Monday, March 31, 2008


In my opinion, this is the best Disney/Disneyland site on the web:

I have spent countless hours scouring the pages of Yesterland. So many great pictures and stories.

The Expanding Disneyland Hotel

My posts are in no way in chronological order. In reality, my latest postings should have preceded the 1961 segment. Maybe if I have time, I will rearrange them in correct order. I get ideas for a posting and I just create them. I have also found, it's not easy to do this on a daily basis so please understand if some days go by between posts.

I only ask two things from the readers:

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hotel Shops Circa 1980

Here is an assortment of Plaza and Hotel Shop photos from 1980. This is for my good friend Hidden Mickey who requested to see some 1980's Plaza photos. Seems hard to believe these buildings are no longer there. It was so much fun just wandering through the shops and restaurants at the Disneyland Hotel or relaxing at the pool. I really miss the old two story Garden Structures as well. They were so comfortable.

Mickey's Corner

Disneyland Hotel Photo Shop

Disneyland Hotel Castle Sundries 1980

Jiminy Cricket's

Bambi's Infant Wear

Dumbo's Trunk

80's Plaza Shops

Friday, March 28, 2008

1957 Disneyland Hotel Brochure

This is one of three different brochures issued by the Disneyland Hotel in 1957. This is also the brochure which helped inspire me to write the book on the history of the hotel I won this brochure on an online auction as part of a package of Disneyland items. I was immediately fascinated by the Hotel, its architecture and its history and began collecting everything I could find on it. I had always liked staying at the Hotel but could never find any documented history on it which started me on my adventure. I will post covers of the other 1957 brochures shortly. Interesting item: in 1958, a fourth North Garden Structure was added to the Hotel and in 1960 two more structures were added. In none of the 1958-1961 brochures can you find mention of additional rooms at the Hotel. It wasn't until 1962 when the Tower Building was added that they specifically mention the addition of rooms, now up to 450. With eight structures, the tally was at 200 rooms which is stated in a brochure. No mention of additional rooms in 1958 or 1960.

Brochure Cover 1957

Amenities Galore at the Disneyland Hotel 1957


Disneyland Hotel Brochure 1957 Back Cover (with rates)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Guest Guide 1956 to 1958

I don't know about you but I want to see the "innards" of brochures from the 50's not just the covers. It tells so much about the Hotel and what was added and what was featured.

This was given to guests after they registered either in the Hotel Lobby or from their car. This brochure is unique in that no room number was pencilled in on the cover and no building was circled on the layout page. I have several of these same brochures with these markings but only one that was left blank. This was used in 1956, 1957 and partially in 1958 until a fourth North Garden Structure was added in 1958. I love the outfit the Bellman is wearing. Wouldn't it be fun if the Disneyland Hotel went retro and had their employees dress like this? It could add a whole new theme to the Disneyland Hotel. After all, it is the original Hotel of Disneyland, even if no structures remain that are featured in this brochure.

My main webpage is

1956 Brochure Cover

Early Disneyland Hotel Layout

Inside 1956 Brochure

1956 Brochure Interior

Back Cover 1956 Brochure

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

1955 Disneyland Hotel First Brochure After Hotel Opening

This is perhaps the second most rare (next to the Pre-Opening brochure) of the Disneyland Hotel paper items. This brochure came out in October 1955 and listed just 104 guest rooms. Many things were not yet open at the Hotel. In fact, as previously stated, only seven actual rooms were available when the Hotel opened on October 5th, 1955. They were using an eight as the office. There was only the Little Gourmet Restauarnt, the Richfield Service Station and the five guest room structures open for business. I am not sure of the actual date the Olympic Sized Pool opened but it was most likely late October, earl November 1955. The Hotel was solidly booked night after night with business being turned away nightly. There was a sense of urgency to complete the three North Garden structures to accomodate the many people requesting rooms. Work had begun on those even before the Hotel had opened. Meanwhile, work was also furiously underway on the Administration building, the restauarants and the Hotel shops.

