Walt Disney Company (most
commonly known as Disney) (NYSE:
is one of the largest media and entertainment corporations in the world.
Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney as a small
animation studio, today it is one of the largest Hollywood
studios and also owns nine theme parks and several television networks,
including the American
Broadcasting Company (ABC).
corporate headquarters and primary production facilities are located at
the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, USA.
The company is a component of the Dow
Jones Industrial Average. It had revenues of $31.9 billion in 2005.
original (and, until 1955, only) business is motion picture production.
Disney Studio Entertainment, also known as the Walt Disney Studios, is
headed by chairman Dick Cook and includes Disney's movie and animation
studios, record labels, and Broadway-style stage shows.
Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group is a collection of Disney's main movie
studios, made up of;
addition to the well-known theme parks and resorts, this division
includes Disney Regional Entertainment (which operates the ESPN Zone
sports-themed restaurants), Walt Disney Imagineering, and Walt Disney
Creative Entertainment. Previously, "Anaheim Sports, Inc." was
also within this division. Anaheim Sports operated the Mighty Ducks of
Anaheim hockey club (sold in 2005 to Broadcom executive Henry Samueli)
and the Anaheim Angels baseball team (sold to advertising magnate Arturo
Moreno in 2003).
Media Networks unit is centered around the American Broadcasting Company
(ABC) television network, which it acquired through a merger with
Capital Cities/ABC in 1996. Properties include:
also owns a group of cable networks including: The Disney Channel, ABC
Family, Toon Disney, the ESPN group, and SOAPnet. Disney also holds
substantial interest in Lifetime (50%), A&E (37.5%), E! (40%) and
Jetix Europe N.V. (74 %).
ABC, Disney also owns 10 local television stations, 26 local radio
stations, and ESPN Radio, Radio Disney, and the ABC Radio (to be sold
with another properties to Citadel Broadcasting, which carries such
radio personalities as Sean Hannity and Paul Harvey and distributes news
bulletins by ABC News). Buena Vista Television, which also is a part of
the Media Networks unit, produces such syndicated television programs as
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Live with Regis and Kelly,
and Ebert & Roeper.
also operates its Hyperion publishing company and Walt Disney Internet
Group (WDIG) through Media Networks. Hyperion has recently published
books by comedian-author Steve Martin and bestselling author Mitch Albom.
WDIG includes the Go.com web portal, based on the old Infoseek
search engine which it purchased in 1998, and leading websites such as
Disney.com, ESPN.com,ABCNews.com and Movies.com .
The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, founded in October 16th
by brothers Walt
Disney and animator Ub
Iwerks, produces the Alice's Wonderland series.
At Walt Disney's insistence, the company is renamed Walt Disney
The Alice series ends; Disney picks up the contract to
animate Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Walt loses the Oswald series contract; first Mickey
Mouse cartoon Plane
First Silly Symphony: The
Skeleton Dance. On December 16, the original partnership
formed in 1923 is replaced by Walt
Disney Productions, Ltd. Three other companies, Walt
Disney Enterprises, Disney
Film Recording Company, and Liled
Realty and Investment Company, are also formed.
First appearance of Pluto
First three-strip Technicolor
short released: Flowers
and Trees; first appearance of Goofy
Studio produces its first feature, Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs
On September 29th, Walt Disney Enterprises, Disney Film Recording
Company, and Liled Realty and Investment Company are merged into
Walt Disney Productions.
Studio moves to the Burbank, California buildings where it is
located to this day
A bitter animators'
strike occurs; as the USA
War II, the studio begins making morale-boosting propaganda
films for the government
The company is short on cash; a theatrical re-release of Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs generates much-needed revenue and
begins a reissue pattern for the animated feature films.
The studio hires its first-ever live actor for a film, James
Baskett, to star as Uncle Remus in Song
of the South
The studio begins production on its first all-live action feature, Treasure
Island; the popular True-Life
Adventures series begins
Walt Disney forms WED
Enterprises on December 16 to design his theme park.
