It all started with a mouse -- and a man coming to California in the summer of 1923 with an idea for a series of animated cartoons.
The Walt Disney Company was founded 95 years ago on Oct. 16, 1923, when a distributor contracted Walt Disney’s Alice Comedies series.
It was the official start of the company -- originally known as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio -- that’s now worth almost $100 billion.
After Alice came Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927. Then in 1928, Mickey Mouse debuted in the Steamboat Willie cartoon at the Colony Theater in New York.
The next 90 years would see Silly Symphonies, animated feature films, decades of Oscars, live action films, acquisitions of companies, Disney Stores, TV shows and six theme parks around the world.
The Walt Disney Company is a worldwide powerhouse that just keeps growing. Recently, it received approval from the U.S. Justice Department and the E.U. to secure the purchase of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion.
But let’s look back at Disney’s more humble beginnings.
Notable moments in Disney history
- 1923: Creation of The Disney Brothers Studio
- 1928: The first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, is released
- 1929: The Skeleton Dance, the first Silly Symphony, is released
- 1930: First appearance of Pluto in The Chain Gang
- 1932: First full-color cartoon and first Academy Award winner, Flowers and Trees, is released
- 1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first feature-length animated film
- 1949: Walt Disney Music Company is formed
- 1950: Treasure Island, first completely live-action film
- 1955: Disneyland opens in California
- 1963: First use of Audio-Animatronics, Enchanted Tiki Room, opens at Disneyland
- 1966: Walt Disney dies
- 1971: Walt Disney World opens in Florida
- 1982: Epcot Center opens at Walt Disney World
- 1983: The Disney Channel begins broadcasting
- 1987: First Disney Store opens
- 1996: Approval of acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC
- 1998: Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World
- 1998: The Inaugural cruise of Disney Magic cruise ship
- 2001: 100th anniversary of Walt’s birthday
- 2006: Disney buys Pixar Animation Studios
- 2009: Disney’s buys Marvel Entertainment
- 2012: Disney buys Lucasfilm Ltd.
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