Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rare 1956 Disneyland Hotel Brochure

I have a number of older Disneyland Hotel brochures, and I generally don't know much about paper items from the Hotel. I knew that today's example is particularly early, but hoped that some research would help. And it did! Don Ballard, author and expert on all things relating to the Hotel, has his "Original Disneyland Hotel" blog, and he wrote a brief blurb about this brochure: This is the elusive brochure that was the most difficult to obtain for me... this is the first brochure to use actual pictures of the Disneyland Hotel. It's the second 1956 brochure and is very rare. I love the 50's colors and the 50's look of this brochure. It's kind of amazing to think that this cover image might have been the first photograph that many people had seen of the Hotel.

200 luxurious, air-conditioned rooms and suites! "Large screen" (14"?) televisions, private patios or sun decks. Gourmet restaurant and cocktail lounge! And look at those prices, boy-howdy.

The Disneyland Hotel was low (nothing over 2 stories) and sprawling, typical in many ways to nice SoCal hotels in the 'burbs. I love the way it is still surrounded by orange groves! Wouldn't you love to check out the "16 smart shops"? They even offered baby-sitting services. What a place!


Nanook said...

I love this brochure; the common one being the blueish-green version, with [many] of the same images.

As for those television sets: "Large screen" (14"?) televisions..." - not quite that small. It's easy to locate RCA ads plugging the new hotel, with the specific models used there. It's listed as "161 sq. inches". If you do the proper math, the diagonal measurement works out to be 23.5", but RCA is saying 21", so we'll go with that - reasonably large for 1956. (And the model name, I hear you asking... that would be the Enfield, with a "Living Image" picture, [in B&W] naturally-!)

My mother taught me from an early age to always buy at "smart shops". I was right at home at the Disneyland Hotel.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

The cover artwork is sort of a mash-up of the original 1950s "Disneyland" TV show title sequence and "I Love Lucy". (How ironic! ;-)) And they didn't just re-use the front cover artwork for the back cover; the stars are slightly different.

For the "Large screen televisions", I would guess 21". They were a thing even in 1956, but you had to pay through the nose to get one... and give up your first-born male child. Although, looking at the photo in the brochure, the TV looks more like a 16" or maybe 19". [ I see Nanook has gone into detail on this subject.]

I like the design of those restaurant chairs; mid-century modern. They look like they would sort of hug you when you sit in them. very cozy.

I agree with Don Ballard, I like the simple colors of this brochure; very 'fifties'. Thanks, Major.


Very very 50’s! The brochure is the same color combination to several higher end automobiles of the era!

I believe the Disneyland Hotel offered baby sitting services into the late 70’s …. Possibly the early 80’s. At Disneyland Hotel there was The Peter Pan Club … adult guests could drop their children off at a supervised location themed to Peter Pan and the kids would be supervised and get to watch Disney cartoons or films. This was so parents could attend a convection party or enjoy evening activities for a specific amount of time. I don’t think this was free but I can’t find anything regarding prices for this service. Walt Disney World also offered the Peter Pan Club at the Polynesian Village and the Contemporary Resort offered The Mickey Mouse Club on the same level as The Fiesta Fun Center . Both the WDW “clubs” also offered babysitting services and Disney movies. Today I don’t think Disney would want the liability with such a service.

Nanook said...

@ JB-
"...a mash-up of the original 1950s "Disneyland" TV show title sequence and "I Love Lucy"."

Not quite, I'm afraid. The heart used in the opening titles for I Love Lucy was created when the show went into syndication. The original opening titles, for many years, [usually] depicted animated stick figures of Lucy & Desi 'fawning' over, or around a pack - or the like - of Philip Morris cigarettes-! Cough, cough...

JB said...

^ Thanks, Nanook. I did not know that. The 'heart' is the only title sequence I ever saw, in the late '50s.

TokyoMagic! said...

Does anyone know where the dentist's office was at the Disneyland Hotel?

And just where did they park those drivable Avis tanning beds? ;-)

JG said...

Major, you’re right, this is a real prize. What a look back in detail! Beautiful graphics.

Looking at the prices, I can now see why we never stayed here when I was young. Yowza. But I could have had a valet! And a Fashion Show every Thursday, luxury!

I find the multiple telephone numbers interesting, I wonder why so many? Eventually someone would still have to call long-distance.

And the description of all the ways to get there, including six (!) trains a day! And on the Inland Route too.

TM, I’m going to hazard that the doctor and dentist might have been local practitioners on-call with offices close by, while the nurse might be on-site. I know the Park has “some” medical staff on hand but not sure what level of service might be available. Seems like an odd thing to advertise in a brochure, maybe it was an innovation at the time.

Major, thank you for sharing!


K. Martinez said...

Large sand playground adjacent to children's wading pool? I hope the feral cats of Disneyland didn't spot that and use it. That would render it Un-recreational for children. Junior! Stop playing in the litter box!

