30 Unknown Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Disney


The Walt Disney Company, commonly referred to as Disney, headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, has established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and theme parks. Here are some interesting things to know about the company:

  1. The American multinational mass media entertainment company, The Walt Disney was founded by brothers Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney, on October 16, 1923.
  2. The company started as ‘Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio,’ as a leading animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, then television and to its iconic theme parks.
  3. The D.B.C.S has undergone name change and was called ‘The Walt Disney Studio’ and then ‘Walt Disney Productions,’ as it started branching out. The company has since created corporate division with ‘Walt Disney Studio,’ ‘Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,’ Disney Media Networks’ and ‘Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media.’
  4. Disney also owns the ‘American Broadcasting Company,’ the television network, ‘Freeform’ TV channel, ‘Disney Channel’ and holds stake in ‘E.S.P. N’ and ‘A&E Networks’ as a joint venture with Hearst Corporation.
  5. In 1923, as a production partner with Margaret J. Winkler, in making of ‘Alice Comedies’ the journey of Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, started. The M.J Winkler Production bought the distribution rights for Alice Comedies at $ 1,500 per reel.
  6. In February 1928, Disney lost the contract of ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’ the all-cartoons series to the distributer, Winkler Pictures, due to legal loophole after completing 26 shorts. It also lost four of its primary animators to them.
  7. On November 18, 1928, Disney released its first sound film ‘Steamboat Willie’ a cartoon starring ‘Mickey Mouse.’ The film was the first Mickey Mouse sound cartoon and third film after Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho.
  8. The iconic Mickey Mouse character was conceived by Walt Disney, while on train trip to California and created with UbIwerks at the Walt Disney Studio in 1928. It was named as Mortimer first before changing it to Mickey Mouse,is the primary symbol and mascot for Disney.
  9. On December 30, 1929, the New York Mirror published first Mickey Mouse comic strip through King Features. In 1932 it started appearing in colors after an exclusive contract with Technicolor.
  10. In December 1937, Disney released through RKO Radio Pictures, the first feature-length animated film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and World War II.’ The film was highest grossing film of the time by 1939.
  11. In 1939, Disney commissioned its new Walt Disney Studios, in which the company is headquartered to this day. On April 02, 1940, the Walt Disney Productions went public with its initial public offering.
  12. During the World War II, the studio was commissioned to produce training and propaganda films. The box-office profits declined with 90% of its employee engaged on war related films and many of its animators drafted in to the U.S Armed forces.
  13. On June 23, 1953, Disney ended its distribution contract with RKO and formed its own distribution arm with ‘Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ which was later re-named as ‘Buena Vista,’ in late 2007.
  14. In 1940s, following the war, with all constrains, Disney began producing live-action film and documentaries. The ‘True-Live Adventures’ series which included film such as ‘Seal Island’ and ‘The Vanishing Prairie’ were all popular and eight of the film series won Academy Awards.
  15. The feature-length animation like ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Treasure Island,’ proved that it could succeed in the marketplace. They also ventured into all-live action feature film such as ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men,’ ‘The Sword and the Rose’ and ’20,000 League Under the Sea.’
  16. In December 1950, Disney and Coca-Cola Company, teamed up for its first venture into television, with ‘An Hour in Wonderland,’ aired by NBC television.
  17. In October 1954, ABC network launched Disney’s first regular television series ‘Disneyland’ which is one of the longest-running primetime series in history. This television series generated finance for his live project.
  18. Disney opened his first theme park ‘Disneyland’ at the Disneyland Resort, a 160-acre in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955. It was televised live by ABC Network hosted by 40th president of United States, Ronald Reagan.
  19. In 1950s they concentrated on television and by 1960s they shifted to producing number of animated features film, like ‘Lady and the Lamp,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ and ‘The Shaggy Dog.’ The film ‘Mary Poppins’ won Disney five Academy Award and was one of the all-time highest grossing movies.
  20. Following the death of Walt Disney, one of the founders on December 15, 1966, Roy Disney took over as chairman, CEO and President of the company. He renamed Disney as ‘Walt Disney World’ in honor of his brother.
  21. The Disney had attempted to make film for the teenage generations who had grown watching Disney films, with science-fiction adventure, ‘The Black Hole’ and horror gene with ‘The Watcher in the Woods,’ but with little success. The Black Hole was the first film by Disney with PG rating.
  22. The head of studio for the first time hired outside producer for film project in 1970s by entering in to a joint venture with Paramount Pictures for adaption of ‘Popeye and Dragonslayer.’
  23. On April 18, 1983, The Disney Channel debuted as a subscription level channel on cable system, featuring classic films, original programming and third party offerings.
  24. In 1984, Disney thwarted Reliance Group’s hostile takeover bid of Walt Disney Production by buying-out Reliance’s 11.1% stake in the company. This action invited a law suit by a shareholder claiming devaluation of Disney’s stock, which was settled in 1989 for $ 45 million.
  25. The late 1980s saw shift in Disney’s management with induction of Michael Eisner from Paramount Picture as CEO and Frank Wells from Warner Bros, as president.The Sid Bass family brought about this change after acquiring 18.7% of Disney.
  26. In 1993, Disney created the NHL team the ‘Mighty Ducks of Anaheim’ named after the 1992 hit film of the same name. They also purchased a majority stake in the Anaheim Angels baseball team in 1998.
  27. On March 24, 2014, Disney have bought ‘Maker Studio’ a YouTube company generating billions of views each year, for over $ 500 million in order to advertise to the teenage and young adult.
  28. In August 2014, The Walt Disney Company applied for three patents for using drones and for unmanned aerial vehicles to lift marionettes in the air to raise mesh screen for floating video projections.
  29. The Disney’s animated family films have been accused of having sexual reference hidden in them. The film ‘The Little Mermaid’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’ are some of the examples. Some of the welfare groups, such as Catholic League have also opposed.
  30. Through contribution and collaboration with nonprofit organizations in kind, gifts and employee service, Disney brings positive change to the communities around the world. They have donated more than $400 million to nonprofit organizations and have donated 23.1 million books to schools and children.

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