Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Evolution of a Hotel

When looking at vintage photos of the Disneyland Hotel, it is difficult to imagine that what exists today is the same hotel pictured in these September 1963 images.

The grounds are lovely...

but the structure itself is more akin to what nowadays would be considered a No-Tell Motel.

An interior shot from a visit I made in May 1994 for my 40th birthday; a very comfortable room, with the design emphasis on fantasy and family.

All of the furnishings seemed to be created with the idea of durability in mind, knowing that families and kids would be knocking them around. A few nicks or chunks taken out of this furniture wouldn't really hurt the overall ambiance.

The Herb Ryman "lost weekend" concept art that sold the idea of Disneyland to the bean counters was featured on this armoire.

Flash forward to now, and the hotel is sleek and contemporary:

While the typical room still has touches of whimsy, the overall feel is adult and upscale, which matches the higher prices being charged.

On a totally different note, I recently noticed The Mason Shaker in my latest issue of The South Magazine from Savannah. What a great idea that embraces creative adaptive reuse!

See more vintage & current Disneyland Hotel photos on my Disneyland Hotel Land web page.


K. Martinez said...

I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel a few times in the 1970s; twice as a kid, once as an adult. It was always in one of the tower rooms with a nice view. I loved the experience.

I never stayed at an on-property Disney hotel actually owned by Disney though. Not even during my visits to Walt Disney World in the 1970s-80s. I always wanted to stay at the Polynesian Village hotel but never did. Now I’ve lost interest in doing so.

The architecture and design of the newer Disney hotels sort of leaves me cold. No matter how many different themes are applied, they all have that same modern and stamped look. For me if I’m going to pay a lot of money for lodging, I’d rather it be at a historic hotel/lodge with some real history to it. When I visit the theme parks nowadays, lodging has pretty much become a place to clean up and crash at the end of the day, nothing more.

Nice vintage Disneyland Hotel images. Thanks!

Don Ballard said...

The top picture of the Tower Building (Sept. 1963) was from just before they added the words "Hotel Disneyland" in big red letters to the top of that building. I have copies of the permits from the city of Anaheim and they are from late September, 1963. Based on other permits and known building schedules, it wasn't too much longer when work would begin on the permitted project.

JG said...

Great before and after pictures. I have never stayed in the DH, it was out of our price range in my youth.

We got rooms in the Grand Californian on the last trip, the style of that place was so over-the-top we had to try it.

We found that it's nice to have a room on the premises. My wife will probably insist on the GC from now on...


JG said...

@K Martinez. I agree, when I have a choice between a historic property and a contemporary one, I will take the historic building. We have become "collectors" of old hotels, in a way. Many fine examples in many cities.

But, some places, there just isn't much choice, and then, a basic contemporary design is fine with me.

I am very fond of the Courtyard brand. Comfortable and consistent, everywhere the same. Sometimes, that's what you need.


K. Martinez said...

@JG - The Disney Grand Californian is a beautiful hotel. I love walking through it every morning on my way to the parks when I visit the resort. I also enjoy the byproduct of the Disney's hotels which is lots of great restaurants.

Daveland said...

Ken - I hear ya'. I love nice hotels, but if the only time I spend in the room is sleep time, it's hard to justify the $250+ price for a pillow that the Disney properties charge (with the Grand Californian typically going for $400/night).

Don - Thanks for the info on the impending signage!