Featured Attractions

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Vacation Kingdom on West Street

Up until 1985, DISNEYLAND and the other Disney parks around the world were not open every day. During the offseason, DISNEYLAND would often close on Mondays and Tuesdays, inspiring frustration (and a rather successful movie). Maintenance crews would take advantage of these weekly windows to work on larger refurbishment projects away from the public eye. This created a problem for the park's namesake hotel which often had rooms full of guests who had nothing to do. Jack Wrather, who owned the hotel at the time decided to build up his hotel to have unique and amazing amenities that guests could spend whole days enjoying.

So he built a marina right in the middle of the hotel. Guests could use the paddle boats, explore uniquely themed shops or just enjoy the view.

The marina grew over the years and eventually included a video game room that rivaled even the one at Tomorrowland across the street- Atari's Video Adventure, which was actually built below water level for an extra amazing experience.

A precursor to today's Downtown Disney, the Disney Mall and Plaza Shops provided guests with a dazzling array of souvenirs and unique merchandise. It was always a treat to see what was new. And DISNEYLAND Hotel guests could enjoy a comfortable shopping experience even when the park was closed.

The exotic Seaports of the Pacific made guests feel like they were in uncharted lands; not standing in suburban Los Angeles. The DISNEYLAND Hotel was truly a destination in its own right.

When the park began daily, year round operations, some of the amenities were scaled back. After The Walt Disney Company purchased the property from Bonita Wrather, the goal was to sell longer stay passes, so the company closed or replaced more of the amenities. In 1999, as construction of the DISNEYLAND Resort began in earnest, most of the hotel's amenities were bulldozed to make way for Downtown Disney. While the hotel still has a ton of things to do onsite, most of the services and entertainment it used to provide has moved east to Downtown Disney.