The Walt Disney Company

American animator and director Walt Disney, 1952.
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The Walt Disney Company was founded in as a cartoon studio in 1923.


Walter Elias Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company, was a pioneer in the development of animation as an industry.

About the Company

Disney is one of the most famous names in the animation industry, known for providing entertainment directed to adults and children alike; with international theme parks and a world-class animation studio and business franchise, the company nearly dominates the industry. Famous names such as Mickey Mouse began with Disney, and were the foundation of a company that has now branched out into several entertainment studios, theme parks, products, other media productions and one of the biggest movie studios in the world.

Recent Works

  • Finding Nemo (2003)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  • Freaky Friday (2003)
  • Brother Bear (2003)
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003)
  • Teacher's Pet (2004)
  • Miracle (2004)
  • Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
  • Hidalgo (2004)
  • Home on the Range (2004)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
  • The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • National Treasure (2004)
  • The Pacifier (2005)
  • Ice Princess (2005)

Company History

The Walt Disney company has a prestigious history in the entertainment industry, stretching over 75 years. It started on October 16, 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, a joint venture of Walt Disney and his brother, Roy. Three years later the company had produced two movies and purchased a studio in Hollywood, California. Pitfalls in distribution rights nearly sank Walt and his company, but the creation of Mickey Mouse saved a sinking ship.​

By 1932, the Disney Company won its first Academy Award for Best Cartoon, for the Silly Symphony. 1934 marked the production of Disney's first full-length feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which released in 1937 and became the highest grossing film of its time. But afterward, the expenses of production caused difficulties with the next few animated films; then the advent of World War II halted the production of films as the Walt Disney company contributed its skills to the war effort.

After the war it was difficult for the company to pick up where it had left off, but 1950 proved a turning point with the production of its first live-action film, Treasure Island and another animated film, Cinderella. In that time period, Disney also began several television series; in 1955, The Mickey Mouse Club also made its debut.

1955 also provided another landmark moment: the opening of the first California Disney theme park, Disneyland. Disney continued its rise in popularity, and survived even the death of its founder in 1966. His brother Roy took over supervision at that time, and then was succeeded by an executive team in 1971. Several more projects, from merchandising to the continuing production of animated and live-action films to the construction of more theme parks filled the years; in 1983, Disney went international with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland.

In the past few decades, Disney has moved into a wider market, beginning The Disney Channel on cable and establishing subdivisions such as Touchstone Pictures to produce films other than the usual family-oriented fare, gaining a firmer footing on a broader range. In the 1970s and 1980s, the company suffered from takeover attempts, but eventually recovered; the recruiting of the current chairman, Michael D. Eisner, was crucial to that. Eisner and executive partner Frank Wells have been a successful team, leading Disney to continue its tradition of excellence into a new century.