Nice brochure. Thanks, Major

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t have the blue version in front of me, but I think that at least the cover photo is different (though very similar). I was joking about the 14” screen, even in the photo of that room the TV looks bigger than that. I agree though, 21” for 1956 sounds larger than I would have expected.

JB, maybe that heart motif was fashionable back in those days, and used as a graphic device often? It makes sense for “I Love Lucy”, of course. Those old CRTs, I don’t miss them, even though I have a certain nostalgia for old stuff in general. We didn’t even get a color TV until I was perhaps 10 years old, I had to go to a friend’s house to watch cartoons in color! It blew my mind. This brochure was a fun find, and like any other Disneyland related items, the earlier, the better, as far as I’m concerned!

Mike Cozart, I think you are right about the babysitting service being available at least into the 1970s. I think I just scanned a 1970s Hotel brochure that mentions that among their many other services. I’d feel weird about dropping my kid off like that, but I guess a parent has to do it for even a modicum of freedom!

Nanook, wow, I have never seen those stick figures of Lucy and Desi, at least I don’t think I have. Then again, you know I’m not much of a fan of that show!

JB, me too!

TokyoMagic!, I read your comment about Avis tanning beds and had NO idea what you were talking about. But now I get it! No idea where the dentist was. i think he used to be in Rainbow Ridge.

JG, even allowing for inflation, the prices are incredible. A fashion show every Thursday, that reminds me of when my grandma took me to some department store, we ate at the cafe (I probably got a BLT), and ladies walked around modeling dresses for the customers. It was weird to me! Six trains a day, I didn’t know you could ever take ANY trains to the park (or near it). You might be right about the doctor & dentist. Another digression: a friend of mine has a studio in an office building called “The Victorian”. And there is a dentist there, the business is something like “Victorian Dentist”. It always makes me think that they don’t use novocaine, and maybe knocked you out with ether! Or they didn’t use anything at all.

K. Martinez, ew! I wonder if they had to have somebody check the sand every morning to make sure it was clean? “It’s a living”, ha ha. But nobody wants little Timmy to step in something.

Nanook said...

@ JB-
Yeah - HERE"s one version; and HERE's another version, but with the incorrect syndication-version music (and the 'TV Land' logo added).

And HERE's yet another version - depicting both the opening and closing credits (see the original 'heart') - when General Foods was sponsoring the show.

Bu said...

I do agree that the heart and overall "feel" of the brochure is very "(insert name of TV show never to be mentioned on GDB)" At first glance I thought it was! On second glance I thought it was plugging a "Honeymoon Package" there isn't much rhyme or reason to the heart motif...those colors of pink and the other "green" "blue" "yellow" colors were typical at the time (in their muted tones) as "duotone" printing: meaning the paper had to go through the press twice. At least that is what we called this process in Highschool Yearbook class circa 1978. The cover photo is very interestingly retouched...looks like a lot of sandy soil there in the foreground. The "Coral Club" cabanas look interesting as well, as not of the curtains are open..perhaps everyone was changing into their bathing costumes when this photo was taken. Olympic pools were all the rage, and the "Charter House" on Harbor still has it's Olympic pool. I suppose more room to dive from diving boards and slides and whatnot: none of which flys today. The "Erector Set" buildings are awesome. In the 80's I thought it was all dated and horrible, but over time I have grown to appreciate this moment in time, and it's architectural gems: especially this one designed by Pereira & Luckman who also designed many other important buildings. Note that it states "Disneyland Park": a designation that currently reviles me: but I suppose it has been called that since day 1. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort. OK. Seems like a lot of words. The phone numbers are all a blast to the past: the L'Horizon hotel is still around: and you can rent the Wrathers Home for the night or many nights: for a price. Twin Lakes Lodge: kind of still there: look it up...200 Rooms in breathtaking Orange Groves....and I thought I was the only one that thought Orange Groves were breathtaking! Those Orange groves wouldn't last too long as the large parcel became a golf course: to each his own. Hotel babysitters: also a thing of the past. Basically this was the thing so that the parents could drink and the fabulous Gourmet Restaurant (s). I think it's ironic that it's hard to get as much as a sandwich at the Disneyland Hotel today...or you need to make a reservation months in advance...seems counter intuitive. I'd say go to Coco's across the street, but I think that's gone too. It's also kind of hilarious, in this Disney Centric Reservations Universe...that a reservation is needed for almost everything...which is not the case in "normie" hotels/resorts/etc. And try getting room service...I think in the post Covid world the hospitality business is still trying to catch up. Even in the most luxurious hotels I've stayed in only one had 24 hour room service: and most don't have anything at all...or scan the QR code and order The one hotel that did have room service, I did avail myself to it...and it was so very old school and wonderful...the linens themselves were very soft...really service is such an extravagance, but once in a while: when it's actually just hits the spot. Silence is golden...and dinner in your room can be a zen experience. Bring the luxury and the glam back to the Disneyland Hotel! Some of us still enjoy it and will pay for it. Thanks Major for the very rare brochure and the trip back in time.

