Saturday, August 28, 2010

Water Wonderland part 3

Water Wonderland included a number of new and updated attractions around the marina area and at the base of the newly opened Bonita Tower. In front of the Tower was the new $2-million, four-acre Aqua Gardens. It featured the 165-foot wide, crescent-shaped Horseshoe Falls, the top of which was a bridge for guests of the Bonita Tower to use as a link to the wharf. Also included in this area were a beautifully landscaped rain forest, a series of reflecting pools, and rapids. Finally, there was a fish pond grotto (inhabited by over 400 very expensive Japanese Imperial Koi fish), landscaped in the style of Japanese gardens. While the Aqua Gardens may have had a distinctively tropical atmosphere, in actuality all of the plants, trees, and rocks needed for this new area had been transported only from nearby San Bernardino and the Sierra Mountains.
Overhead shortly after the Bonita Tower opened.

A rare view of the new waterways at the Disneyland Hotel.

Careful attention to detail provided for beautiful scenery.

A beautiful night-time shot of the Water Wonderland at the Disneyland Hotel. This picture was another fron an archive that probably has not seen the light of day in over 30 years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Water Wonderland part 2

In today's posting, I am including two pictures not seen in (what I am guessing) over 30 years. These pictures were locked away in archive folders possibly never to be seen again. I will be posting many more rare photos coming up and I hope you enjoy them.

On Thursday, June 7, 1979, the Disneyland Hotel began a four day celebration to herald the opening of Water Wonderland, located in and around the marina area. The first evening's event was called "Celebrity Cruise to Water Wonderland," a red carpet cocktail party for 7,000 specially invited guests, dressed in nautical attire. Guests were provided a walking tour of the new Aqua Gardens (called "Journey to Aquatic Wonders") and a debut of the Still Green laser sculpture show. Guests were entertained by a floating musical revue ("Pacific Terrific") from a barge in the middle of the marina. Included were a Polynesian ceremonial torch lighting, a fiesta of Mexican music, exhibits of Japanese culture, and fireworks. Following was a premiere of the all new Dancing Waters and Lights Fantastic Show. Invited guests then attended the "Captain's Dinner," hosted by the Wrathers and featuring Japanese, Mexican, and Californian cuisine. The dinner ended with "Showtime Around the World," a musical production presented by Cast Members from Disneyland.

Water Wonderland 1979 Brochure

Each evening at dusk the trumpeting of a conch shell and the beating of a Taiko drum could be heard. Pacific islanders, each wearing a colorful loin-cloth, performed a ceremonial lighting of the propane torches surrounding the marina.

As a part of Water Wonderland, a giant laser sculpture was premiered. Commissioned by Jack Wrather, the laser art was entitled Still Green (a.k.a. Rather Green) by Rockne Krebs, a pioneer in laser art.  The blue-green laser sculpture was presented nightly and could be viewed from many guest rooms. One argon laser was placed atop the Sierra Tower while another was located on the seventh floor of the Marina Tower, shooting two beams 500 feet across the marina. A third was positioned on the roof of Restaurant Row and shot its beam at a small mirror atop the Convention Center, 700 feet away. Nine small mirrors were placed in various locations around the property. As the laser beam hit a mirror, it was redirected to yet another mirror. One beam traveled a half mile to the fifth floor of the Inn-at-the-Park. Eventually, 14 lines of light formed the design of the laser sculpture, covering over 14-million cubic feet of space. Described as a 3-D collage, it was comprised of giant triangles and other unusual geometric shapes. It was so large that no one could view the entire work from one location. Guests walking through the Hotel's property would see an ever-changing configuration of this piece of art. Adding to the sculpture's effects upon the viewer were its reflections in the calm water of the marina and off the charcoal-tinted windows of the three towers. The condition of the atmosphere would also change the sculpture from night to night. Smog, rain, dust, all affected the color and visibility of Still Green.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Wrather Story

Here is an interesting two-page article detailing the Wrather Story.

The interesting item here is a picture of J.D. Wrather senior, Jack's father as well as a photo of Jack Wrather with Walt Disney on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel.

