Mid-century architecture in Disney's Hollywood studios and Universal Orlando theme parks

Discussion in 'Disney Theme Park Discussion' started by Joanie Eddis-Koch, Feb 2, 2022.

  1. Attention Disney peeps or mid-century architecture fans. (Think Los Angeles from the '30s '40s and '50s.)

    If you're a fan of this style of architecture and you've been to either Disney's Hollywood Studios or Universal Orlando, you've probably come across sites and building facades in the parks that make you go hmm...

    I'm talking about things like the Grauman's Chinese theater in DHS or the Pantages theater at Universal. I'm thinking also about the Hollywood Brown Derby or Mel's Drive In. Or how about the Crossroads of the World Booth in DHS or Schwab's drugstore at Universal.

    Yeah that stuff.

    Well there's a very interesting podcast that makes the connection between those sites in the theme parks and the actual sites in old Los Angeles.

    The name of the podcast that specifically deals with these topics at the theme parks is entitled:

    ~ "Greetings from "Los Angeles" in Walt Disney World and Universal Studios". ~

    The link to this podcast can be found posted below.

    It comes in at around 45 minutes and it's an excellent story about a mid-century modern fan's trip to this restored and recreated era at Disney and Universal.

    This fellow really knows what he's talking about especially since he's a huge fan of that architecture. He is very informative and entertaining.

    I recommend taking a listen to this podcast because the next time you go to the theme parks, you'll be on the lookout for these sites and you'll realize that they have a significance other than just a fantastic design. There's a history and a backstory to these sites and a reason why designers at these theme parks chose those buildings to be represented in their recreations.

    When listening to this podcast I picked up a pro tip that I never fully realized concerning these buildings at Universal Orlando. Near the front of the buildings you can oftentimes find plaques which tell you more about the buildings and their historical significance.

    I know the next time I'm at Universal, instead of rushing through to the rides, I'm going to take the time to stop and look and try and find these plaques and find out more information about these fascinating facades.

    LINK to the POD CAST: https://anchor.fm/merch-motel

    Links to other content sites provided by Merch Motel:

    If you are a fan of the style or would like more interesting information about these theme parks, I highly recommend following some of the other content sites from Merch Motel. For example, his Instagram feed is simply fascinati g as he tours the sites of these old buildings and talks about them.
  2. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Cool! We'll have to hold Pixelmania West once COVID clears up so we can drive around LA on a Sunday and see some of those places.

    When I was researching Adrian & Edith's in DHS the other day, I found two interesting web pages:
    • On Yesterland.com, Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios Part 1 and Part 2. It describes each builting an has photos of the real building and the DHS copy.
    There is some duplication, but both have information that the other doesn't. For example, the AllEars post reveals that the stone structures on either side of the entrance to the Tower of Terror area replicate the entrance to the Hollywoodland housing development. It is most famous for the letters on the hillside that spelled out HOLLYWOODLAND. The first nine letters (HOLLYWOOD) are still there.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  3. I've got 53,000 Southwest frequent flyer miles and I know how to use them!
  4. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    I have more miles than that AND a 3-day park hopper that I bought to see Halloween at Disneyland right before COVID hit. So a trip west is definitely in my future. The only unknown is how many years will I have to wait until I feel that it's safe enough to go.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  5. Karl has said he's not interested in going to see Disneyland so my schedule is open as well.

    I might extend the trip and drive around California, especially to see the Disney museum which I think is up in San Francisco.

    Might be fun to do a Walt's footsteps trip.
    We could do train type things too I think. Isn't the Carrollwood Pacific railway stuff from Walt Disney around there someplace too?

    I'm fairly certain we could take the train up to San Francisco if we didn't want to drive.

  6. gary

    gary Member

    ahh yes, another east coaster who has no grasp of the distances. yes the disney family museum is in san francisco, on the grounds of the presidio, the old army base next to the golden gate bridge. it is a complete loss of a full day day to drive from anaheim to san francisco, complete with traffic at both ends, heavy traffic, taking the train wouldn't be bad. although the better scenic ride is los angeles to san diego. carrollwood pacific is in griffith park at walts barn in los angeles, probably 35 miles or so from disneyland.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  7. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    What Gary said. It's at least an 8 hour drive from LA to SF, and that's if you avoid the heavy traffic.
    I've done the Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps tour twice and can recommend it.
    Griffith Park is about an hour from Anaheim (on a Sunday with light traffic). It's in Hollywood and is near Universal and several movie studios.
    I wouldn't mind a train ride. The Coast Starlight leaves in the morning and arrives at night on each end, assuming it's on time. There is an alternative route from Bakersfield on a San Joaquin that has less interesting scenery. It may be easier and cheaper just to fly.
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.

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