Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mall and Plaza Brochure

Mid 80's brochure listing the locations of the shops in the Disneyland Hotel Mall and Plaza Buildings

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Plaza Building

In 1966, the Disneyland Hotel underwent a $5.5 million expansion. The Tower Building was expanded to almost twice as big and the Plaza Building was added to the Hotel. The Plaza featured specialty shops of artwork, clothing, toys, restaurants and office space for the Hotel. The building space was leased to clients to sell their wares. The shops changed names and owners over the years and the building did not survive the 1999 demolition. See the mid 80's brochures for the tenants at that time in the Plaza as well as the Hotel Mall. I remember shopping in these buildings and getting an ice-cream from the shop in the Plaza.

Plaza Construction - From May of 1966, the construction of the Disneyland Hotel Plaza Building. My thanks to whomever I got this photo from. I can't seem to remember.

Plaza Building and Hotel Mall - View from the Sierra Tower at the Disneyland Hotel circa 1980

On the ground level at the Disneyland Hotel Plaza Building. This was actually one floor below the ground level of the Disneyland Hotel.

The Plaza Building at the Disneyland Hotel circa 1970. The building featured specialty shops and Hotel offices located on the third floor.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

1976 Disneyland Hotel Convention Facilities

By 1976, the Disneyland Hotel's convention facilities were in full swing and could accomodate groups and functions of all sizes. This was just two years prior to the Hotel's addition of the third and final tower, the Bonita in 1978. The overhead drawing looks a bit funny and asymmetrical without the third tower. This was right around the time the Hotel began pushing Tower rooms over Garden Villa rooms. In fact, the Hotel would convert two South Garden structures into office buildings around the late 70's and a whole wing would be removed in the early 80's to make way for the Rose Garden and Gazebo in the North Garden area. Many large groups and companies such as GM, Bell Telephone, AMA, Boy Scouts and numerous others used the Hotel to hold their conventions.

This 1976 Exhibit Facilities brochure lists the floorplans and capacities for potential conventions at the Disneyland Hotel

With facilities that could accomodate the largest of conventions, the Disneyland Hotel was well equipped for major events.

The Magnolia and Embassy Rooms were the original convention facilities at the Disneyland Hotel and continued on even after the 1972 opening of the new convention facilities adjacent to the Marina Tower.

1976 convention brochure about two years before the last tower (Bonita) was built.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Original Garden Structures at the Dineyland Hotel

The lease was signed on January 21st, 1955 between Walt Disney, Jack & Mazie Wrather and Helen Alvarez to develop, build and operate the Disneyland Hotel. The press quickly announced the plans in several major newspapers. The Hotel opened on October 5th, 1955 with only seven rooms and an eight used as the registration lobby. The new Administration Building, shops and restaurants opened about six months later along with other guest accomodation structures. Move ahead a little under 44 years later, the original buildings of the Hotel were cleared to make way for Downtown Disney and a host of new shops and restaurants. In just a few short weeks, the original Disneyland Hotel ceased to be. Gone were the original rooms of Jack's little motel in the orange groves. Gone were countless happy memories of these buildings shared by families from all over the world who enjoyed the Hotel. Hopefully, these pictures will help many to relive their memories of the original Disneyland Hotel.

January 1955 Newspaper - An early 1955 newspaper announcement just after the lease had been signed by Jack Wrather with Walt Disney. Details of this new facility are also disclosed in the article.

Early 1955 Overhead - Construction of the original five units of the Disneyland Hotel. Very rare photograph.

1956 Overhead - Clear view overhead of the original five buildings at the Disneyland Hotel. The next three buildings (1956) are also shown as well as the Administration Building, new lobby, Richfield Service Station and Little Gormet Restaurant.

Garden Room floorplan drawing - A typical Garden Room in the South Garden Structure area (later Oriental Gardens).

Balcony View - From the southern-most Garden Structure of the original structures at the Disneyland Hotel.

View from Garden Structure - A close-up view and a rare one at that. This view depicts the sign for the Little Gourmet Rstaurant which was built from an existing ranch house located on the property. I have no photos of inside the original Little Gourmet and only this one with any mention of it. The sign is above the lighter of the two cars in the background.

