Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Chapter 3 The Vacation Kingdom of the World, Side bar article: Hotel Leasers part 1: Postcards of the Lake Buena Vista Hotels

These cards are not printed by Disney, but not that far afield from our central subject as they may seem to be at first, one you realize that these Hotels are on Disney property. These hotels are on property leased from the Walt Disney Company, much the way many of the stores and restaurants at Downtown Disney are on property leased from Disney.
The original four hotels
these cards are standard size except where noted otherwise

Looking back through my old WDW paper items the earliest reference I find to the Hotels along Hotel Plaza Boulevard (Winter/Spring 1974 i nformation guide p.30 ) lists four hotels under the heading Motor Inn Plaza, Dutch Inn -- Howard Johnson's -- Royal Inn -- Travelodge several of these have changed hands over the years and three more have been added in other parts of the WDW village complex, also two more on site hotels were added that are not run by Disney outside the Hotel Plaza Boulevard area those would be the Swan and Dolphin Hotels.

TraveLodge at Lake Buena Vista
I suspect that this card is the earliest view I have of any of the hotels in the WDW hotel village in fact the address listed on the back of the card refers to it's street address as Motor Inn Plaza, also the fact that it is an art card (which suggests this view may pre-date actual construction), and lastly the fact that the WDW logo appears no place on this card. All the other standard size cards I have from these hotels have the logo either on the front or the back and usually with the words "in the host community of" just before the Walt Disney World logo. According to Disney A to Z ( first edition) it was known as Viscount (which was Travelodges more upscale arm) from 1984 to 1989. The Travel Lodge has since became the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel. This is the only card I know of for this hotel.

Dutch Inn / Americana's Dutch Inn / Grosvenor
I have more standard size views of this hotel than any other in the Walt Disney World. One of these is an art card as well. The third card pictured in this series is a rather late card for being only standard size it is postmarked in 1984 and at that time it's name was Americana's Dutch Resort Hotel. Another interesting thing about that view is that in the background behind the hotel you can see the Empress Lilly at the (at that time) far end of the Walt Disney World Shopping Village. The hotel is currently known as the Grosvenor.
DIRHWD-500 (33K)

I suspect the above veiw was the earlier of two images made from the same photo, and the view below the later made from that same image.


DIRH-500 (39K)

Above: the circa 1984 view I mentioned above which is also the earliest card I have that reflects the name change to Americana's Dutch Inn resort.

grov600 (47K)
Above: in 1989 this 6 x 8 view came out that uses a similar layout as a card one of the later hotels in the Hotel Plaza used the Hilton (which will be seen in a later chapter) though this view includes the studios as well, this is the earlies view of this Hotel that I have that uses the Grosvenor Name.
Below: 1n 1991 many of the Hotel Plaza resorts had fold-out strips of cards this strip is from the Grosvenor.

GROLDER01-500 (38K)
GROLDER02-500 (43K)
GROLDER03-500 (42K)
GROLDER04-500 (44K)
GROLDER05-500 (42K)
GROLDER06-500 (40K)

Howard Johnsons Resort Hotel / Courtyard by Mariott / Holiday Inn
The view I have of this hotel is a bit unusual in that the view picked is one I think is an unflattering view of the hotel showing I-4 behind it, a better view might have been a view with the Walt Disney World Shopping Village in the background. I think this view is contemporary with the view of Americana's Dutch resort that has the Empress Lilly in the view, the reason I think this is that the number on the back of this card seems to be in the same series.

As I mentioned before, in 1991 many of these hotels had postcard strips produced the ones for this Howard Johnsons are shown Below.

hj91-01-500 (27K) hj91-02-500 (46K) hj91-03-500 (39K) hj91-04-500 (46K) hj91-05-500 (45K) hj91-06-500 (43K)
In 1995 this hotel became the Courtyard by Marriot. They issued the continental sized post card pictured below. On Dec. 30, 2003 it became a Holiday Inn. ( information from Disney A to Z .pdf update available free from the Disney web site)

Royal Inn / Hotel Royal Plaza
In the first chapter of this web site on a page about the pre opening postcards of the Walt Disney world resort I mentioned the pre-opening center and even included some photos of it, one as it was back at he time it was the preview center, and pictures of the building today, including one from the same aerial view angle as the early view, that picture was taken from the glass elevator shown on the front of the building on the Royal Inn card shown below. . The Royal Plaza card shown below that has the back side of the hotel (taken from the I-4 side).
hri-DD-10273-500 (42K)

hrp87-500 (50K)
hri-B0175X-600 (39K)

Above a view from about 1987 Below a 2004 view
hrp04-500 (47K)

These hotels were the only four in this plaza until about the time of the opening of Epcot Center in 1982. Those later hotels will be covered in side articles of later chapters.



E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com


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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 18-Nov-2006 08:39 AM