Nanook said...

"No idea where the dentist was. I think he used to be in Rainbow Ridge". ZING-! Brilliant.

Nanook said...

But seriously... in both [a pre-opening] and a 1956 brochure, 'Physician and Dentist' were listed as "Available on call".

DBenson said...

Boating, horseback riding, and deep sea fishing just minutes away ... Traffic must have been pretty light in them days.

Stu29573 said...

When I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel in late January/ early Februrary, it sure wasn't this place! Well, I guess it was. In the same place, I mean. The buildings were obviously different. Still, there was a bit of the charm hanging in the air...just because I knew what it used to be (and what it is now is far from shabby too)!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I should be surprised that there are so many versions, but for decades I saw the familiar airbrushed heart!

Bu, it does sort of look like a honeymoon package flyer. “In the heart of America’s favorite playland”… a pretty weak connection, but there it is! The sky does look retouched in the cover photo, perhaps to paint out ugly high tension power lines? I love the name “Coral Club”, like it’s from the 40s - go see Billie Holiday! No such luck at the Disneyland Hotel. I’m sure Olympic pools are seen as taking up too much room, space that could be used for more restaurants or whatever. I did notice the “Disneyland Park” and thought of you, since I know how much that rankles you! Even if it goes way back, I still don’t like it. I do love the old phone numbers, “Call KLondike-3-5228! Or whatever. I still remember my grandma picking up the phone and saying, “Hello, central?”. When she was very old and not thinking so clearly. You can rent the Wrather home? Weird. I assumed that there would be someplace where a guest could go to grab a quick bite, a sandwich or whatever. I guess that’s not the case? Maybe they just assume that you can hit a nearby drive-thru and grab a hamburger if you are that hungry. I’ve never done room service in my life!

Nanook, ha ha!

Nanook, you might be seeing that very pre-opening brochure here in a few months!

DBenson, traffic was probably lighter, but they also might have fudged the numbers a bit.

Stu29573, yeah, the Hotel has undergone massive changes since 1956, I don’t think there is one bit of that 1956 structure that remains. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay there earlier this year!


Major if you don’t like the Victorian Dentist you may like the 1929 Stock Market Crash Surgeon or the Colonial Optometrist & Blacksmith??

JB said...

K. Martinez (or J. Nartubez if Ken isn't available), when you mentioned the sand next to the wading pool I thought you were going to say that the sand would get tracked into the pool. But no, you went with cat poop instead. I APPROVE!! (thumbs up emoji).

Nanook, thanks for the links. First time I've seen those!

"Lou and Sue" said...

My mom is IN that infamous Disneyland Hotel [kitty litter] sand, in this THIS PICTURE!

JB said...

Sue, Oh yeah, I remember that pic! I notice that your mom isn't sitting in the sand... lucky for her!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, ha ha!

JB, sand in the pool wouldn’t be nice, but cat poop - no bueno.

Lou and Sue, I assume we would have heard any good stories about “surprises” in the sand!

JB, yes, she might actually standing on solid ground, she’s playing it safe!

Anonymous said...

Coming in late here, but about those phone numbers. They didn't have "toll-free" calling back then. No 800 number to "dial". In those days, a business...or anyone else for that matter... could order a "foreign exchange service" from Pacific Telephone. A connection would be established from the PBX/Switchboard at Disneyland to a central office at a location outside the local calling area of Anaheim. Thus a "foreign exchange". Let's assume Van Nuys which serves the entire San Fernando Valley. People in the Valley would call the Van Nuys number for free, which would be picked up at the Anaheim PBX. Also, the PBX could call the person back using that connection without incurring a toll charge. This gradually disappeared with the adoption of 800 service. There is very little "FX" still in service today, though the term is widely used for other purposes in the telecom industry. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, young people have no clue how different the world was back then, especially when it came to phones! I wonder where the switchboard operator was? Somewhere on Main Street? Above the Bank of America? Or over The Emporium? Thank you for this fascinating information!

Bu said...

FYI: the PBX is over the Mad Hatter...and still is to this day...apparently. This is where I would (sometimes) record the "off hours" information line. This was electronic recording before it was a normal thing. We had 30 seconds to give hours and had to talk fast and enunciate very very clearly. Dottie was the head PBX operator, and she sounded exactly like you would think she would "Disneyland, this is Dottie." Maybe most of you had her answer your calls (?) The info line was a separate number than PBX. And we answered "Disneyland Information this is ...." or "Thank you for calling Disneyland Information, this is...." and to end with "and Fantasyland is closed"....