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.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".