“Disney” hotel although not Disney owned until 1988. Disneyland construction costs kept Disney from building a hotel. Disney approached a number of hotel chains in 1954, but all felt that the Disneyland venture was too risky. Instead, he negotiated a deal with his friend Jack Wrather to build and operate one. Wrather had the rights to use the Disneyland Hotel name on any hotel in California until 2054. Four years after Wrather died, The Walt Disney Co. bought the entire Wrather Corporation, which also gave them the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach and the rights to The Lone Ranger & Lassie TV Series.
Designed by the firm of Pereira & Luckman, the initial 100 room capacity hotel opened on October 5, 1955, approximately 3 months after Disneyland opened. At the official ribbon-cutting ceremony (held much later on August 25, 1956) for the $10,000,000 development were Bonita Granville Wrather, Alan Ladd, Mrs. Helen Alvarez, Jack Wrather Jr., Jack Wrather III, Mrs. Jack Wrather Sr., Yvonne DeCarlo, and William Bendix. A tour of the hotel and dinner in the private banquet room followed the dedication ceremonies.
At the time of opening, the hotel featured a heated Olympic-size swimming pool, a children's wading pool with a lighted and colored water fountain, a huge restaurant, convention center, shopping center, golf course, and shuffleboard courts. Each room had its own parking space as well as a private patio or balcony and a TV! The luxury rooms had wide-screen color TV!
Free shuttle tram service left the hotel every five minutes, whisking guests off to Disneyland. Eventually the hotel featured the Monorail Plaza, a shopping center built in June 1961 and demolished in the late 1990’s for Downtown Disney. The hotel consisted of three guest room towers: Marina, Sierra, and Bonita. Other buildings in the complex house restaurants, stores, offices, recreational facilities, and convention/banquet facilities.
The off-center placement of an exterior elevator shaft at the Sierra Tower created space constraints which required the neon sign atop the building to read “Hotel Disneyland.” During a 1966 expansion, the sign was corrected. The sign was later removed and replaced with a mural featuring shooting stars.
The Shipyard Inn and the Sailmaker's Den opened when the Marina debuted on Saturday, March 28, 1970. The Marina had a very limited opening in December of 1969, but it is more likely the restaurant opened in early 1970. The Shipyard Inn continued operations until being closed on January 3, 1999, when it was replaced by Hook's Pointe Restaurant and Wine Cellar on April 8, 1999.
You can view the slideshow below for more amazing images.
Disney Legend John “Jack” Wrather, Jr. was born in 1918 in Amarillo, Texas. Jack was a successful businessman as well as Hollywood producer, and the person Walt Disney turned to when he needed a hotel built next to Disneyland.
In 1954, as the Disneyland project was well underway, Jack got a call from Disney asking if he was interested in building a hotel next to the park. As he later explained, “I had heard a little bit about the Disneyland plan but when they told me where it was going to be built, all I could exclaim was ‘Anaheim! Oh, God! Anaheim!’ Then I asked them why they didn’t call Hilton or Sheraton…They said they had called them, but Hilton and Sheraton never heard of Anaheim and weren’t interested.”
With Disneyland being rushed to open in July of 1955 for its television premiere, the Disneyland Hotel was also being built at breakneck speed and was not ready to welcome its first guests until October of 1955.
The Disneyland Hotel, like the park itself, turned out to be a big success. In the years after its opening, Disney made several attempts to buy the Disneyland Hotel, but Jack resisted. Jack passed away in 1984. Disney finally acquired the Disneyland Hotel in 1987, when it purchased a half share ownership in the Wrather Corp. and then purchased the other half in 1988.
The plant life and horticulture is one of the distinct things about Disney. The topiary of Mickey, Minnie and Pluto greet you as you exit the Disneyland Hotel.
The downtown Disney District is a collection of shops and restaurants, but don't forget to stop at the many photo ops along the way. Here, the LEGO store has wonderful character displays.
The country’s second-largest LEGO Store is a fanciful space filled with impressive displays, interactive play areas and a huge selection of LEGO products.
Both inside and outside the store, you’ll be dazzled by life-sized Disney characters lovingly rendered in LEGO, from a fire-breathing Maleficent to Belle and the Beast preparing to take the dance floor.
Here’s some of what LEGO has in store for you:
Pick-a-Brick Wall – This enormous display of LEGO components makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Select specific LEGO bricks, elements and mini-figures in a variety of colors and shapes. Buy only one brick or an assortment for your next creation.
The Living Room – Stay and play in this interactive area where you can enjoy hands-on, minds-on exploration. Use pieces you already own to create simple, seasonal models or get what you need from the Pick-a-Brick Wall.
Brand Ribbon – Follow this display around the perimeter of the store to discover cool LEGO model displays, fun facts and key moments in LEGO history.
Outdoor Play Area – Get some fresh air while constructing a project or playing with your latest design.
LEGO Activities – The store hosts workshops and LEGO Club Meetings for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages.
If you go inside the LEGO store, be sure to look up and you'll see Genie, Aladdin and Jasmine flying overhead.
Read our REVIEW of Goofy's Kitchen Character Breakfast located inside the Disneyland Hotel at the end of the Disney District.
The Disneyland Hotel includes decor inspired by Disneyland park in the rooms, a pool-and-slide water play area that evokes the early years of Disneyland.
When Disneyland first opened in July 1955, there were no hotels or motels on the property, and none nearby.
Walt Disney wanted a hotel, but he could not afford to build it and his theme park, so he turned to a friend, Jack Wrather, and gave him the rights to the Disney name for a hotel. Wrather, along with a business partner, bought up several acres in Anaheim along West Street, across from Disneyland, and proceeded to build one.
There is a historical display in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel. Here are some close-ups of the collages.
The hotel today.....
I remember this gift shop from my childhood.
Me with my dad 1976.
To see MORE about the creation of the Disneyland Hotel, CONTINUE READING.....
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".