Wrather, a petroleum millionaire from Texas, was also a television producer and investor in broadcast stations and resort properties. In addition to the Disneyland Hotel, he also owned lodges and hotels in Las Vegas and Palm Springs.
During Disneyland's construction, Walt negotiated a deal with Wrather and his business partner Maria Helen Avarez under which Wrather-Avarez would own and operate a hotel across the street from the theme park. Originally designed by the firm of Pereira & Luckman, the Disneyland Hotel was to open with the theme park, but various problems caused delays and ultimately postponed the debut until October 5, 1955.
Under Wrather's ownership, more rooms were added to the hotel over the years and even the Disneyland monorail was extended to its front door. The Disneyland Hotel was an obvious success.
In 1984, when Michael Eisner was first running the House of Mouse, he desperately wanted to get out of Disney's agreement with Wrather and have Disney own the hotel. But Wrather refused - as he had many times since the hotel first opened. In 1989 (five years after the death of Jack Wrather) Disney bought the entire Wrather company which not only included the Disneyland Hotel, but also the RMS Queen Mary and a domed exhibit that housed the famous Spruce Goose airplane (built by Howard Hughes).
Today none of the original parts of the Disneyland Hotel remain standing, as over the years the hotel has been remodeled and expanded numerous times.
Click HERE for more October 5 Disney history.
(Interested in more history about the hotel? Today in Disney History highly recommends Disneyland Hotel The Early Years by Donald Ballard.)