Walt Disney World '99
Millenium Celebration Trip & Review!
THE DISNEY TIMELINE
June 24, 1893
In Chicago, Illinois, Roy Oliver ("Roy Disney") is born to Elias and Flora
December 5, 1901
Walter Elias ("Walt Disney") is born at 1249 Tripp Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois,
to parents Elias and Flora Disney. Walter is named after Reverend Walter Parr.
Elias Disney and family move to Kansas City, Missouri. Walt Disney is enrolled in
Benton Grammar School.
Walt Disney attends the Kansas City Art Institute.
June 8, 1917
Walt Disney graduates from Benton School (8th grade).
Walt enrolls in the McKinley High School in Chicago. Walt begins taking night courses at
the Chicago Institute of Art.
Walt completes his freshman year at McKinley High School and buys his first movie camera.
August 26, 1918
Walt forges his parents' signatures, and enlists in the American Ambulance Corps, part of
the Red Cross. Walt alters the document, changing his birth year from 1901 to 1900.
Walt and Ubbe Iwwerks (later Ubbe Iwerks) form a company called Iwerks-Disney Commercial
Artists. The name is later changed to Ub Iwerks.
Ub Iwerks modifies Walt Disney's "Oswald The Lucky Rabbit" character, turning
him into Mickey Mouse. Iwerks begins work on the first Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Walt Disney's first silent film featuring Mickey Mouse, "Plane Crazy" premieres
as a sneak preview at a theatre on Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles, California. It cost
US$1772.89 to make. Minnie Mouse also debuts. Walt Disney applies for a trademark for
"Mickey Mouse" for use in motion pictures. Walt Disney's trademark application
for "Mickey Mouse" is filed with the United States Patent Office. Walt Disney
copyrights the film "Plane Crazy".
The Mickey Mouse film, "Steamboat Willie" is delivered to the distributor.
Production begins on the Mickey Mouse film, "Steamboat Willie". This is the
first cartoon designed for use with a soundtrack. Walt, Ub, Wilfred Jackson, and Johnny
Cannon provide the music, voices, and sound effects for a test showing of "Steamboat
Walt hires an orchestra in New York to record the soundtrack for "Steamboat
Willie". Walt Disney's "Mickey Mouse" trademark application is granted. A
musical score for "Steamboat Willie" is completed, and Walt Disney heads to New
York to have it recorded. The Mickey Mouse film "Steamboat Willie" is completed.
Walt meets with Charles Mintz and the directors of Universal Pictures to hear their offer
to have Walt join them. Walt refuses.
December 31, 1929
The Silly Symphony film "The Skeleton Dance" is shows as a sneak preview at
Hollywood's Carthay Circle Theater.
January 13, 1930
The first Mickey Mouse comic strip is published, in the New York Mirror. The strip is
initially written by Walt Disney and drawn by Ub Iwerks.
January 21, 1930
Ub Iwerks informs Roy Disney that he wishes to leave the Disney Company. Disney buys his
20% share of the company for $2920.00 in US dollars.
Walt contacts MGM studio head Louis Mayer about signing with Disney for distribution of
its films. Initially Mayer agrees, but changes his mind when Pat Powers threatens to sue
anyone who interfered with his exclusive contract of the rights to Disney's films. Walt
contacts Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn, who agrees to distribute Disney's
films. Pat Powers sues, Cohn countersues, and Powers backs off. In February of
1930, Columbia begins advancing Disney $7000.00 per cartoon.
Walt goes to New York to negotiate with Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures for an increase in
cartoon advances, from $7500 to $15,000 each. Harry Cohn refuses, and tears up their
March 16, 1934
An Academy Award (Short Subjects, Cartoons) is won for the film "Three Little
Walt suggests 50 possible names for the dwarfs in the film "Snow White and the Seven
September 24, 1937
The Mickey Mouse film "Hawaiian Holiday" is released. Donald Duck, Pluto, Minnie
Mouse, and Goofy also appear.
