Saturday, September 20, 2008

Publicity Shot

Dancing Waters late 80's publicity photo

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1955 Disneyland Hotel Opening

The plans called for the Disneyland Hotel to be opened as close to the opening of Disneyland (mid-July 1955) as possible. As these articles indicate, due to labor strikes and the massive headcount needed to build Disneyland, the project was delayed until early October. Even then, it opened with only seven rooms with an eighth used as the registration office. This very early facility had almost no amenities either. An old ranch house on the property was converted to the first restaurant on the grounds and was called the Little Gourmet. It wasn't until mid 1956 that the Hotel was able to offer the many restaurants, shops and facilities to its guests and become a full-service facility.

Labor Contract Details - Part of the reason why the Disneyland Hotel was delayed by at least two months in opening. This article was dated September 18th, 1955.

The Disneyland Hotel was delayed in opening by severla months. This article details why......not enough skilled workers available due to the amount of work still ongoing at Disneyland. This article was dated August 2nd, 1955.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Personal Photos

One of the most fun finds are personal photographs from the Disneyland Hotel. Either finding them on Ebay or having someone send them to me, it's always nice to view (and share) someone's own personal photos of the original Disneyland Hotel. They often times show views not normally seen as is the case here with the other side of the lobby shot presented here. I have never seen another photograph with this view. Hope you like these.....I have more!

Personal Photo 1957 - Love those exposed girders and 50's architecture

Personal Grounds Photo 1957 - Olympic size pool not too terribly long after it had first opened

Guest structure and tropical setting

Front shot of original Disneyland Hotel Lobby Building

Guest structure with lush lanscaping in the foreground

Rare view from the back of the original Hotel lobby

Vast landscaping on the grounds

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Magnolia & Embassy Rooms

On the second floor above the Gourmet was located a banquet area that could serve parties ranging from twenty-five to five-hundred. On October 28, 1956, Disneyland Cast Members would hold their Halloween Masquerade Ball in the banquet room. Within a few years, this area had been expanded and could be divided into four different meeting rooms. By the early 1960's, it had become known as the Magnolia Room.

Built above the Hotel's shops near the main entrance on West Street, a 13,000 square foot convention and exhibition center was added. The convention hall became Orange County's first ballroom, the Embassy Room. [The original banquet hall (just to the south of the Embassy Room) would be redesigned and named the Magnolia Room.] It was able to accommodate more than 1,400 guests in a theatre seating formation and 1,200 guests for a banquet. Its "official" opening took place on November 28, 1961.

1969 Hotel Convention Brochure The Beautiful Embassy Room

1969 Hotel Convention Brochure

1969 Hotel Convention Brochure

1969 Convention Brochure

1969 Hotel Convention Brochure

Location of Embassy and Magnolia Rooms on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel - 1969 Hotel Convention Brochure. You would step down and outside of the building to get from one facility to the other.

1963 Hotel Brochure

Floorplans Magnolia Embassy Rooms - 1969 Convention Brochure

Floorplans Magnolia and Embassy Rooms - 1963 Hotel Cenvention Brochure

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Late in the tenure of the Wrather ownership

After Jack Wrather passed away in late 1984, the Wrather family restructured and attempted to keep the company afloat. It was also at this time that Michael Eisner took over as CEO at Disney and made it a priority to bring the Disneyland Hotel into Disney ownership. Chris Wrather took over as CEO and Bonita Wrather became Chairman of the Board at Wrather Corporation. Disney began to pressure the Wrather's to sell which they eventually did in 1989. This brochure is one of the last while the Hotel was still a Wrather property. It was used in 1987 and 1988.