Balcony View - From the balcony of an original Garden Structure building on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel. This picture dates to around 1960.

Garden Wing 1957 - A picture of the original Garden Structure buildings at the Disneyland Hotel dated 1957

prior to demolition in 1999 - A rare shot from the parking lot of the original five garden structures at the Disneyland Hotel. These rooms date back to October, 1955 when the Disneyland Hotel first opened. Thanks to Jason Schultz for this photo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fashion Shows at the Disneyland Hotel

From the time it opened in mid-1956, the Round-the-World Lounge featured fashion shows every Thursday afternoon at noon. I don't have an exact year these fashion shows ended. This was a great way in which the shops at the Disneyland Hotel could advertise their products. The models wore clothing, bathing attire, jewelry, handbags, shoes and other items for sale within the grounds. Many clothing ads were also shot on the beautiful grounds using the pool or the other buildings at the Hotel as backdrops. Boy have fashions changed since these shots!

1959 Disneyland Hotel Brochure - Brochure listing fashion shows

Close-up of the 1959 Disneyland Hotel Brochure - Ad for fashion shows at the Disneyland Hotel, 1959

Disneyland Hotel TV Guide ad from 1958 - Ad for fashion show at the Disneyland Hotel

Inside the Round-the-World Lounge at the Disneyland Hotel, fashion shows took place every Thursday at noon

Fashion Show next to the Pool - With an original Garden Room structure in the rear, models pose for shots from a fashion show circa 1958 at the Disneyland Hotel

Close-up of the Disneyland Hotel Coral Club sign

The Fashion Show moves from the Restaurant to Poolside

Early 60's Fashion Ad

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rare view inside the Presidential Suite at the Disneyland Hotel

Not many people have seen nor stayed in the Presidential Suite at the Disneyland Hotel. These shots give a rare inside look inside this room in what most working class families could only dream about ever staying in. Starting at near $80 a night in the 1960's, rates soared to over $500 a night in the late 80's. At 1250 square feet, this was bigger than my first house! President Nixon used this room during his stay at the Hotel in the 1968 Presidential campaign run. It frequently hosted top named celebrities and corporate executives or even friends and family to the Wrather family. The suite opened in 1962 with the completion of the first Tower Building, later the Sierra Tower. I don't know what they are calling the building now days.

Rare view inside the Presidential Suite at the Disneyland Hotel in the mid to late 1980's

Presidential Suite Floorplan 1980's - At 1250 square feet, this was one of the largest rooms available to very special (amd wealthy) Disneyland Hotel guests

1978 Disneyland Hotel Room rates - The Presidential Suite would have cost you $300 a night at the Disneyland Hotel in 1978.

Presidential Suite in the 1960's - Looks pretty drab in black and white

Penthouse Suite 1980's - Looks much better in color

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Layout 1972

I had a request from a blog reader to show a layout of where the various shops and restaurants were on the grounds. This picture is from a 1972 "Check-In" magazine which was given to guests upon registration at the Disneyland Hotel.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fake Sign at the Disneyland Hotel

This postcard depicts a fake Disneyland Hotel sign on it most likely drawn in to add advertisement value to the postcard. The sign actaually faces away from West Street which the Hotel was on and would not help to advertise the Hotel at all from the front of the facilities. The actual sign was further south and at the entrance to the Hotel on West Street. It also faced the Disneyland parking lot so exiting guests would clearly see the Disneyland Hotel entrance. I am not sure how rare this postcard is as I don't have an exact copy without the drawn in sign. I have many other postcards and pictures from this similar view, none of which have this sign drawn in on them. This postcard dates from 1956-1958 but was sold for many years at the park and the Hotel.

Note the sign in this postcard. This sign was drawn in on the postcard and never actually existed in this area of the Hotel. The sign would have been backwards facing away from West Street.

