Featured Attractions

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Erector Set Hotel?

Past readers of this website (and any Disney fans or historians) may remember that the DISNEYLAND Hotel was originally owned by Jack Wrather, a Hollywood friend of Walt Disney. Mr. Wrather also owned the A.C. Gilbert Company, which manufactured the famous Erector set in the United States. Which of course must be the reason why the hotel's entrance looked like a life size Erector set, right?

Actually, it isn't. Mr. Wrather didn't own the A.C. Gilbert Company until 1961 and this structure was built in 1955. The hotel was designed with a mid-Century "atomic age" aesthetic by the Pereira and Luckman architectural firm, who also designed the swooping, googie inspired Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport. That Mr. Wrather would own the Erector set six years later appears to be a coincidence.

This structure would coincidentally get remodeled in 1961 when the DISNEYLAND Monorail was extended to include a stop at the hotel. (The futuristic look would fit right in with DISNEYLAND's "highway in the sky".) Another major remodel would take place in the 1970's, when a gigantic DISNEYLAND themed store opened in the space alongside new restaurants. The building would stand until 1999 when it was demolished to make way for Downtown Disney.