December 21, 1937
Disney's first full-length animated feature film "Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs" premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood. It is the industry's
first full-length animated movie. The $1.5 million needed to complete the film nearly
bankrupted the company. Two million drawings make up the 83 minute film.
Walt and Roy Disney pay a 10% deposit on a $100,000 51 acre property on Buena Vista Street
in Burbank for a new studio. In its first six months "Snow White" grosses $2
A Mickey Mouse watch is sealed in the World's Fair time capsule buried in New York.
February 7, 1940
The animated feature film "Pinocchio" premieres at the Central Theatre in New
York. It cost $2.6 million to produce.
April 2, 1940
Walt Disney Productions first offers shares in the company to the public. 155,000 shares
of preferred stock are offered at $25 per share and 600,000 of common stock for $5 per
The Disney Studios' debt reaches $4.5 million.
February 19, 1941
The film "Fantasia" opens in Chicago, Illinois.
February 27, 1941
An Academy Award (Music, Best Song) is won for the song "When You Wish Upon a
Star" from the film "Pinocchio". An Academy Award (Music, Best Score) is
won for the film "Pinocchio".
May 29, 1941
293 Disney animators, members of the Screen Cartoonists Guild, stage a strike of the
Disney Studios. More than 1000 picketers appear in the first hour.
US President Franklin Roosevelt sends federal labor conciliator Stanley White to
Hollywood, to try to work out a settlement of the Disney workers' strike.
The Printing Council forces the temporary withdrawal of the
"Mickey Mouse" comic strip from its member newspapers, in support of the Disney
Technicolor Corporation announces its refusal to process Disney
film until the studio recognizes the Cartoonists Guild.
September 14, 1941
The strike at the Disney studio officially ends.
Walt's father Elias Disney dies.
Disney produces the film "Food Will Win the War" for the National Film Board of
Canada. It cost $20,000 to make. Disney produces the film "Out of the Frying
Pan into the Firing Line" for the Conservation Division of the War Production Board.
Walt resigns as president of Walt Disney Productions. He appoints Roy as new president.
Disney announces planned layoffs of over 400 employees of a staff of 1000.
March 20, 1948
An Academy Award (Song) is won for the song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" in the film
"Song of the South".
August 31, 1948
Walt circulates a memo in the studio describing ideas for an amusement park, which he
calls "Mickey Mouse Park".
Facing a debt of $4 million, Walt accepts an offer from distributor RKO Pictures and new
owner Howard Hughes, of a $1 million interest-free loan in exchange for rights to the
Disney inventory of films for educational uses.
The Soviet Union announces a purge of all Disney films, accusing Walt of attempting to
infiltrate Russia with his propaganda.
The Walt Disney Music Company is formed, for sheet music sales.
December 25, 1950
The first Disney TV special "One Hour in Wonderland" airs on NBC, sponsored by
the Coca-Cola Company. Walt Disney and several Disney cartoon characters make their TV
debut. The show previews portions of the film "Alice in Wonderland".
Walt Disney forms Walt Disney Incorporated, to develop ideas for a "family park"
to be called "Disneyland".
February 8, 1953
Walt Disney appears on TV as a guest on Toast of the Town.
Walt Disney commissions the Stanford Research Institute to advise on best location for the
Disneyland park. Walt Disney meets with ABC president Leonard Goldenson, to negotiate a
deal for ABC to benefit from Disney's name and inventory of films, in exchange for
Walt discusses his plans for Disneylandia with Herb Ryman, convincing him to draw a visual
image of the park. The meeting is on a Saturday, and the drawing is needed for a Monday
meeting with TV network executives in New York.
Disney establishes Buena Vista Distribution Company as Disney's film distributor.