This brochure was published not long after Jack's passing when his son Christopher took over as President of Wrather Corp. I would date this brochure from 1985 or 1986.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Bye Waterfalls

The demolition of the Disneyland Hotel waterfalls in front of the Bonita Tower (I refuse to call it by any other name) is taking place as I write this post. I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of the actual construction of the falls from the late 70's. What makes some of these photos even more special is the photographer- Bonita Granville-Wrather herself! Hope you enjoy these pictures as soon, they are all we will have left of the falls that lasted over thirty-years at the Disneyland Hotel.

The falls at the Disneyland Hotel were part of the new Water Wonderland at the Disneyland Hotel which opened in June of 1979.

Construction shot of the falls taken by BGW

More construction

The completed falls.

 It's very sad to see them go. In spite of petitions and campaigns to keep them, Disney decided their time had come. Next week, I will post some info on what is replacing this area at the Disneyland Hotel.

Bonus black and white shot. is our website for the book on the history of the Disneyland Hotel. We are also doing a rewrite in addendum versions with much more text and tons more great pictures. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

1968 Disneyland Hotel Brochure

I would have to believe I have just about every paper item available from the Disneyland Hotel. Just about. This posting features a 1968 brochure which I do not have but was lucky enough to get nice, high resolution scans of. This came out just after Jack Wrather announced the huge expansion plans for the Disneyland Hotel in 1968.

Brochure cover

Some details of the expansion which would have 1,000 guest rooms in a brand-new tower buidling.

This is a wonderful overhead view which details the locations of the new facilties.

Back cover of this 1968 brochure.The new tower would actually (partially) open in December of 1969. This would lead to the relocation of the original registration lobby from West Street to Cerritos Street and give the Disneyland Hotel a new address.

Please check out our website and get your copy of the Disneyland Hotel book. There are less than 200 more copies available.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jack Wrather & Molly O'Daniel Wrather

On July 31, 1941, Jack Wrather married Molly O'Daniel, the daughter of then Texas Governor Wilbert Lee (Pappy) O'Daniel. O’Daniel invited everyone in the state to come to the wedding at the Governor’s Mansion. A crowd estimated at 25,000 cheered as Molly and Jack took their vows. The brief marriage, produced two children, Jack D. III and Molly.

Today I am posting extremely rare pictures of Jack Wrather's first marriage ceremony. In fact, I would bet that these pictures have not been seen in almost 70 years! This post is for Molly Dolle the daughter of Jack and Mollie O'Daniel Wrather and I hope it brings a smile to her face.

Taking their vows

The Bride and Groom. What a beautiful couple!

   Cutting the cake.

With guests at the reception

Sharing the wedding cake

The Groomsmen....the only person I can identify is Jack's mother Mazie in the center of the photograph

First born child, Miss Molly Wrather with who I am guessing is Molly's mother

Hope you enjoyed these very rare photographs of the man who gave you the Disneyland Hotel.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Thousand Thanks to Major Pepperidge

Tonight I would like to pay tribute to a fellow blogger David/Major Pepperidge from the wonderful blog site

David single-handedly updated this blog to make it 1,000 times easier for readers to download the contents and look at the posts. He spent almost an entire weekend (probably even longer) working to correct the mistakes I had made in the creation of this blog. You should all notice how much easier it is to access the posts. I just cannot thank him enough for the wonderful work he did for me. It was a total unselfish thing to do and really show the kindness of the Disney bloggers. His blog is a must see and has some amazing pictures and information. I am just blown away at all he did for me.

Thank you David.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jack Wrather & New Bride Bonita Granville Wrather

Here are some wonderful pictures from 1947 just after Jack Wrather married Bonita. The first one has Jack carrying Bonita over the threshold into their new home.

Next, we have the couple enjoying their morning breakfast.

Last picture shows the newlyweds enjoying a game of cards. Jack's first marriage lasted only a few years however his marriage to Bonita lasted the rest of his life. They were not the typical Hollywood couple and cherished their family life.

Bonita gave up her acting career to help her husband with his many business ventures. She did resume her career shortly in the 50's in acting, producung and directing roles. Bonita was instrumental in many design projects at the Disneyland Hotel. She helped run the company after Jack's passing in 1984 with her son Christopher.