When Walt Disney opened his first theme park, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, in 1955, it was an instant hit with the public. People from all over came to see the newest and most exciting entertainment option in Southern California. Many experts predicted that Disneyland would be nothing more than a passing fad that would fade away soon after its opening day, but they were wrong. Today, Disneyland and its other parks are still popular and are major entertainment destinations throughout the world. What did Disney do right? How did he make his entertainment brand last?
When Walt and Roy Disney came to Hollywood in 1923, they began working for producer Charles Mintz. After creating a popular Oswald Rabbit series for Universal Pictures, they decided to go into business together. Starting with a budget of $15 dollars they built an animation studio that would eventually be called Walt Disney Studios. Using their new characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse they began making short animated films that became increasingly popular and before long Mintz had them working on longer films as well as traveling to New York City to work on his newest project at RKO Studios. The first feature length film produced by Walt and Roy was called Snow White and it was such a hit that RKO purchased their contract from Mintz allowing them full creative control over their next project.
In 1927, after two years of research and development, Walt created a character that is still recognizable today as one of animation’s first true stars: Mickey Mouse. Walt was inspired by watching mice in his backyard and created a 6-foot tall version out of wire, cement and rags with rubber gloves for hands. It would go on to become one of America’s most celebrated cartoon characters ever. But it wasn’t just his work with Mickey that revolutionized animation; he also pioneered many other aspects of how we enjoy movies and television today. For example, he was instrumental in making cartoons more accessible to children by reducing their length from 15 minutes to seven minutes—and adding sound! He also introduced synchronized soundtracks so audiences could sing along with their favorite songs. And he made sure that all new animated shorts had an educational element—which led him to create educational shorts like The Three Little Pigs (1933) and Steamboat Willie (1928), which became famous because they featured Mickey Mouse’s debut appearance.
Over the past 13 years, The Walt Disney Company has made a total of 16 acquisitions and 15 investments, spending $89.21B on those purchases. Disney invests in various different industries such as OTT Video, Mom & Baby Care, and Internet First Media.
It may be fair to say that, in the past 50 years, Disney has done many deals that not only gave them more opportunities to create and stream their own original content, but has also allowed them to oversee a plethora of production companies, including Pixar, as well as their own cable channels, like ABC, and their very own streaming service, called Disney+. Now that Disney+ has officially launched, we get to see an endless selection of Disney-created (and even Disney-bought) classics for people to enjoy. Disney+ is in direct competition with other streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+, as it falls on the cheaper side of the price spectrum with a single payment of $6.99 per month and an exclusive bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and an ad-supported version of Hulu for $12.99 per month.
Other Interesting Facts
The Walt Disney Company, or commonly referred to as simply Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It is the world’s largest independent media conglomerate in terms of revenue. The company also owns and operates several subsidiary companies, including ABC broadcast television network; cable networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN and A+E Networks; publishing, merchandising and theatre divisions; and owns creative assets such as Lucasfilm Ltd., Pixar Animation Studios. The company’s primary business is film studio that produces live-action films, with their record label units (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures) doing so for their own works.
Regardless of whether you’re an adult or a child, there’s something for everyone in a Disney movie. If you want to feel good about yourself, watch The Mickey Mouse and then leave feeling ready to tackle whatever life has thrown at you that day.