Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney's devotion to the arts and to the city. The Frank Gehry–designed building opened on October 24, 2003. Both Gehry's architecture and the acoustics of the concert hall, designed by Minoru Nagata, the final completion supervised by Nagata's assistant and protege Yasuhisa Toyota, have been praised, in contrast to its predecessor, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The Hall was spoofed in The Simpsons episode "The Seven-Beer Snitch"; Gehry voiced himself in the episode where the town of Springfield had him design a new Concert Hall for the town. The Concert Hall was then transformed into a jail by Mr. Burns. The character Snake eventually escapes from the prison while saying, "No Frank Gehry-designed prison can hold me!"
The Walt Disney Concert Hall was briefly featured in the opening of the 2004 crime thriller Collateral. It is seen where the film's main protagonist, Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx), is carrying a bickering couple (Debi Mazar and Bodhi Elfman) in his cab.
This building was also used in the Iron Man (2008 release) movie briefly for a party for Stark Industries.
The finale of the 2008 movie Get Smart was filmed at the Concert Hall.
In the promotion picture for the television series Shark, the cast is standing in front of the Concert Hall.
In the original pilot of the US TV remake of Life on Mars, the Hall features prominently in the sequence where Sam travels back to 1972. It is an emblem of the ultra-modern landscape that Sam is about to leave behind.
"One Hour", a 3rd-season episode of NUMB3RS, extensively features the concert hall. The action begins outside the hall, and after a long series of events around town, the FBI winds up going inside the hall in order to rescue a young boy from his captors.
Both the interior and the exterior of the building were filmed in extensively during the production of the 2009 film, The Soloist.
Filming was done on location at the Concert Hall for a fictional Boomkat music video in the CW's Melrose Place.
The ABC show Brothers and Sisters often shows an exterior shot of Senator Robert McCallister's office that includes the concert hall. Also, Kitty proposed to Robert at a fundraiser held at the hall.