Walt Disney forms Retlaw
Enterprises on April 6 to control the rights to his name. It
will later own and operate several attractions inside Disneyland,
including the Monorail
and the Disneyland
The studio founds Buena
Vista Distribution to distribute its feature films; beginning of
opens in Anaheim,
California. Walt Disney Productions owns 34.5 percent of
Disneyland, Inc. It increases its stake in 1957 to 65.5 percent,
then purchases the remaining shares from ABC
The studio licenses the film rights to Winnie-the-Pooh,
whose characters continue to be highly profitable to this day;
international distribution arm Buena
Vista International is established.
The company starts buying land near Orlando,
Florida for Walt
Disney World (then known as Disney World or The
The regular production of short subjects ceases, as theatres no
longer have any demand for them. Walt Disney Productions acquires WED
Official plans are announced for Disney's
Mineral King Ski Resort, later canceled. Walt
Disney dies. His brother Roy
Construction begins on Walt
Disney World; the underlying governmental structure (see Reedy
Creek Improvement District) is signed into law.
Disney World Resort opens in Orlando, Florida; Roy
Oliver Disney dies; Donn
Tatum becomes chairman and Card
Walker becomes president.
Edward Disney, son of Roy and nephew of Walt, resigns from the
company citing a decline in overall product quality and issues with
The studio licenses several minor titles to MCA
Discovision for laserdisc
release; only TV compilations of cartoons ever see the light of day
through this deal.
Bluth and a number of his allies leave the animation division;
the studio releases its first PG-rated film, The
Wilhite becomes head of the film division with the intent of
modernizing studio product; a home video division is created
Plans for a cable network are announced. Dumbo
hits the shelves for video retail, making it the first animated
Disney feature available on video.
Center opens at Walt
Disney World; Walt Disney's son-in-law Ron
W. Miller succeeds Card
Walker as CEO
As the anthology
series is canceled, The
Disney Channel begins operation on US cable systems; Tom
Wilhite resigns his post; Tokyo
Disneyland opens in Japan
Pictures is created; after the studio narrowly escapes a buyout
attempt by Saul Steinberg, Roy Edward Disney and his business
partner, Stanley Gold, remove Ron W. Miller as CEO and president,
replacing him with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells. The Walt Disney
Classics video collection starts up.
The studio begins making cartoons for television beginning with
Adventures of the Gummi Bears and The Wuzzles; The home video
release of Pinocchio is a best-seller.
The studio's first R-rated release comes from Touchstone Pictures;
the anthology series is revived; the company's name is changed on
February 6 from Walt Disney Productions to The Walt Disney Company.
The company and the French government sign an agreement for the
creation of the first Disney Resort in Europe:
the Euro Disney project starts.
Disney offers a deal to buy Jim Henson's Muppets and have the famed
puppeteer work with Disney resources; the Disney-MGM Studios open at
Walt Disney World; The Little Mermaid sparks an animation
Jim Henson's death sours the deal to buy his holdings; the anthology
series canceled for second time.
Beauty and the Beast is the first animated film nominated for
the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The controversial Euro Disney Resort opens outside Paris, France.
Disney acquires independent film distributor Miramax
Films; Winnie the Pooh merchandise outsells Mickey Mouse
merchandise for the first time; the policy of periodic theatrical
re-issues ends with this year's re-issue of Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs but is augmented for video.
Frank Wells is killed in a helicopter crash. Jeffrey Katzenberg
resigns to co-found his own studio, DreamWorks
SKG. Plans for Disney's America, a historical theme park in
Haymarket, Virginia, are abruptly dropped. No explanation is given,
and Disney announces a search for an alternate location. Euro
Disneyland is renamed Disneyland Paris.
The Classics video line is unofficially cancelled and replaced with
the Masterpiece Collection. The Lion King, the
highest-grossing traditionally animated film in history, is
In October, the company hires Hollywood super agent, Michael Ovitz,
to be president.
The company takes on the Disney Enterprises name and acquires the
Capital Cities/ABC group, renaming it ABC, Inc. In December, Michael
Ovitz, president of the company, leaves "by mutual
consent." To celebrate the pairing, ABC's first Super Soap
Weekend is held at Walt Disney World. Disney makes deal with Studio
Ghibli for dubbing and releasing their films in the U.S.
