RETRO DISNEYLAND HISTORY
Did you know there used to be a helicopter service to Disneyland? From 1956 to 1972 there was a helicopter service between Disneyland and Los Angeles (and points in between). You could fly into LAX and then take a quick helicopter trip directly to Disneyland. Initially one would land near Tomorrowland and in later years in the front of the Disneyland Hotel.
Los Angeles Airways operated this daily service from early 1956 until 1968. In 1968 LA Airways suffered two horrific crashes in which over 40 people lost their lives; one after leaving Disneyland and another on their way. At the same time the company lost their contract to carry the mail for the US Postal Service which helped defray their costs of running the service to Orange County.
Flights were suspended until 1972 when Golden West took over operations. Golden West only lasted five months at which point helicopter service to the Happiest Place on Earth ceased forever. Area hotels were all too happy when this occurred as the loud helicopters were annoying to their guests as the crafts hovered, arrived and departed.
In the early days a one-way ticket to or from LAX was in the range of $4 per person. By the end of the service it was about $16 per person. Passengers’ descriptions of the flight seemed to always include words like: scary, loud, and shuttering. Nonetheless, what an exciting and unique way to get to the park and see Disneyland from the air as you arrive or depart!
From 1956 to 1960, the heliport and terminal was next to Tomorrowland on the south-east corner of the park. You would board or unload just over the fence from where the twin ride domes and tall rocket stood for the ride “Rocket to the Moon”. Today, the terminal would be exactly in the cross-walk on the south end of the taxi and secondary shuttle-bus area near the Esplanade, just east of Harbor Boulevard.
In 1960 until the service ended, the heliport moved to just north of the Disneyland Hotel, close to where the parking booths are as you enter the Disneyland Hotel’s lot from Magic Way.
We hope you have enjoyed this little walk down memory lane. Since our beloved Howard Johnson Hotel is turning 50 in 2015, we take our area history VERY seriously. Look for more history related posts!
Are you visiting Disneyland and want the perfect family hotel that’s closer to the theme parks than TWO of Disney’s own hotels? Look no further than the TripAdvisor fan favorite, the Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Playground! FIVE time award winner in the category “Top 25 Hotels for Families in the United States“.