Disney and ABC sign an agreement regarding the building of Disneylandia. ABC advances
Disney $500,000 in cash, and guarantees all WED bank loans. In exchange, ABC receives 35%
ownership of Disneylandia, 100% of all profits from the park's food concessions for 10
years, and an 8-year commitment from Disney for use of its inventory of films to be shown
in a one-hour television program. Walt announces that Disneylandia would open in July,
1955. At the suggestion of ABC, Walt changes the name of Disneylandia to Disneyland.
July 21, 1954
The ground is broken for the beginning of building the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland.
Excavation of the Disneyland site begins.
October 27, 1954
The first "Disneyland" TV show debuts on Wednesday night on ABC TV. The episode
is titled "The Disneyland Story". Approximately 30.8 million American viewers
watch the show.
In New York, NBC president David Sarnoff tells Walt, "Television will never be a
medium of entertainment.".
Walt Disney grants Jack Wrather a 99 year license agreement to
use the Disney name on any hotel in southern California.
Orange County plumbers and asphalt workers stage a strike,
threatening to delay the tight schedule of building Disneyland.
March 30, 1955
An Academy Award (Art Direction - Set Decoration, Color) is won for the film "20,000
Leagues Under the Sea". An Academy Award (Special Effects) is won for the film
"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".
Walt Disney comes up with the name "Mouseketeers" for members of the Mickey
July 17, 1955
Disneyland opens, in Anaheim, California. 15,000 guests were invited, but attendance for
the day is recorded as 28,154. Based on an initial US$10,000 for planning, the final cost
is $17 million to build. The opening is broadcast live on ABC. The Red Wagon Inn
restaurant opens in Adventureland at Disneyland. The Refreshment Corner, on Main Street,
USA opens in Disneyland. Disney's Mark Twain riverboat is christened in Disneyland.
July 18, 1955
Disneyland opens to the public with admission costing just $1. Cost of attractions ranged
from 10 to 35 cents.
The "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction opens in Tomorrowland at
Disneyland. The "Dumbo Flying Elephants" ride opens in Fantasyland at
Disneyland welcomes its one millionth visitor.
The Disneyland Hotel opens on a 60-acre site next to Disneyland.
October 3, 1955
Disney's second TV show is launched, "The Mickey Mouse Club", on the ABC
network. It is a daily series, showing cartoons and introducing the talents of the
The "Bathroom of Tomorrow" attraction opens in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.
The "Skyway to Tomorrowland" begins operation in Fantasyland at Disneyland.
The "Skyway to Fantasyland" begins operation in
Tomorrowland at Disneyland.
Walt attends "Walt Disney Day" in his childhood hometown of Marceline, where he
dedicates a public swimming pool that is part of a ten-acre park named in his honor.
Actor Kirk Douglas sues Walt Disney for use of home movie footage
of Kirk and his two sons at Walt Disney's home. The suit is later dropped.
The "Main Street Omnibus #1" begins operation in Disneyland.
November 11, 1956
Walt Disney appears as a guest of the TV show "What's My Line?".
The "Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through" attraction opens in Disneyland,
showing a 3-D portrayal of the story of Sleeping Beauty.
The "Main Street Omnibus #2" begins operation in Disneyland.
The "Alice in Wonderland" ride opens in Disneyland.
ABC changes the name of Disney's TV show from "Disneyland" to "Walt Disney
The first "Christmas in Many Lands" parade is held at
June 14, 1959
The "Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System" begins operation in Tomorrowland at
Disneyland. It represents the first urban monorail system in the USA. The "Matterhorn
Mountain" with its "Matterhorn Bobsleds" ride opens in Fantasyland at
Disneyland. The "Submarine Voyage" ride at Disneyland opens. It cost about $2.5
million to create.
The "Mickey Mouse Club" TV show is cancelled.
The Circle-Vision film "America the Beautiful" opens in Tomorrowland at
Disney sues the ABC TV network for the right to take their shows elsewhere, and buys ABC's
one-third interest in Disneyland for $7.5 million.
