Saturday, May 29, 2010

Newport Beach, Irvine, San Clemente, Disneyland

While looking for something else, I stumbled across the "Smith's Uptown Motel" blog and these great 1960s images of the Newport Channel Inn, on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. The motel is still there, but sadly this amazing sign is not.
"Anonymous" wrote this great story in the comments section of my Feb. 20, 2009 post about the Orange County International Raceway (OCIR) in Irvine. I thought it should get a bit more exposure here on the front page:
"...The weekend before they tore up the track at OCIR, I was driving by, and noticed the back gate was open. I drove in and had a look around, and then made a few passes down the 1/4 mile in my 1982 AMC Eagle SX/4. I remember there was a lot of rubber in the traps from the burnouts they did in the last big party, and they had already started ripping up the stands. My times weren't good, but I had a lot of fun for a few minutes. As I was coming down the return lane, a woman security guard suddenly zoomed up behind me and pulled me over. She was pretty peeved, and wanted to know how I had gotten into the track. She lectured me about how there was no insurance, and I had to get out. She escorted me to the open gate, and locked it behind me as I left. I always wondered if my Eagle was the last car to run the 1/4 mile at OCIR, as they started tearing up the strip during the following week. I also wondered if I should have asked the woman security guard to lunch."
Casa Romantica, the home of San Clemente founder Ole Hanson, has opened a San Clemente history gallery and a gift shop. Sounds like that might be worth checking out.
Disney has announced plans for the makeover of the Disneyland Hotel. Happily, they have decided to play up the history and the 1950s/60s Modern design aspects of the place. New features will include a tiki/Polynesian style restaurant, water slides that look like the old Mark I Monorails, and a replica of the old Disneyland sign that once stood on Harbor Blvd. That sounds like all kinds of cool. My personal thanks to guys like Don Ballard, Kevin Kidney, Jody Daily, and the late Bruce Gordon, for reminding us (including Disney, it seems) that nostalgia and history are as important at theme parks as anywhere else.


walterworld said...

I read about the Disneyland Hotel makeover, and the real problem I have with it is that while they say they are making nods to history they are tearing up the very last remnants of the Wrather (pre-Disney) presence.

The waterfalls and Koi ponds under the Bonita Tower should stay as part of any Polynesian makeover; it makes no sense to remove them other than to save money.

The only things left from the pre-1988 era are the shells of the towers themselves and the convention area.

I'll be down there in July for one last tour of the grounds and a stop at the Wine Cellar (ex-Sailmaker's Den).


bubbagoes2anaheim said...

I fully agree that they should keep the waterfalls and koi pond. They fit in perfectly with the theming of the new Tahitian style restaurant and to keep that part of the hotel's history there.

Thanks for the other updates in the area (it would be fun to have that last race around the track - even for a non-racer)

JJohnson said...

This is exciting news. The old Disneyland sign has been gone too long. It had such charm.

One of my favorite features of the old Disneyland Hotel was the "dancing" waters show...