Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5th 1901 in Chicago Illinois. He founded The Walt Disney Company in 1923 in the back of small office in Los Angeles. Since then the Walt Disney empire has grown dramatically and has four distinct segments: Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, Consumer Products and Media Networks. The Walt Disney Company as a whole is still ‘faithful to their commitment to produce unparalleled entertainment experiences based on the rich legacy of quality creative content and exceptional storytelling’. All segments are integrated to maximise exposure and growth of the Walt Disney brand.
It was in 1937, when only the studios existed, that Walt Disney achieved worldwide success with the Company’s first full length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. With the profits from this feature he was able to build his own purpose-built studios specifically for the production of animated films. Many more successful features were completed on this new campus-like site, known as Burbank, including Bambi, Cinderella and Peter Pan.
The Studio Lot at Burbank has continually been expanded and modified to facilitate new methods of film production from live-action features in the 1940s to television production stages in the 1980s. Most recently Disney acquired ‘renowned computer animation leader Pixar’ to create films such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc. The Walt Disney Studios distributes motion pictures under Walt Disney Pictures, which encompasses a number of smaller subsidiary companies including Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films. The Walt Disney Company also produces Broadway Musicals under Disney Theatrical Productions and distributes original music and motion picture soundtracks under Disney Music Group.
The Walt Disney Company operates a number of themed parks and resorts, the first of which, Disneyland Park, formed by Walt Disney himself in 1952 in Anaheim, California. This area of the business has grown to include five resort locations in three continents; Disneyland Resort, California; Walt Disney World Resort, Florida; Tokyo Disney Resort; Disneyland Resort, Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. The fundamental value to the resorts is that they are ‘Where Dreams Come True’.
‘Disney merchandising began in 1929 when Walt Disney was approached by a businessman interested in placing Mickey Mouse on the cover of a children’s writing tablet’. The range of products that feature the Disney brand now includes foods and beverages, home décor, toys and interactive games. There is even a publishing sector of the company, Disney Publishing Worldwide, which is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines. The Walt Disney Company also owns a chain of official Disney stores in which to distribute their merchandise out to the public in Europe. However in North America and Japan unaffiliated third parties operate under a licence agreement from The Walt Disney Company.
The Media Networks arm of The Walt Disney Company includes a selection of radio, broadcast, cable, publishing and Internet businesses. The Group includes The ABC Television Network, The Disney Channel and ESPN (the world leader in sports entertainment), to name but a few.
- Disneyland was originally going to be called Mickey Mouse Park.
- Mickey Mouse was ‘born’ in 1928 followed by Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang.
- Mickey Mouse’s original drawings were made up of circles to create his head, body and ears.
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