The Disneyland Hotel celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. It’s is my favorite property at the Disneyland Resort for many reasons–both past and present. The recently renovated and updated hotel is modern in every way yet offers guests subtle (and not so subtle) reminders of its historic past through its decor and artifacts.
One of the things I love most about the Disneyland Hotel is its place in history. Over the years, it has boasted a lot of “firsts” for the region and the travel industry. Here are just a few I recently learned about while taking a tour of the Resort hotels and doing a bit of digging on this place I like to call “my Disney home away from home.”
- The Disneyland Hotel was the first major resort in Orange County and the first prominent hotel to open in all of Southern California since the 1940s when it welcomed its first guest in 1955. When the hotel first open, it had a grand total of seven guest rooms, with an eighth used for registration. The hotel’s official grand opening wasn’t held until August of 1956 when it had grown to 204 rooms, 17 shops and a cocktail lounge and several restaurants. The affair was a star-studded event.
As Disneyland added attractions through the years, the hotel kept adding rooms. In 1962, the opening of the 11-story Tower Building (today’s Adventure Tower) added 150 rooms and became Orange County’s first high-rise. The 319-room Marina Tower (the Fantasy Tower) opened in 1970, and included a new registration lobby. The hotel opened its $7.2 million Convention Center in 1972, becoming the county’s largest self-contained hotel and meeting property. At 13 stories, the 367-room Bonita Tower (the Frontier Tower) opened in 1978. At that time, it was Anaheim’s tallest building. Today, in all, the Disneyland Hotel offers 973 guest rooms and they sell many nights of the year.
- The Disneyland Hotel was one of the first hotels in the world to cater to families traveling with children. Business travelers (men, in those days) could travel to the hotel for business, but the Disneyland Hotel made rooms that these business travelers could bring their families to. Accommodations were made that included higher plugs and special precautions for hot water in order to protect young, curious fingers. Over the years, the hotel has provided its young guests with wonderful activities ranging from fishing (that’s right you could FISH at the Disneyland Hotel) to arcades to water shows. Today, it offers families a multitude of amazing experiences, including Monorail-themed water slides and a pool area complete with complimentary swim diapers and swim vests, delicious kid meals at Tangaroa Terrace, cartoons and kid-size chairs in the lobby, rooms with special Disney touches and access to everyone’s favorite character dining restaurant, Goofy’s Kitchen.
- The hotel’s Embassy Ballroom opened in 1960 as Orange County’s first ballroom.
- The Disneyland Hotel became the nation’s first hotel structure with a solar heating system in 1978.
The Disneyland Hotel continues to set the standard for a magical vacation with exceptional guest service and an attention to design that is modern and sophisticated while providing a sold link to the past of the hotel and the history of Disneyland Park at the same time.
Want to learn more about the history of the Disneyland Hotel and the role it has played in making the Disneyland Resort what it is today? The Disneyland Hotel offers two absolutely FREE tours. Yes, that’s right: two FREE tours. You do NOT have to be a hotel guest or have park admission! The first is the Happiest Hotel on Earth tour that provides a deep dive on the history and magic of the Disneyland Hotel. The second is the 60 Years of Magic tour that provides an overview of all of the Resort (“on property) hotels and discusses how each of them have been an important part of the growth and magic of the Disneyland Resort. Reservations can be made by calling the Disneyland Hotel (714) 778-6600. You will likely have to ask for the front desk and they will be able to tell you when each tour is offered, as the schedule changes monthly. These tours are a “must” for Disneyland history buffs!
Title image courtesy of the Disneyland Resort.