Front Cover of 1955 Disneyland Hotel Brochure

First Blue Brochue Back Cover 1955

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Second Brochure After Disneyland Hotel Opening

This brochure came out in April/May 1956 and now listed 200 guest rooms the Gourmet Restaurant, shops, services and many other amenities that had since opened at the Disneyland Hotel. The Hotel also added the distinction of being a Master Hosts facility. There were now a total of eight guest room structures. Business was booming and occupancy rate was at or near 100% nightly.

1956 brochure front

1956 brochure back

Monday, March 24, 2008

Interior Conference Room Photographs

These four pictures were in a portfolio I was allowed to view by Molly Wrather Dolle, Jack Wrather's daughter. Shots like these are rare showing interiors of Hotel facilities. The original Disneyland Hotel had convention facilities located upstairs above the restaurants and shops. The rooms could be configured to handle small groups to large groups of 300 or more. Many Disneyland employees had their cast parties in these conference rooms.

Conference Room

Board of Directors Room

Board of Directors Room

Gourmet Banquet Room

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rare First Convention Brochure 1956

1956 Convention Brochure

From the time Jack Wrather first began plans for the Disneyland Hotel, he wanted to include convention facilities at the Hotel. The pictures below show the very first convention brochure from 1956. As they clearly state, Jack wanted to appeal to families. "By having your convention at the Disneyland Hotel, you can bring the whole family. They can enjoy Disneyland while you attend the convention." He also wanted to state that they could accomodate all different sized groups from 10 to 300 people. The first convention facilities were upstairs above the shops and restaurants. Tomorrow, I will post more pictures of the convention areas from the Molly Wrather Dolle collection.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Letter from Jack Wrather

I have to say, in all my research for the book "Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years 1954-1988" this letter was probably the most priceless find. It is well documented that Walt Disney was completely tapped for money when building Disneyland and had to solicit help to get a first-rate Hotel built near Disneyland. Walt had approached many major name chains, including Hilton but no one was interested in building a Hotel in the middle of orange groves in a largely unpopulated, rural area. Even Jack Wrather turned Walt down initially. After some convincing by Walt and with a sense of the possibilities of this venture, Jack Wrather was finally convinced to move forward with the project.

In this November, 1959 letter to architect William Pereira (who designed the original Disneyland Hotel with Bill Luckman), you can see that Jack makes mention of himself being considered a "crackpot" when he first built the Disneyland Hotel.

What I wouldn't give to be a fly on an orange tree when Walt was first talking with Jack Wrather about him building the Disneyland Hotel.

An interesting side note: there is no mention in either Walt or Jack's daytimers about any such meeting taking place in all of 1954. Rumor had it that in the spring of 1954, Walt first met Jack to discuss the building of the Hotel. This tells me it had to be informal and Walt kept it low key. The lease was signed in January of 1955.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back on Track (no pun intended)

Getting back to the 1961 Disneyland Hotel additions. The Monorail was a key addition to the Disneyland Hotel. No matter what kind of hotel or motel that would be added to the surrounding area of Disneyland, none could state they were directly connecetd to Magic Kingdom via Monorail. This feature alone was worth the extra the Disneyland Hotel cost per room than the other hotels in the area. It also allowed riders to avoid the crowds at the Disneyland front gate, whisking its passengers directly into Tomorrowland. Just hearing the deep, loud sounding horn from the Monorail was enough to know I was near heaven. We liked to stay in the two-story Garden Villas near the Monorail Station. It was a short walk to our room after a long day of walking at the Park. Another benefit was, a mid-day trip back to the Hotel for an afternoon swim in the Olympic size pool or a stop at the Monorail Cafe for the best milkshakes in town.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

1963 or 1964, Wrather's at the Disneyland Hotel

The Wrather family (minus Linda) at the Disneyland Hotel some time between 1963 and 1964. The first tower building had "Hotel Disneyland" atop the building due to the placement of the glass elevator. There was more space to the right of the elevator (facing the Hotel) so the longer of the two words would only fit there. In 1966, when the Tower Building was expanded, there was sufficient room to reverse the words and properly call it the Disneyland Hotel. Chris stated to me that the Hotel was by far his father's favorite business venture. Jack Wrather absolutely loved the Disneyland Hotel.

