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.