Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Heliport

The Disneyland Heliport
Disneyland Resort, Resort Wide, ,
Guest Services, Status: Closed (1956 - 1972)

"Some people fly in a plane, some take Amtrak, many drive™ there are tons of ways to get to Disneyland. And from 1956 to the early 70s, a helicopter was one of your options for transportation to the resort. The Disneyland Heliport operated from various locations throughout its run, taking guests to and from LAX on 15 minute flights.

Roughly one year after the park opened, the first Heliport location began operations to the immediate southeast of Tomorrowland, in space now enveloped by the park and backstage areas. The original flights, operated by Los Angeles Airways (LAA), carried up to 12 passengers between the park and LAX. In 1957, the heliport moved further south to accommodate the Disneyland Railroad's widening track.

In 1960, the Disneyland Heliport moved to its final and best known location - next door to the Disneyland Hotel (the Downtown Disney parking lot today). By moving to the hotel side, the Heliport made it much easier for guests to drop off bags when arriving at Disneyland, and to retrieve bags from the hotel when departing for LAX. And by 1962, the Heliport welcomed larger aircraft, carrying up to 28 passengers per flight.

Unfortunately, the Disneyland Heliport does not have a happy ending. On May 22, 1968, an aircraft carrying 20 passengers and 3 crew members departed Disneyland en route to LAX. Pilots issued a distress call mid-flight, before crashing into a dairy farm. There were no survivors, making the crash the deadliest helicopter accident in US history at the time. Incredibly, the Disneyland Heliport continued to operate. But just three months later, history repeated itself. On August 16, 1968, an aircraft carrying 18 passengers and 3 crew members departed LAX, headed for Disneyland. Witnesses reported the rotor blade separating from the aircraft, causing the helicopter to crash in Compton. Again, there were no survivors.

After the second crash, the Disneyland Heliport suspended operations. Another airline, Golden West, attempted to bring back the Helipad in 1972, but service ended permanently after just five months. Disneyland never again provided a helicopter landing space for park transportation, and the two accidents remain one of the darkest moments in Disneyland's history"

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