Since it was founded in 1923, the Walt Disney Company has grown into a $155 billion company and is the world’s most successful diversified media conglomerate, in other words, the name Walt Disney and success go together like peanut butter and jelly; they’re delicious separate, but together they’re supercalifragilisticly scrumptious. When you hear the name, Walt Disney, you know you’re getting a great product. Here are some amazing facts about this phenomenal company.
1. Oswald the Rabbit— In 1927, Walt Disney hit it big with a character called Oswald the Rabbit. He sold the rights of the character to Universal, and it became Disney’s biggest success at that time. In 1928, Disney wanted to negotiate a better contract for the rabbit and his animators, but Universal wanted Disney to take a 20% cut; negotiations fell through and Oswald the Rabbit, since his rights were actually owned by Universal, became the property of Universal. Jump ahead to 2006. NBC (owned by Universal) had just acquired the rights to broadcast Sunday Night Football and wanted Al Michaels to call the games. Michaels was under contract to ESPN (owned by ABC, which was owned by Disney). So Disney and Universal made a deal. Universal would get Al Michaels and Disney would receive the nearly 80-year-old cartoon character, Oswald the Rabbit. After almost ¾ of a century, Oswald returned to Disney.
2. Mickey’s Retreat— The Walt Disney Company’s Walt Disney World Resort employs more than
62,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the country. Mickey’s Retreat is an exclusive area near Walt Disney World which is accessible only to Cast Members and their families. It is a peaceful hideaway featuring two pools, recreation room, volleyball courts, hammocks, pedal boats and canoe rentals, a banquet room, fenced in playground area, tennis courts, picnic area, and so much more. It’s a secluded area where Cast Members can spend a day relaxing and enjoying a little peace and quiet with friends and family. It’s free, with the exception of the pedal boats and canoes, which cost only $2 to rent.
3. Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs— When Walt Disney announced his plans to make an animated feature length film with sound and color, many film insiders, friends, and even his wife, Lily, thought it would fail and this would mean the end of the Walt Disney Company because Walt had invested and borrowed so much money to make this new and innovative animated film. The budget went over $2 million, which was nearly 400% over the original budget; which was partially financed by a friend of Roy Disney, Joe Rosenberg. After watching bits and pieces of what Walt had put together so far, Mr. Rosenberg believed the film would do well, so he agreed to the financial arrangement. On December 21, 1937 Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Theater in Los Angeles, California. It was a huge success, grossing over $8 million in the United States, and since that time with re-released has grossed about $1.6 billion. It was never called “ Disney’s Folly ” again. With the proceeds from this successful venture, Walt Disney was able to build a new studio, and the Walt Disney Studios moved to Burbank, California.
4. Companies & Affiliates of the Walt Disney Company— Walt Disney was probably not aware of what a great empire he started with that original drawing of Mickey Mouse in 1928. Walt and his famous mouse created a magical world encompassing theme parks, media networks, Studio entertainment, consumer products, and a Disney Cruise Line. The Entertainment networks include ABC television, A&E network, ESPN, Pixar Animation Studios, Touchstone Studios, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios. You can find Disney products in Disney Stores, practically every major retail store in the world, and of course, online. The name Disney is associated with fun, family, and wholesome entertainment. Disney Fanatics will be happy to hear that the Walt Disney Company is now worth a staggering $175.9 billion, and will be around for quite some time, with even more advancements and surprises coming every year.
5. The Walt Disney Company & Steve Jobs— Believe it or not, Steve Jobs had an alliance with the Walt Disney Company and the acquisition of Pixar Studios. Apple Computer, Inc. was established on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. After losing a power struggle with the Board of Directors, Jobs resigned from Apple, founded a new company, which was subsequently sold to Apple in 1996, and Steve Jobs returned to Apple and served as CEO from 1997-2011. In 1986, Jobs acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and renamed it Pixar Animation Studios. On May 5, 2006, Pixar was acquired by The Walt Disney Company, at which time Steve Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7% and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors. Bob Iger, the current CEO of the Walt Disney Company and Steve Jobs were not only business partners but also very good friends, and both relationships helped make the Walt Disney Company even more successful.
6. The Walt Disney Company Success Story— Even with its theme parks, Disney resorts, Disney merchandise, its most profitable segment is Media Networks, which generated fiscal year 2014 revenue of $21.2 billion and operating income of $7.3 billion. Long term Walt Disney Company shareholders can safely expect the cash to keep flowing for decades to come. Investing in the Walt Disney Company is a wise investment.
The Walt Disney Company is enjoying another decade of milestones and success stories that rival many other successful companies in the world. Unlike most billion dollar corporations, the Walt Disney company’s founder built his company based on a dream; a dream filled with unique ideas about creating a world of imagination, hope, the future, and entertainment for the whole family. His dream has been fulfilled through, movies, television, merchandising, and theme parks. Walt Disney himself once stated:
“If you can dream it, you can dot it”. He dreamt it; he did it, and we are all the benefactors of his dream.
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