April 25, 1961
Walt and Roy pay off all existing loans.
The Disneyland Monorail is extended to the Disneyland Hotel.
September 24, 1961
Disney's TV show changes names from "Walt Disney Presents" to "Walt
Disney's Wonderful World of Color" and debuts in color on NBC.
Disneyland welcomes its 24 millionth guest.
A group of Audio-Animatronics elephants in the Elephant Bathing Pool are added to the
Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.
June 23, 1963
The "Enchanted Tiki Room" opens in Adventureland at Disneyland, with the debut
Walt and others take a plane trip across the US, to make a final selection of location for
a second theme park. Central Florida is chosen.
Pepsi-Cola ask Walt Disney to create a pavilion for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.
April 22, 1964
The New York World's Fair opens. Walt Disney's WED company constructed pavilions for: Ford
("Magic Skyway"); General Electric ("Progressland"); the state of
Illinois ("Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln") and Pepsi-Cola ("It's a Small
May 2, 1964
The Illinois Pavilion opens at the New York World's Fair, with Disney's "Great
Moments with Mr. Lincoln" operating flawlessly.
The first death in Disneyland is recorded. 15-year old Mark Maples stands up while on the
Matterhorn Bobsleds ride, and is catapulted out. He dies four days after the incident.
August 27, 1964
The live-action and animated film "Mary Poppins" premieres at Grauman's Chinese
Theater in Hollywood.
Walt Disney begins developing concepts for EPCOT center.
April 5, 1965
Julie Andrews wins an Academy Award (Actress) for her role in the film "Mary
Poppins". An Academy Award (Music, Song) is won for the song "Chim Chim
Cher-ee" in the film "Mary Poppins". An Academy Award (Music, Music Score -
Substantially Original) is won for the film "Mary Poppins". An Academy Award
(Film Editing) is won for the film "Mary Poppins". An Academy Award (Special
Visual Effects) is won for the film "Mary Poppins".
Disney planners have acquired 27,443 acres (43 square miles) in central Florida, at a cost
of just over $5 million.
November 15, 1965
Walt and Roy Disney, and Florida Governor Hayden Bruns make the first public announcement
of plans to build a new theme park in Florida.
Ron Miller buys the rights to A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" characters.
January 1, 1966
Walt serves as Grand Marshal of the Tournament of the Roses parade in Padadena,
May 28, 1966
The "It's a Small World" attraction opens in Fantasyland at Disneyland.
September 19, 1966
Walt Disney gives his last press conference, regarding development of the Mineral King ski
resort, in southern California.
Walt gives a press conference, and describes his plans for building an Experimental
Prototype Community of Tomorrow, EPCOT.
November 2, 1966
X-rays detect a cancerous spot on Walt Disney's left lung.
November 7, 1966
Walt is admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital, in Burbank, for surgery.
November 8, 1966
In hospital, Walt's left lung is removed, and found to be full of cancerous tumors.
November 30, 1966
Walt collapses at his home, is revived by medics, and is readmitted to hospital.
December 15, 1966
Walt Disney dies of acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer, at age 65. He had
won more than 950 honors and citations worldwide, including 48 Academy Awards and 7 Emmys.
Roy O. Disney, president of Walt Disney Productions, is named chairman. Donn Tatum becomes
president, and Card Walker is appointed executive vice president for operations. FBI
director Hoover orders Walt Disney's name removed from the FBI's records as an active SAC
December 16, 1966
A private service is held by Walt's immediate family at Little Church of the Flowers of
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Glendale, California.
October 25, 1971
The Magic Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The park is
dedicated by Roy Disney to his brother Walt.
December 20, 1971
Roy Disney dies.
EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) opens at Walt Disney World in
Orlando, Florida. EPCOT features 2 distinct areas - Future World & World
Disney / MGM Studios (the 3rd Theme Park) opens at Walt Disney World.
The Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World opens.