1987 Brochure - Cover of the brochure from the Disneyland Hotel in 1987

This was at the start of the negotiations between Disney and Wrather

Plenty of activities

Some amenities at the Hotel near the end of the Wrather tenure

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Magnolia Embassy Rooms 1969

At the request of a blog reader, I have included a close-up from the 1969 convention brochure of the Magnolia and Embassy rooms location on the Hotel grounds.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Room Updates Mid 1965

The Disneyland Hotel Check-In Magazine (1965-1974) was the free publication given to registering Hotel guests at check-in time. These magazines are an invaluable source of information from the Hotel's rich history. You can always find interesting tidbits of information contained within them about some detail going on at the Disneyland Hotel. This particular issue details a complete room refurbishment to the original Garden Rooms where over $400,000 will be spent. I was fortunate to have access to Disney's collection of Check-In magazines at the studio archives. They have almost every issue published and I believe I have the second most complete collection. Many articles were used as human nature stories in our book Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years 1954-1988 I will do a feature on these Check-In magazines shortly.

Disneyland Hotel Check-In Magazine April-May 1965

Room Refurbishment 1965 - Details of the updates to the Garden Rooms

Close Up of Text - Had a request to post a close-up of the text section from the latest posting. Here you go!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jack Wrather Pondering

This is one of my favorite pictures of Jack Wrather. I wonder what he was thinking? I found this photo at the Wrather archives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1955 Overhead

The Disneyland Hotel is visible in the distance at the top middle of this photo. Guests staying at the Hotel at this time had absolutely no amenities whatsoever. I'm not sure of the date of this photo in 1955 and the Hotel may not have yet opened.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Historical Tour

Who is interested in a free, Disneyland Hotel historical tour? The tour is open to all and will take place on Friday, August 29th at 6:00. Meet under the Sorcerer's Hat at the Disneyland Hotel. I will be bringing some goodies from my own personal Disneyland Hotel collection and some photos to help illustrate the tour. I am hoping for a good turnout. Again, open to anyone who can attend and absolutely no charge. Please let me know if you are interested so we can plan accordingly. This should be fun!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Mysteries

I still have not been able to find answers for several dates on additions to the Disneyland Hotel. Here are the questions I would love to resolve:

1. When did the Disneyland Hotel sign on West Street get added? I have very early shots Oct. Nov. 1955 and no sign is present.

2. What date did the fourth North Garden structure open for business and further, when did they start building it? I have shots with and without the structure. I know it opened by July 4th, 1959.

3. What date did the fifth and sixth North Garden Structures open? When did construction start on these? I have conflicting information and photographs between 1960 and 1961.

4. When was the Little Gourmet Restaurant removed from the premises? I have an aerial photograph from March 24th, 1959 and the ground where the facility was is freshly dug up. I also have a 1958 shot showing the building in place. Also, I have not been able to locate a picture of the Littel Gourmet Restaurant either exterior or interior. I am sure someone has one somewhere.

5. Some time in 1980-81, a North Garden structure was removed to make way for the Rose Garden and Gazebo. What was the closing date of this structure? I know by autumn 1981, the building was removed.

I'll add more mysteries shortly.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thank Goodness for Ebay!

Thanks to Ebay, I was able to acquire some old Southern California brochures this past week. Some times, you can find golden nuggets of information contained within these brochures. This happened to be the case with these. I was finally able to get an exact count of rooms in the 1959 configuration of the Disneyland Hotel....234. I had never seen reference to this number in any other paper item in my collection, at the Disney Archives or at the Wrather Archives. The material all state "now over 200 guest rooms and suites." Another mystery solved but another still unsolved. I would like to get the exact date this fourth structure started construction and was opened. I know that it was open on July 4th 1959 and I would have to assume that this was planned to coincide with the busy summer season. I tried finding building permits with no luck and I tried looking up the contractor, again, no luck. The next iteration would have two final North Garden Structures in 1960 making for a total of six structures, the largest pre-tower configuration. More mysteries, I don't have exact dates for these openings either. One more mystery....some time between 1980 and 1981, one of these North garden Structures was removed to make way for the Rose Garden & Gazebo on the grounds. I do not have the exact dates. I do know that it was removed by autumn 1981.