No Disneyland Hotel sign in this picture

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kicking Myself

Want to hear something strange? I remember checking into the Disneyland Hotel (probably 1994-95) and getting a Garden Room in one of the original five structures. Of course, this was several years before I had the idea to write the book on the Disneyland Hotel. I was in the room for all of ten minutes when my wife called the front desk to request a new room because our room smelled badly like cigarette smoke. If I could only go back and cancel that request and savor the original room for a few nights (smell and all). If I had only known. At least I got to spend some time in one of the original structures at the Disneyland Hotel, dating back to October of 1955! I remember thinking how cool the room looked. Very 50's. Even better, when I turned the TV on during the brief stay, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was playing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

1950's Disneyland Hotel Ad

Very early on, the Disneyland Hotel wanted to attract conventions. This ad from 1957 mentions convention facilities available at the Disneyland Hotel

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Early Playground at the Disneyland Hotel

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If pressed, I would date these photographs to 1957 or 1958. They depict the first playground facilities at the Disneyland Hotel and offered another fun activity for the kids who were guests at the Hotel. The area in which they were located would later become the southwest corner of the first Tower Building (later Sierra Tower) on the grounds. See the overhead drawing for the playground's location on the grounds of the Hotel. These pictures depict a typical 1950's playground with swings, a slide, hang bars, a Jungle Jim and lots of sand. Not unlike many other playgrounds sprouting up all over America as the baby boomer generation was being born. The playground was changed and moved over the years and I will present other pictures from later years in a future post. Early playground pictures like these are very hard to find. I want to thank Molly Wrather-Dolle for sharing these pictures with me. Molly is of course, Jack Wrather's daughter. Jack and Helen Alvarez were the original owners of the Disneyland Hotel along with Jack's mother Mazie.

Overhead drawing showing location of the Disneyland Hotel Playground - To give some perspective of where the playground was located in the mid-50's at the Disneyland Hotel. This area would become the first Tower Building at the Hotel in 1962.

Early shot of the first playground at the Disneyland Hotel 1950's - The Garden Structures are visible in the background of this mid 50's shot at the Disneyland Hotel. These images are very hard to find.

Disneyland Hotel Playground mid-50's - Rare shot of the Playground at the Disneyland Hotel 1950's

Very rare shot of the playground at the Disneyland Hotel mid-50's

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1956 Disneyland Hotel Convention Brochure

Early Convention Facilities at the Disneyland Hotel

Even at the design phase with the architects, Jack Wrather stressed the need of group meeting and convention facilities for the Disneyland Hotel. Jack felt that this would attract whole families to the Park and the Hotel. While dad was at his conference during the day, mom and the kids were enjoying themselves at Disneyland Park. With the convenient Disneyland Hotel Tram, families could unite at lunch for a delicious meal and to discuss the days events. There were varied groups (as the pictured brochures attest) holding their conventions at the Disneyland Hotel. Disneyland even used the facilities for their get-togethers and award ceremonies. The facilities featured all the latest in modern amenities: projectors, audio jacks, multiple electrical outlets and all rooms were air-conditioned. The rooms could be sub-divided to accomodate from 10-1000 people depending on the need. In a future post, I will discuss the Embassy Room and Magnolia Ballroom which were later convention iterations at the Disneyland Hotel

Interior 1956 brochure showing floorplans of conference rooms

Testimonials from groups who had held conventions at the Disneyland Hotel

Monday, May 19, 2008

1956 Convention Brochure

The Disneyland Hotel catered to numerous conventions from the onset of the Hotel's opening.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

1958 Convention Brochure

Magicians Convention from 1958

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Atari Adventure

This photo was taken of Mr. Wrather after it was known he had cancer. He would succumb to the disease less than two years from this photo. This has always been sad to me to see how much he had aged after being diagnosed with cancer.

Disneyland Hotel employee newsletter

Friday, May 16, 2008

Disneyland Hotel Marina.....

Some more great shots of the Disneyland Hotel Marina.

Queen Mary, Pedal Boat, Bonita Tower and the Seaports of the Pacific.

Seaports of the Pacific - Pedal Boats in the foreground and the Bonita Tower on the left.

Queen Mary scale model - The Wrather Corporation also owned the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, CA. This is a scale model which was berthed in the marina at the Disneyland Hotel. This model was used in the filming of the movie "The Poseidon Adventure."

Remote Control Area - This is where you paid to remotely control the little boats in the Marina