finished a Disney honeymoon. We were both taken aback by the obvious signs that they had had a miserable time on their trip to the Vacation Kingdom of the World. The scowls, the body language, their whole attitude told us that their honeymoon was definitely over. We've always felt badly for that couple, especially since our experience (both Disney and married) has been so different.

DBenson said...

One Disneyland relic I would love to have, even in reproduction, is the old Kodak Picture Spot sign, with the metal silhouette of a photographer perched on top. Something to fit in the patio. If I were obscenely rich, I would set up a video vault behind the Mickey Mouse Treasure Mine facade from the old Mickey Mouse Club. With sound-activated Mousekadial. Meanwhile, content with a pin of the shield from Fantasyland's long-gone Mickey Mouse Theater.