Please look at my website when you can and tell your friends about this blog and my website. The more posts I get and people viewing my site makes me want to add more content to this blog.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Late 60's montage of the Disneyland Hotel

Dancing Waters, Crown and Pillow Pub, Monorail Bar, overhead from the Sierra Tower, glass elevator...from 1969 convention brochure

Friday, June 20, 2008

Late 60's Coffee House

This was taken inside the Coffe House which in 1986 became the Monorail Cafe

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Late 60's California Dining Room

This is from a 1969 convention brochure showing the different restaurants at the Disneyland Hotel

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Late 60's Patio Dining

I'm not sure if this was poolside or next to the Coffee House (which later became the Monorail Cafe)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The End of an Era

These 1999 photographs document the last days of the original Disneyland Hotel dating back to October 5th, 1955 when the Hotel first opened for business. I would like to credit Intercot West for these amazing shots that detail certainly a sad time for purists and history buffs of the original Disneyland Hotel. I'll say it again, I think it would have been no trouble at all for Disney to have left one original building standing as an historical site in remembrance of the beginnings of this wonderful facility. Especially considering there is only a grass field where these structures once stood. They could have decorated using 50's furniture and motif. They could have placed pictures on the walls depicting milestones from the Hotel's history. They could have used scale models showing the growth of the Disneyland Hotel. I know of many folks who would have loved to have seen this. I did hear that the original structures were in pretty bad shape though. Some retrofitting and they would have been fine. Now I hear they are talking about bringing down the Towers and building a brand-new Disneyland Hotel. The oldest building on the grounds now dates back to 1962 and what was the Sierra Tower.



6-13-1999 - The original structures are now fenced off and are awaiting destruction. They have but two short weeks of life left.


6-30-1999 - Close-up showing the demolition in progress.

6-30-1999 - The demolition machines doing their duty.

6-30-1999 - The buildings have just been demolished with one last piece standing.

7-14-1999 - The buildings have been demolished and only one small piece remains. Wonder why they left this piece up?

8-19-1999 - The last remaining piece has been removed.

9-8-1999 - Now paved over and made into a parking lot. A little under 44 years later and no more original structures remaining from the Original Disneyland Hotel.

Monday, June 16, 2008

1967 Overhead Shot

A 1967 aerial shot with the disneyland Hotel in the foreground. The new Tower annex had just been opened for about a year when this picture was taken. The Hotel at this time had just over 600 rooms.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Groundbreaking 1955

Newly discovered groundbreaking shot showing Jack and Bonita Wrather along with Anaheim Mayor, Charles Pearson

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Official Grand Opening, Disneyland Hotel August 25th, 1956

Although the Disneyland Hotel opened for business on October 5th, 1955, the "official" grand opening took place in late August of 1956. This was after the Hotel's shops and restaurants were opened and three additional graden structures were added to the grounds. The Hotel now had over 200 rooms, a full slate of shops and restaurants, an Olympic-Size swimming pool and tram service to and from Disneyland Park. The Hotel was near or at capacity nearly every night and was regularly turning away guests due to lack of rooms. This grand opening was a star studded affair and featured some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Walt Disney also attended the festivities himself. Pictures of Helen Alvarez on the grounds are extremely hard to find. She did not regularly show up at the Hotel and in fact, began to feud with the Wrather's almost from the day the Disneyland Hotel opened for business. The partnership (after many litigations) dissolved in early 1958. Souvenirs that have Wrather-Alvarez Hotels stamped on them are certainly the rarest and most valuable of collectible items from the Hotel's past.

Alan Ladd, Helen Alvarez, Jack Wrather, Bonita Granville-Wrather and a sideways Mazie Wrather cut the ribbon at the Disneyland Hotel's official grand opening ceremony in August of 1956

The two principal and majority owners of the original Disneyland Hotel, Mr. Jack Wrather and Miss Helen Alvarez in this newly found gala opening day event photo for the Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel's official grand opening. From left to right, Bonita Granville-Wrather, Helen Alvarez, Jack Wrather, Mazie Wrather (Jack's mother), Yvonne DeCarlo and William Bendix in this newly found photo.

Friday, June 13, 2008