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  1. #1

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    Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    The original Disneyland Hotel from 1955 is gone. It was demolished in 1999. There's still a Disneyland Hotel, whose building go back to the 1960's and 1970's.


    What are your thoughts about the past, present, and future of the Disneyland Hotel?
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Very interesting read. I didn't know of the original 1955 hotel.

    Thanks for the history! And thanks for the continued excellent work at Yesterland. Yesterland.com was one of the first Disneyland-related sites that I stumbled across on the internet several years ago, and helped spark and fuel my instense interest in Disneyland. Thanks so much!

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Thanks Werner!
    I enjoyed the information about the 1955 hotel.
    I wish I could have experienced some of the great fun with the paddle boats, Fantasy show, etc. of the hotel. It makes me very curious what it was like during those years.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Thanks for the link, and Thanks to Don for the addendum to his book.

    I really wish I'd known about all of this the first couple times I went there, I would have loved to have experienced the Monorail Cafe and the gardens of the hotel itself. Sad that things have to change but I guess that's progress.
    "Say, uh, ever hear of the devil's paint pots? Real mystery of the desert. Bubblin' pots of mud in all kinds of colors."

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by NWRREngineer View Post
    Thanks for the link, and Thanks to Don for the addendum to his book.

    I really wish I'd known about all of this the first couple times I went there, I would have loved to have experienced the Monorail Cafe and the gardens of the hotel itself. Sad that things have to change but I guess that's progress.
    The old saying holds true: "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." I sure do miss the "old" Disneyland Hotel. Wish Disney could have preserved at least some of ot for history's sake. One Garden Structure as an historical reference would have been nice. I still say a Monorail cafe in Downtown Disney would be a hit!!!


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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Thank you for the article (and all the work on Yesterland).

    We've never stayed at the "old hotel" portion, but we loved the Monorail
    Cafe and the olympic sized pool (I used to do laps in it!).

    It was sad to see the whole section go. (although my kids love
    the new pool).

  7. #7

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    I never stayed at the hotel, but as a longtime resident of the nearby area, and eight-year employee of the park, I certainly loved it as a Magic Kingdom landmark...and no matter how young or old, I always felt a thrill riding the monorail entering and exiting the hotel station.

    I've talked in other threads about Orange County radio stations that had studios in the hotels around the park. There was KNOB...which had studios in the Hyatt House across Harbor Boulevard from the park.

    And in the hotel itself...not far from the monorail station...was KEZY 1190...which broadcast "high atop the Magic Kingdom" for a few years before its relocation to 1190 East Ball Road (now long since gone as well).

    I wish that they could at least keep the old beautiful signage for the building still left.

    --Barry
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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Thank you for the article, it was great! It was nice to see the old structures and the way things were less than 10 short years ago.

    Now, if they could just bulldoze the entire thing and start fresh we could finally leave the cartoony and gimmicky Disney behind and perhaps focus on something along the lines of the Grand Californian in classical Disney style. Time for Iger to start earning his paycheck.

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Athlonacon View Post
    Now, if they could just bulldoze the entire thing and start fresh we could finally leave the cartoony and gimmicky Disney behind and perhaps focus on something along the lines of the Grand Californian in classical Disney style. Time for Iger to start earning his paycheck.
    Instead of imploding the existing buildings and starting over, I'd like to see The Walt Disney Company make the Disneyland Hotel's mid-century modern architecture into a virtue rather than a liability.

    Today, it seems that Disney is saying, "Don't looking up at the ugly buildings. Keep your eyes low and enjoy the 'Magical' Disney-ish things we've done at ground level. Try to forget that the buildings scream 1960's (even though some are newer than that)."

    Instead, I'd like to see the Disneyland Hotel adopt a strong late-1950's/early-1960's theme, with signs, colors, restaurants, furniture, uniforms, decor, artwork, and landscaping that immerse guests in the era when the Disneyland Monorail first began serving the Disneyland Hotel. By the way, the buildings aren't ugly; they're actually very nicely designed examples of the era. The Hotel should take guests back in time, just as most of Disney's deluxe hotels in Florida do. Only it would be a different time period.

    Take a look at the website of the Renaissance Hollywood at http://www.renaissancehollywood.com/ -- you'll find pictures of the rooms, with their wild mid-century modern colors and furniture. With its more spacious grounds and its multiple buildings, the Disneyland Hotel could way outdo the Renaissance Hollywood.

    Think about the possibilities for restaurants. Think about tiki revival. Think about the "space age." Think about the Googie style. "Retro" is fun. In fact, look to Tomorrowland in the 1950's for inspiration.

    The 900-or-so rooms, the restaurants, and the convention facilities are valuable assets. It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to replace them. There's no reason to tear them down.

    As they say, when you have a lemon, make lemonade. The Disneyland Hotel isn't a lemon. But Disney guests expect immersive, themed hotels—and the Disneyland Hotel fails to meet that expectation in its current form.

    Let the Imagineers have fun immersing guests in another era!

    (Hmmmm... Maybe I should expand on what I've written here as the subject of a future article for Yesterland.)
    Last edited by Werner Weiss; 12-07-2006 at 01:21 PM.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner Weiss View Post
    (Hmmmm... Maybe I should expand on what I've written here as the subject of a future article for Yesterland.)
    Yes, I agree.

