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The Walt Disney Company: The Entertainment King

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The Walt Disney Company: The Entertainment King

In 1923, Walt Disney and his older brother, Roy, moved from Kansas to Hollywood, where they founded Disney Brothers Studio. Walt contributed the creative aspect of the company and Roy handled the finances. The Disney Brothers had a nonhierarchical organization. There were no titles and everyone spoke to each other on a first name basis. The Disney Brothers’ started their first major short film character, “Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit.” Walt then created Mickey Mouse and in 1928 Disney released the first Mickey short film, Steamboat Willie. Disney had begun making cartoons with synchronized sound, which was a first during his time.

Disney started creating full-length animated films, beginning with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. After World War II it took a while to produce full-length films, but they were able to successfully make more animated films and mixed films with a combination of live action and animation. Disney created Walt Disney Music Company in order to control music copyrights and be able to hire top artists. Also, in 1953 Disney made Buena Vista Distribution, which allowed them to cut spending on distribution fees. In 1955, Disney opened the franchise’s first amusement park, Disneyland. Walt Disney had already made plans of creating Walt Disney World and EPCOT in Orlando, Florida but he passed before the opening of the park.

Following Walt’s death, his brother, Roy would become chairman and succeeded to opening Walt Disney World. Disney worked with travel agencies, airlines and tours due to the massive amounts of tourists visiting the parks. He also brought in live shows, “Disney on Parade” and “Disney on Ice,” that premiered in major cities all across the globe. During this time more parks were being opened and there was a decline in films being produced. The company was struggling financially due to high investments in finishing the EPCOT amusement park and The Disney Channel. Roy Disney had resigned from the board and many takeovers were attempted. Sid Bass, an oil tycoon, invested $365 million and was able to save the company and rehire Roy Disney onto the board.

After Bass’ investment, Eisner was Disney’s head chairman and chief executive officer. As a former president and chairman of Paramount, Eisner recruited other chairmen for Disney. He was committed to the building the Disney franchise while remaining true to the corporate values. Eisner’s views on running Disney were based on “managing creativity,” which focused on creativity and financial stability at the same time. Disney expanded in areas other than children’s films and began making adult rated films as well. Also, with Katzenberg, Disney had produced strong storylines with lower-budgeted films with not as established writers and actors. Disney expanded on their theme parks and established more retail and media opportunities.

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