Yesterland
AT YESTERLAND.COM
Four Ways to Enjoy Golf
at the Yesterland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

You might think that being across the street from the world-famous park and sharing its name would be all it would take to make this hotel a popular place for vacationers and conventioneers. That’s not how the owner sees it. He wants you to have a great time at the hotel itself, especially if your definition of a great time includes golf.

Golfers, you’ve come to the right place.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

A corner of the 1964 souvenir map

Can you find four places to hit a golf ball with a golf club on this map?

Three are easy to find. One is a bit harder. Read on, and you’ll know what to look for.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

18-hole Putting Green

Test your putting prowess at the “championship” 18-hole putting green. It’s right next to the olympic size swimming pool and the shuffleboard courts.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

18-hole, par 3 Golf Course

Enjoy the challenging 18-hole, all grass, par 3 golf course with its ponds, waterfalls, and meandering streams. Seven water holes and sand traps galore await your six, seven, eight and nine iron shots. In fact, hole 17 is on an island in the middle of a lake. It’s a challenge to the very best golfer, as well as fun and excitement for the amateur.

Practice your drives and correct your hooks on the 50-tee, 250-yard driving range.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Miniature Golf Course

For family fun, there’s the 18-hole Miniature Golf Course—the Magic Kingdom Golf Course—with landmarks of Disneyland Park.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Posing at the Matterhorn
 

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Mickey and guests at the 18th hole
 

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Magic Kingdom Golf Course score card

Each hole of the Miniature Golf Course is based on something that you’ll find at the park across the street. Hole 5 features the Matterhorn. The Rocket to the Moon awaits you at hole 7. There’s also eerie Skull Rock, but you’ll have to wait until hole 13 for that one.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Pleasant relaxation

If you enjoy golf, you’ve checked in to right hotel—the hotel with the 40-acre Golf Centre. Everything is lighted for your pleasure, so you can play day or evening.


Although the Disneyland Hotel had a putting green since 1956, the hotel’s three major golf features were announced in 1960 and opened in 1961. Here’s what the Los Angeles Times wrote about the plans on November 6, 1960:

Hotel to Build $500,000 Golf Course, Driving Range

Jack Wrather, president of the Disneyland Hotel, announced that construction will start in the near future on a $500,000 18-hole three-par goff course together with a 50-position driving range and pro shop and a unique 18-hole miniature golf course adjacent to the Disneyland Hotel.

The new project covers 10 acres of the present hotel property an additional 30 acres obtained from Disneyland, Inc.

According to Wrather, this will be one of the largest three-par golf courses on the West Coast and is part of an overall plan to develop the Disneyland Hotel as not only a major hotel but as one of the leading convention centers in the United States.

The Disneyland Hotel, presently with 306 rooms and dining and banquet facilities seating a total of 1,750 persona, will upon completion of the golf course project, cover 60 acres, making it one of the largest hotel operations in the world.

The announcement meant that the hotel that Jack Wrather had been fond of calling “the little motel in the middle of the orange grove” would have the orange groves to its west and north removed.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Golf Course construction (1961 photo)

What had once been an orange grove between the hotel and Walnut Avenue became the project’s largest part, the 18-hole golf course.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Aerial view (1961 photo)

While the three new golf features opened in 1961, the rest of the Disneyland Hotel was a campus of two-story buildings. That would soon change.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Yellow is Driving Grange; Red is Miniature Golf; Blue is Putting Green; Green is Golf Course (1963 photo)

Today, the Disneyland Hotel is dominated by three large towers. The first of these towers, originally simply called the Tower Building, opened in 1961. Rooms had beautiful views of the golf course to the west and the olympic size pool to the east.

The tower is still there today. It’s now the northern half of the Adventure Tower.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

150-room Tower Building (1962 photo)

Even though the tower came just a year after the opening of the golf course, it was the beginning of the end for that course.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Tower Building expanded to 300 rooms (1966 photo)

In 1965, construction of an addition to the Tower Building was underway. The hotel’s expansion also added more restaurant, retail, and conference capacity.

The hotel needed far more parking.

So, in 1965, new parking lots in two corners of the golf course meant that the 18-hole course became a 9-hole course. In a few more years, those remaining holes would disappear too.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Construction of Marina Tower and Water World marina (1969 photo)

By 1969, the golf course was gone. A second tower, to be called Marina Tower, was under construction around the corner from the first tower, now renamed Sierra Tower. A marina would be built in the what had been the center ot the golf course.

The hotel continued to expand. Two of the biggest expansions—the Convention Center (1972) and the Bonita Tower (1978)—were also built where golfers had once swung their clubs at golf balls.

The driving range and miniature golf course were shut down in 1978. The putting green, which had been the first golf feature, survived the longest—until the early 1980s.

The footprint of today’s Disneyland Hotel essentially covers the old golf course and the original tower. The low-slung buildings to the east of the tower—the original Disneyland Hotel—were demolished in 1999 to make way for Downtown Disney.

The Disneyland Hotel is still a great place to stay—but not to golf.

Disneyland Hotel Golf at Yesterland

Bonita Granville Wrather and Jack Wrather enjoying their golf course (circa 1961 photo)
 


Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove

Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove

Thank you to Donald Ballard for doing research and providing and the historical images for this article. Don is the author of Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years 1954-1988, one of my favorite books on my Disney bookshelf. The book is now out of print and only available at collector’s prices.

Mr. Ballard now has a new book! It’s Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove, with more rare photos and new research about the early years of the Disneyland Hotel.

For more about the new book above, including ordering information, visit www.MagicalHotel.com.


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© 2011-2012 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated January 6, 2012.

Excerpt from 1964 souvenir map of Disneyland © 1964 Walt Disney Productions.
 
Two photos of children at the Disneyland Hotel’s miniature golf course: circa 1970s, courtesy of Rodney Bills of the M54 blog.
 
All other photos on this page courtesy of the Wrather family and/or the Wrather Archives at Loyola Marymount University, courtesy of Chris Wrather and the family of Jack Wrather, with thanks to Don Ballard; some images originally copyright Wrather Corporation, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company and thus now © Disney.
 
Text from Los Angeles Times © 1960 Los Angeles Times.
 
Disclosure per FTC guidelines: This article provides favorable comments about two books by Don Ballard. Werner Weiss received review copies of both books from Mr. Ballard. Mr. Weiss does not receive any financial consideration from Mr. Ballard.