    It seems that I've never had any sort of desire to stay at any the DL hotels. Why? It just seems to generic. While I enjoyed the room at Caribbean Beach (WDW), it was 'just a room'. Should I have expected more? No. Would it be awesome if it was totally themed? Yes.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner Weiss View Post
    Instead of imploding the existing buildings and starting over, I'd like to see The Walt Disney Company make the Disneyland Hotel's mid-century modern architecture into a virtue rather than a liability.

    Today, it seems that Disney is saying, "Don't looking up at the ugly buildings. Keep your eyes low and enjoy the 'Magical' Disney-ish things we've done at ground level. Try to forget that the buildings scream 1960's (even though some are newer than that)."

    Instead, I'd like to see the Disneyland Hotel adopt a strong late-1950's/early-1960's theme, with signs, colors, restaurants, furniture, uniforms, decor, artwork, and landscaping that immerse guests in the era when the Disneyland Monorail first began serving the Disneyland Hotel. By the way, the buildings aren't ugly; they're actually very nicely designed examples of the era. The Hotel should take guests back in time, just as most of Disney's deluxe hotels in Florida do. Only it would be a different time period.

    Take a look at the website of the Renaissance Hollywood at http://www.renaissancehollywood.com/ -- you'll find pictures of the rooms, with their wild mid-century modern colors and furniture. With its more spacious grounds and its multiple buildings, the Disneyland Hotel could way outdo the Renaissance Hollywood.

    Think about the possibilities for restaurants. Think about tiki revival. Think about the "space age." Think about the Googie style. "Retro" is fun. In fact, look to Tomorrowland in the 1950's for inspiration.

    The 900-or-so rooms, the restaurants, and the convention facilities are valuable assets. It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to replace them. There's no reason to tear them down.

    As they say, when you have a lemon, make lemonade. The Disneyland Hotel isn't a lemon. But Disney guests expect immersive, themed hotels—and the Disneyland Hotel fails to meet that expectation in its current form.

    Let the Imagineers have fun immersing guests in another era!

    (Hmmmm... Maybe I should expand on what I've written here as the subject of a future article for Yesterland.)
    Werner....I think you have really hit on something here. I suggested to Disney when I was writing the book while doing research onsite that they needed to have some sort of living tribute to both Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel's rich history. They could even construct an old two story guest accomodation structure built to original specs and have a walk through museum with pictures, period furniture, docents, scale models and other historical items from the Park and the Hotel's past. I think this would be a very popular area of the Resort grounds and would attract lots of visitors. They could have a gift shop and everything. People love reminiscing about the past and happy trips and times spent at Disneyland/Disneyland Hotel. Readers, is this something you would like to see?


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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhotelguy View Post
    I suggested to Disney when I was writing the book while doing research onsite that they needed to have some sort of living tribute to both Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel's rich history. They could even construct an old two story guest accomodation structure built to original specs and have a walk through museum with pictures, period furniture, docents, scale models and other historical items from the Park and the Hotel's past.
    I like the idea of some sort of museum at the Disneyland Hotel about its history—ideally more than just photographs and display cases.

    However I'm suggesting more than a museum; I'm suggesting a resort that makes guests feel as though they've stepped back in time. And I'm not suggesting that the Imagineers should be limited to re-creating actual elements of the Disneyland Hotel, circa-1960. Rather, the Imagineers should be challenged to capture the most fun, imaginative, and stylish aspects of the period.

    I admire immersive hotels such as Disney’s Boardwalk at WDW. I just stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk last month, and it feels like going to Atlantic City 60-70 years ago (although I wasn't actually around back then). Along the same lines, imagine going back to the "mid-century modern" period of 40-50 years ago, which was full of fun, clever, engaging art and design. With its fine mid-century modern style towers, the Disneyland Hotel is perfectly suited to become an immersive circa-1960-themed environment.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  13. #13

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    Re: Dec. 1, 2006: The End of the Original Disneyland Hotel

    Thanks for the artical. I remember being upsetted by the loss of the old buildings. It occurs to me now that I never really explored the old hotel itself though. It sliiped my mind when we parked at downtown Disney a few weeks back just where we were.

    I still really miss the restuarants. Especially The Monorail Cafe. Part of me hates Downtown Disney (at least that section) because of what was lost to build it.

    Still, I love The Disneyland Hotel. I've stayed at both it and The Grand Californian, and there's just something intangible about the older hotel. I love being on its grounds. I love the majestic towers, and the overall elegence of the place. A good portion of that has been swept away with the loss of the old hotel, the marina, and the glass floor lobby, but she's still the Grand Dame of the Disney hotel trinary. Maybe it's because her class is real and comes from her history, whereas the Grand Californian is "designed" with a theme of elegance.

    Say what you will about The Disneyland Hotel, but to me, she's still a very tangible part of Disneyland. Tearing her down completely would be akin to ripping out a land from the park. Sure, the replacement might be shinier, more modern, and what people might feel is the better alternative, but you'd be loosing part of what makes the place what it is.

    So I agree with Werner. Give it some TLC. If you must change things, do it with some thought and a good concept in mind. None of this bull like renaming Granville's to Steakhouse 55 just because the reference isn't obvious to the layman. At least I've heard some good news about wanting to put somer fiber optics into the former Fantasy Waters section. Whether it happens or not, it's still better than the demolishion rumors.

    The Disneyland Hotel can be the jewel of the hotels again if they'd jut realise how workable she is. Tearing down something that can easily be improved is just plain stupid.

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