The idea for a large indoor arena in Anaheim emerged from entertainment attorney Neil Papiano, who in 1987 randomly selected two of the city's councilmen from the telephone directory to sell them his idea. They approved of the concept, and one year later following location surveys, the placement was chosen at a seven-acre parcel at Douglass Road and Katella Avenue, that at the time was owned by the German social group Phoenix Club. Papiano also managed to get financial backing from two New York-based firms, Ogden Corporation and Nederlander Organization. Even if there was a dispute to build an arena on Orange County with a Santa Ana project led by Spectacor, and there were discussions of feasibility of the arena given the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were at the time unwilling to expand to the area, the city of Anaheim pushed forward to built the Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc.-designed arena, which broke ground in November 1990. A tenant was finally found in 1992, as The Walt Disney Corporation had just been awarded an NHL franchise for Anaheim, entering negotiations to lease the arena. Once the deal was broken, the arena's final cost ended at $121 million, as $18 million were added to finance hockey franchise fees and facility improvement.
The arena opened on June 19, 1993, with a Barry Manilow concert as its first event. The then-Arrowhead Pond's first NHL game was also the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim season opener on October 8, 1993, against the Detroit Red Wings, preceded by a 20-minute pregame show at the cost of $450,000. The Ducks lost 7–2. Since then, the arena has been host to a number of events, such as the 2003 and 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. On June 6, 2007, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators, 6–2, in game five of the Final at Honda Center to clinch the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship.