August 2, 2010

Monorail 78 on hotel dispatch

We checked out August 2, 1978, thirty-two years ago today. I had waited all year for the trip. The first time that my mom and I stayed in the Disneyland Hotel. We never made it back, but the two days we were there couldn't be improved.

We were the first aboard the Mark III monorail as it emerged across Katella Avenue on that morning's run across Disneyland's 115-acre parking lot ("or 'Freeway Retreat,' as many of you have called it.")

Like travelers striding up to a Pan Am China Clipper, we stepped into the cabin, then dashed straight to the bubble—completely bursting any air of sophistication we had. We're talking about the bubble, after all! We skimmed across West Street (not Disneyland Drive) and played in the early morning Park (not Resort). We conquered Space Mountain, then just about a year old, and made it to all of our favorites until we had to come back and check into our Bonita tower room. It cost about $185.00 adjusted for inflation. Parking would have been around $6.50 in today's dollars.

In this modern world of mega-hotels and second gates, it might be hard to understand what an overnight stay in the old official hotel of the Magic Kingdom meant to a kid who came to Anaheim maybe once a year, maybe more if someone else's parents were taking them. Quite simply, it was the best possible trip I could imagine, an almost incomprehensible luxury—actually staying overnight at Disneyland!

Once the overnight bags were dropped off, we skipped back up the stairs to the old hotel station platform—remember those hexagon cut-outs in the steel beams? We were back in the Magic Kingdom in minutes and there long into the night. Unlike all our past trips to Disneyland, there was no sleeping in the back seat on the way home to the San Fernando Valley.

I don't have many of the photos that I snapped with my Kodak Instamatic X-15 on that visit, but I'll post what I've got in a special vintage trip report from 1978 this weekend. We'll ride the beam as it bends right and we accelerate toward Tomorrowland and back to a summer memory that I cherish. Thanks for coming along.


TokyoMagic! said...

What a great experience. Growing up within 30 miles of DL, I never did get a chance to stay at the DL Hotel.

Looking forward to the rest of your vintage trip report...and your photos! I LOVE reading (and writing) vintage DL trip reports!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, right out of the center of my past.

Look forward to the next installment.

Best regards.


Molly Mouse said...

I stayed at the DL Hotel last summer, and my family and I enjoyed it so much we decided to stay at the Grand Californian this summer! Even though I work at Disneyland and we live 15 minutes away, it was an amazing experiencce! :]

walterworld said...

We stayed at the DHotel during our annual summer Disneyland trips in the 70's.

What fantastic memories I still have of those times, thanks for bringing them back...