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  1. #1

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    The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    Being interested in the subject, I decided to do a pictorial analysis of the Age of Grand Hotels in the context of Disney’s resorts (both DLR & Worldwide).

    Quick history: During late 19th & early 20th centuries (1880s-1930s) a number of social, political & economic forces (e.g., new innovations/technologies, relative stability in our hemisphere, vast natural resource exploitation, influx immigrant workforce, etc.) combined to catapult the U.S.A. into its Golden Age of wealth and ambition. This rise to power was reflected in our cities and architecture, including the grand hotels, mountain lodges and seaside resorts which became increasingly spectacular.

    Disney, in its wisdom, began to build its own grand hotels and among its most successful were those that emulated America’s Golden Age. Some examples:

    Ahwahnee Hotel (built 1927), Yosemite National Park


    Grand Californian



    ***
    Old Faithful Inn (built 1903), Yellowstone National Park


    Wilderness Lodge




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    Hotel del Coronado (built 1887), San Diego


    Grand Floridian



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    New Ocean House (built 1884, burned down 1969) Swampscott, MA


    Newport Bay Club



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    Chinese Consulate, NYC (built 198?)


    Newly-skinned Disneyland Hotel



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    Hotel above MassPike, Newton MA (built (197?)


    Paradise Pier Hotel (aka The Emerald Hotel built in 1984 by a Japanese company]


    ***

    Alright, so the last two are tongue-in-cheek, but the point I'm illustrating is the move from the sublime to the ridiculous. While I know and understand that - for business reasons - current Disney management won't demo these two insipid structures with their windowless concrete slab sides and build fitting themed resorts for their neighboring parks, I hope for a day when a newly built Paradise Pier Hotel and Disneyland Hotel may be influenced by the Grand Age:

  2. #2

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    Re: The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    Great collection, thanks!

    Maybe for designing future hotels they can look at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, Oregon, and the El Tovar at the Grand Canyon.

  3. #3

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    Re: The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    Great collection, thanks!

    Maybe for designing future hotels they can look at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, Oregon
    Are you anticipating a re-theming of the Tower of Terror into the Overlook Hotel from "The Shining"?

  4. #4

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    Re: The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    I think the Mission style would be great for a new Disneyland Hotel! It'd be interesting if, as the DLR hotels continued to be rethemed over the years, Disney continued down the path of keeping the hotels themed to Californian styles and hotels. In that sense, Grand Californian would remain themed to arts-and-crafts style/Awahnee Hotel, Paradise Pier could take on a Hotel Del Coronado look to match the Victorian Paradise Pier in front of it, and that would leave the Disneyland Hotel to take on the Mission style/Biltmore Hotel look.

    Of course, some people would argue that a Disneyland Hotel should look more like a castle... so in the interest of keeping it Californian, why not make it like Heart Castle?







    That said, I'm surprised that with the literally dozens of hotels on WDW property, they've turned to North American styles for almost all of them - and for that matter, styles from the turn of the century. Where are the Parisian, Italian, Sevillian, and Santorini-style hotels they could be building??


  5. #5

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    Re: The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    Ha ha! Yes that would be awesome to have the Jack Nicholson character running around.

  6. #6

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    Re: The Age of Grand Hotels (and Disney)

    I think Disney did a great job even with the moderate resorts in WDW. I would love to see them do a tribute to Addison Mizner (The Breakers in Palm Beach, Boca Raton Hotel, etc) and I think a Mission style resort would be great, but it would be hard to do in Anaheim, we were lucky to get the GC since building up is easier and makes more financial sense than building out.

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