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Project to Boost Size by Nearly 50% : Disneyland Hotel Plans Expansion

December 27, 1985|BRUCE HOROVITZ | Times Staff Writer

Disneyland Hotel officials have confirmed plans for a major expansion that would add as many as 500 rooms and a new convention center to the 30-year-old facility, boosting its size by nearly 50% at a cost estimated at up to $50 million.

The expansion, which has been under study for more than a year, would make the hotel one of the largest in the state.

As part of the project, Wrather Corp. of Los Angeles--owner of the hotel--plans to add a fourth tower of up to 500 rooms and a second convention facility of up to 60,000 square feet, said Terry Ashton, vice president of operations for the Anaheim hotel.

Wrather has a longstanding contract with Walt Disney Productions for exclusive use of the Disneyland Hotel name.

If the project is completed as currently planned, the hotel's room count would jump to 1,673 sometime in 1988, ranking it above the nearby 1,600-room Anaheim Hilton and Towers as the largest hotel in Orange County.

Development plans are still in the "conceptual" stage, Ashton said. Details of the proposal probably would be announced in mid-1986, with construction to begin in early 1987.

Although company officials would not give a cost estimate, hotel industry executives say such a project could cost up to $50 million.

Industry executives say the plan is Disneyland Hotel's reaction to stepped-up growth in the Anaheim Convention Center area--about half a mile away. By adding more rooms and convention space, the hotel is vying to compete with convention center area hotels for the highly profitable "self-contained" bookings in which convention groups reserve large blocks of rooms and purchase hotel catering services in addition to renting convention facilities.

Also prompting the expansion is completion of what Ashton called the hotel's "best year ever." Consistently rated as the most sought-after hotel in Anaheim, room occupancy at the Disneyland Hotel ran near 90% in 1985, some 10% to 30% higher than many other Anaheim area hotels.

With room demand at a peak, the hotel has already begun a smaller, $2-million expansion, which includes conversion of office space into 52 guest rooms. The converted offices were the Disneyland Hotel's original 99 guest rooms, built in 1955. They are being remodeled once again into guest rooms that will be about twice the size of the original quarters.

At the same time, the hotel is building a so-called "Top of the Park Suite" that will cost guests $1,000 per night. The penthouse suite, which replaces a top floor lounge area in one of the hotel's towers, will include a private elevator, a grand piano and whirlpool baths.

"We're getting more and more demand for that type of room," said Ashton. "A lot of convention groups want their president to stay in the best suite, and they don't care what it costs."

In line with the expansion, the hotel's room rates will be increased between 1% and 7% in 1986, Ashton said. The lowest-priced rooms will begin at about $120 per night, he said. Rooms with views of the Disneyland amusement park will cost about $170 per night.

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