Bonita, Jack, Christopher and Molly Wrather

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Deviation from 1961

Pardon me for deviating from the continuation of the 1961 additions to the Disneyland Hotel. Since yesterday was the 53rd anniversary of the groundbreaking at the Hotel, I just had to post some information on that.

Fifty-three years ago (March 18, 1955), ground was broken for the Disneyland Hotel. Jack Wrather, Bonita Granville and Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson, using a specially made, three-handled shovel, dug the first spade of dirt on the grounds for the new, $10,000 Disneyland Hotel. The Hotel was slated to open at the same time as Disneyland in mid-July. Due to labor and union strikes, the Hotel would not open until October 5th, 1955. I have some other great items on the groundbreaking and will upload them shortly. What is interesting is, the official opening of the Hotel wasn't until August, 1956. I'll cover that subject on a future post.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mouseketeers at the Disneyland Hotel Pool

Close-up of the Mouseketeers at the Disneyland Hotel pool in 1956/57

This is a close-up picture of some of the Mouseketeers at the Disneyland Hotel pool . You can see some Mouseketeers (can anybody identify any of them?) plus Cubby O'Brien's drumset. TV station KTLA cameras are also present filming. I don't have any footage of the Mouseketeers at the Disneyland Hotel nor have I seen any from the Mickey Mouse Club TV show. Has anybody seen any footage of the Mouseketeers at the Disneyland Hotel?

Could that be Annette? Far left, short dark hair.

Monday, March 17, 2008


1961 was a dynamic year for the Disneyland Hotel. In the next few postings, I will discuss more in-depth the additions to the Hotel during this year and how they helped to create a model for the resort industry in the way of amenities for future resort locations, including Walt Disney World.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Great Shot of the Mouseketeers at the DH Pool

I received this picture from the Wrather family which was in a portfolio of historical Disneyland Hotel photos. It's a great shot of the Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers being filmed at the Disneyland Hotel. I was told these pictures were from 1956 or 1957. Looks like a big crowd to watch the activities which also includes a band and the KTLA cameras and film crew. See the close-up photo below with more details. I will post more of these pictures from the Wrather family periodically.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Colorized Richfield advertisement

I received a file from Chris Jepsen at the Orange County Archives of a Richfield advertisement at the Disneyland Hotel. I paid to have a graphics artist colorize the ad using Richfield colors and adding the Disneyland Hotel sign to the image. I like the 50's look to this version of the advertisement.

Friday, March 14, 2008

RCA TV newspaper ad 1955

A 1955 newspaper ad announcing that the Disneyland Hotel had chosen RCA as its television supplier. An RCA TV can be seen in the room interior in the picture listed below.

RCA TV text close-up

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What's That on the Table?

A close-up of the guest room on the table. What's that there? Why it's the color 1955 newspaper insert announcing the arrival of Disneyland. Each room had a copy of the insert so the Hotel's guest could get a preview of Disneyland.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rare Inside Guest Room Photo, 1956

This is a very rare shot of inside a typical guest room at the Disneyland Hotel in 1956. I just love those 50's patterns on the curtains. The couch made out into a bed, each room had a patio (first floor) or a balcony (second floor) and an RCA TV. It was also advertised that each ground floor room had its very own orange tree. Room rates started at $9 a night!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

August 1955 Overhead

Disneyland Hotel from August 1955

Thanks to Chris Jepsen at the Orange County Archives for the two extreme overhead shots listed below. Check out Chris's blog when you get a chance He has some amazing stuff from OC's history. I just love seeing all the pictures too.

This picture was taken about three weeks after the overhead shot from July, 1955. Progress on the original five South Garden structures is evident. The first rooms would open in two months from the time of this picture. The building south of the Richfield Station would house the first ever restaurant at the Hotel and would be called the Little Gourmet. Progress is also seen on the Administration complex with forms being laid out. At this point, construction was taking place at a furious pace on the Disneyland Hotel.

