Howard Johnson unveils House of the Retro Future sequel

ANAHEIM, Calif. — For $1,957, visitors to Howard Johnson in Anaheim can take a nostalgic trip to Disneyland’s past.

In 1957, Tomorrowland seemed like a glimpse into the future.


What do you want to know

  • Howard Johnson in Anaheim converted a two-room suite into a modern version of the Monsanto House of the Future, which was displayed at Tomorrowland at Disneyland
  • More than 20 million visitors passed through Monsanto’s House of the Future from 1957 to 1967
  • The Howard Johnson Suite is very different from the original cross-shaped Future House
  • A two-night stay inside the retro House of the Future costs $1,957

There was the TWA rocket to the Moon – more than a decade before humans set foot on the moon’s surface, the world’s clock and the home of the future.

Visitors from 1957 walked through this all-plastic model house to see what a futuristic home might look like – in 1986.

Designed by MIT and Walt Disney Imagineering and sponsored by chemical company Monsanto, the Monsanto House of the Future featured a mid-century design, large-screen TV, microwave and climate control center to control indoor temperature, purify the air and even produce a fragrance.

While designers at the time got a few things right – the microwave oven, the big-screen TV, and an interior climate control system – they got a few things wrong. The plastic house bathroom was the size of an airplane or cruise ship bathroom.

Disneyland Historian Charles Phoenix talks about the Monsanto House of the Future during a presentation to Howard Johnson. (Spectrum News/Joseph Pimentel)

Charles Phoenix, a Disneyland pop culture historian, said the self-contained plastic exhibit at Tomorrowland was a technological breakthrough in its time.

More than 20 million visitors visited the model home from 1957 to 1967 before Disney tore it down for a new attraction in the late 1960s. He said the foundation, painted green, can still be seen in Pixie Hollow.

“All these years later, there’s never been a home that’s looked more mid-century modern, more futuristic, and as timeless and classic as this one. It still looks futuristic,” Phoenix said. during a presentation. “That, at the end of the day, is his greatest achievement, that all these years later we’ve never seen a house look like this, all plastic.”

The original cross-shaped layout of the Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland. (Spectrum News/Joseph Pimentel)

While the original Future House is gone, Howard Johnson has pledged to replicate and modernize parts of it, at least the interior.

Howard Johnson, across from Disneyland, took this idea and transformed an ordinary two-room suite on the fourth floor of the hotel into the Retro House of the Future.

“It pays homage to elements of the original Monstano House of the Future and honors our heritage of mid-century modern design,” said Jonathan Whitehead, general manager of Howard Johnson in Anaheim, during a tour of the suite. SpectrumNews.

The interior of the Retro Future House inside Howard Johnson Anaheim (Courtesy Andy Castro)

With the help of designer Caroline McLean, Whitehead recreated several parts of the House of the Future exhibit.

Inside, the dining room features a George Nelson Lazy Susan dining table, a reproduced credenza and even commissioned Disney artists to repaint the blue peacock artwork prominently displayed on the original House of the Future.

A flat screen TV hangs on the living room wall, a modern take on the curved CRT TV in the original design.

Mid-Century Modern furniture similar to that of the original house is decorated throughout, along with custom artwork by mid-century artist Shag. There is also a vintage record player, where guests can listen to their favorite jazz artist.

The retro Future House bedroom inside Howard Johnson Anaheim. (Andy Castro)

Howard Johnson’s bedroom and bathroom is where things get different. The two-piece suite is also very different from the six-piece cross-shaped arrangement.

The bathroom inside the original house of the future looks almost the size of an airplane bathroom. The Howard Johnson Suite bathroom is larger, updated and will soon have a computerized mirror.

Whitehead said they needed to modernize some design elements because completely recreating the original future home wouldn’t meet the expectations of today’s consumers.

Whitehead did not disclose the cost of the renovation.

“We’ve renovated our other buildings,” Whitehead said, adding that they had previously transformed another room into a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed suite, complete with artwork and concept art from the original attraction. Disneyland.

The House of the Retro Future Suite will be available for reservations beginning August 12. Guests must book at least two nights on Tuesday and Wednesday or Friday and Saturday night. The cost of the stay is $1,957 – the year the Monsanto House of the Future debuted at Disneyland.

“It’s more than just a hotel suite,” Whitehead said. “It’s an experience.”

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