The anthology series is revived again; the home video division
releases its first DVDs.
Disney's Animal Kingdom opens at
Walt Disney World. Kiki's Delivery Service, the first Studio Ghibli
film under the Disney/Ghibli deal, is released on video.
Robert Iger becomes president and COO. Disney begins their Gold
Classic Collection DVD line, replacing their Masterpiece Collection
Disney-owned TV channels are pulled from Time
Warner Cable briefly during a dispute over carriage fees;
Disney's California Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea open to the
public; Disney begins releasing Walt Disney Treasures DVD box
sets for the collector's market. Disney buys Fox Family for $3
billion in July, giving Disney programming and cable network
reaching 81 million homes.
Walt Disney Studios open near Disneyland Paris (renamed Disneyland
Park). The entire area is now called Disneyland Resort Paris. Disney
finishes negotions to acquire Saban Entertainment, owner of
children's entertainment juggernaut Power Rangers. Subsidiary
Miramax acquires the USA rights to the Pokémon movies starting with
the fourth movie. Disney teams up with famous video game company
Square-Enix (famous for the Final Fantasy Series. Also at the
time, known as Squaresoft.) to release the first ever Disney
role-playing game, Kingdom Hearts.
Roy E. Disney resigns as the chairman of Feature Animation and from
the board of directors, citing similar reasons to those that drove
him off 26 years earlier; fellow director Stanley Gold resigns with
him; they establish "SaveDisney" to apply public pressure
to oust Michael Eisner. Pirates
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl becomes the
first film released under the Disney label with a PG-13 rating.
Comcast makes an unsuccessful hostile bid for the company. CEO
Michael Eisner is replaced by George J. Mitchell as chairman of the
board after a 43% vote of no confidence. Disney turns down
distributing Fahrenheit 9/11 which ends up making $100
million. On February 17, Disney buys the Muppets (excluding the
Sesame Street characters).
23rd June sees the first KitchBall World Cup Final using a Disney
mini ball. Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold end their campaign against
Michael Eisner on July 8 and Roy rejoins the company as a consultant
with the title of Director Emeritus. Disneyland celebrates its 50th
anniversary on July 17. Hong Kong Disneyland officially opens on
September 12. Robert A. Iger replaces Michael Eisner as CEO on
October 1. Also on October 1, Miramax co-founders Bob Weinstein and
Harvey Weinstein leave the company to form their own studio.
On January 23, Disney announced a deal to purchase Pixar Animation
Studios in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4bn. The deal is
finalized on May 5. In the process, former Pixar CEO, and current
Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, became the single largest individual
Disney shareholder, holding 7% of outstanding shares. Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is released into
Mitchell (Non executive Chairman of the Board)
A. Iger (President and CEO)
O. Staggs (Senior executive vice president and CFO)
board of directors
Iger (President and CEO)
J. Mitchell (Chairman until 12/31/2006)
E. Pepper, Jr.(Chairman from 01/01/2007)
E. Disney (Director Emeritus and consultant)
Disney International - Andy Bird
Disney Parks and Resorts - Jay Rasulo
Disney Imagineering - Don Goodman
Disney Creative Entertainment - Anne Hamburger
Disney Studios - Dick Cook
Animation Studios - Ed Catmull
Disney Feature Animation - Ed Catmull
Vista Music Group - Bob Cavallo
Vista Motion Pictures Group - Nina Jacobson
Disney Theatrical - Thomas Schumacher
Products - Andrew P. Mooney
Television Group - Anne Sweeney
- George W. Bodenheimer
Chairmen of the Board
Roy O. Disney
E. Cardon Walker
George J. Mitchell
Roy O. Disney
E. Cardon Walker
Ron W. Miller
Roy O. Disney
E. Cardon Walker
Ron W. Miller
worldwide commercial success of the Disney brand is viewed by some
as detrimental to cultural diversity.
is among the US companies lobbying for harsher enforcement of intellectual
property in the US and worldwide, posing a perceived threat to
the existence of the public domain; see Mickey Mouse Protection Act.