My guess would be this photo was taken shortly before the Disneyland Hotel opened on October 5th, 1955. I would say mid to late August, 1955. The South Garden structures look near complete although the parking lot is not yet paved. Progress can aslo be seen on the construction of the Restauarants and Administration area. The pool is not yet done. The Richfield Station is open and has customers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Brochures

Many of my favorite items in my Disneyland Hotel collection are the various brochures handed out over the years. These brochures offered snap-shots and are living time capsules into the details of the facility. I will be posting several of these in the days to come. I am also going to try to show some inside brochure pictures which will detail the growth of the Disneyland Hotel as new amenities, features and services were introduced. As Disneyland grew, so too did the Disneyland Hotel. Hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Overhead July 1955

Disneyland area including Disneyland Hotel

A July 1955 overhead shot showing Disneyland just two days from opening. In the lower left corner, the Disneyland Hotel can be seen in its construction phase. The first five guest rooms are under construction, the pool area has been dug and land has been cleared for the Administartion, Restaurant and Shops section of the Hotel. Laor strikes had plagued the progress on the construction of the Disneyland Hotel, the very same labor problems had earlier plagued Walt Disney and Disneyland. The Richfield Service Station can be seen and is open for business. It's the white building on fresh pavement. Another interesting note, the ground has also been cleared for the three North Garden structures. West Street (adjacent to the Richfield Station) is now paved. The main exit from Disneyland spills directly out on West Street at the entrance to the Disneyland Hotel as planned by Walt Disney and Jack Wrather.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disneyland Times 7-1955

Disneyland Times announcing the opening of the Disneyland Hotel

This ad appeared in a July issue of the Disneyland Times sold within Disneyland Park. The ad states that rooms would be available by August 15th but due to several labor strikes, the opening date was actually October 5th. Even on October 5th, only seven rooms were available to rent with an eighth being used as the Hotel Office/Lobby/Registration Room. These original rooms were removed in July of 1999 to make way for the Hotel's renovation and Downtown Disney. Wouldn't it have been nice to leave one structure up as a permanent museum to document and display the Hotel's rich history? You can go to the spot of these original rooms which is located in the grass area next to the outdoor wedding grounds at the Disneyland Hotel today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

1955 Disneyland Hotel brochure

Amenities at the Disneyland Hotel 1955!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I have convention brochures from all eras of the Disneyland Hotel. I also have some great photos from the Molly Wrather Dolle portfolio which I will also be posting. Ironically, it was the need for continual updates to convention facilities which led to the demise of the Wrather Corporation. To grow and attract more business, it was necessary to expand. Especially considering that new hotels were springing up all over the Disneyland area and the Anaheim Convention Center was added in 1967. It was the 1972 facilities (currently in place at the Hotel) which basically bankrupted the Disneyland Hotel. They never could quite recover from the loans needed to build the grand convention facilities you can see today at the Hotel. I wish I could have included these shots in the book but I didn't have access to them until after the book was released.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

1955 Disneyland Hotel Brochure

Inside the 1955 Disneyland Hotel brochure

Monday, March 3, 2008

New photos

I am uploading several photographs received from Molly Wrather Dolle, the eldest daughter of Jack Wrather. Molly and Jack Jr (deceased) were the children of Jack and his first wife Molly O'Daniel who herself was the daughter of former Texas Governor, W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel. Jack Wrather was of course, the original owner of the Disneyland Hotel along with Helen Alvarez and Jack's mother Mazie. Hope you like these pictures. Jack would later (1947) marry actress Bonita Granville which would produce two more children Linda and Christopher. Chris wrote the introduction to my book on the history of the Disneyland Hotel.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Please tell me what you would like to see. I have over 7000 images from the Disneyland Hotel's past. Overhead shots? Mini golf course? Monorail? Monorail Cafe? Shops? Restaurants? Ephemera? I want to make the site fun for all.