Walter Elias Disney left the world the Disney legacy.
Through out his life that's all he wanted to do was entertain people
Below is the time line of his life.
December 5, 1901
Walter Elias Disney is born..
The Disney Family move to Marceline, Missouri.
Elias sells their farm, they rents a home until 1910.
The Disney Family move to Kansas City.
Roy Disney leaves family to work for Uncle Will Disney in Kansas.
June 8, 1917
Walt graduates from Benton High School.
Walt works as a member of the American Ambulance Corps in France. Walt lied about his age to be accepted.
After driving an ambulance through Europe, Walt returns to the US, moves to Kansas City and gets job at the Posman-Rubin Commercial Art Studio for $50 a month.
Walt meets Ub Iwwerks, together form Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. The small group survives for a month.
Walt & Ub work for the Kansas City Slide Company.
Walt names the films “Laugh-O-grams.”
Elias & Flora Disney return to Kansas City, then move to Portland, OR.
Walt quits the Film Ad, then incorporates “Laugh-O-gram Films” with $15,000 from local investors. Walt persuades Ub Iwerks to leave the Film Ad.
Walt resigns himself to bankrupcy, moves to Hollywood planning to become a director. Roy (Walt’s brother) was already in California.
October 16, 1923
Walt & Roy sign a contract with M.J. Winkler, a New York cartoon distributor.
They rent a room at the back of a real estate office. Roy operates a secondhand camera while two girls were hired to ink & paint the celluloids. Walt does the animation.
Walt hires the first animator, Rollin Hamilton and moves into a small store with a window bearing “Disney Bros. Studio.”
The first “Alice Comedies” reaches theaters.
Ub Iwerks moves to California to join Disney Productions. Walt wanted to concentrate on the scenarios of the film; his career as an animator is over.
Walt invites Hugh Harmen & Rudy Ising to work for him.
Roy marries Edna Francis. Walt meets Lillian Bounds, hired by the Studios as an inker. Walt recalled “I couldn’t afford to pay her, so I married her!”
July 13, 1925
Walt marries Lillian.
Walt renames the studio to the “Walt Disney Studio.”
Walt Disney Studios authorized to make “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” series. All rights were sold to Mintz distribution. When costs became to high, Walt wanted to end distribution. As a result, “Oswald” becomes Mintz’s own, and Mintz takes Walt’s best animator, Ub Iwerks.
Walt, on a train ride, develops Mickey Mouse and along with Ub Iwerks creates a new cartoon, “Plane Crazy.” Audiences were in love with the mouse. “Steamboat Willie,” the third cartoon is created. Walt pursues New York film companies to record the cartoon with sound. Walt urges Ub to go forward with the fourth Mickey Mouse Cartoon “The Barn Dance.”
November 18, 1928
“Steamboat Willie” opens at the Colon Theater in New York. Billed as “the first animated cartoon with sound,” it gets rave reviews.”
Film companies come calling for Walt to make a deal. All these distributors want the rights to Mickey Mouse, however Walt learned from his experience from Oswald the Rabbit.
A deal with Pat Powers, who wants to promote Cinephone, is struck. Walt returns to California with a contract and $2500.
Walt plans to release “Skeleton Dance” as the 1st of a new series of cartoons called Silly Symphonies. This new film was also released in Technicolor, a brand new color technique, that Walt Disney held right to for two years.
Walt hires a lawyer for legal assistance in regards to the deal with Pat Powers. Ub Iwerks signs a contract with Powers, stunning Walt. The lawyer negotiates an agreement to dissolve Iwerks’ contract with Disney and is paid $2,920 for 1/5 interest.
Mickey Mouse turns into a national craze and Mickey Mouse Clubs spring up all over the country.
Walt breaks off negotiations with Pat Powers, suspecting him of being crooked. Disney could not afford a lawsuit, so they walk away and start anew.
Columbia Pictures signs with Disney, as Walt breaks all ties with Powers with a payment for relinquish of the 21 Disney cartoons.
Roy Disney signs the first contract for merchandising.
Walt assigns Ub Iwerks to devise a comic strip.
Syndication comes from King Features and Mickey Mouse makes his first comic strip on January 13, 1930.
Pluto makes 1st appearance in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, “The Chain Gang.”
The Mickey Mouse Clubs reach a million members.
Mickey Mouse is now known in every civilized country.
Walt suffers a nervous breakdown, caused by pushing himself and animators on the job. Walt takes a vacation on doctor’s orders. On return, exercise and work balancing is required.
Goofy makes 1st appearance in “Mickey’s Revue.”
Herman Kamen, a Kansas City advertising man, signs a contract to represent the Walt Disney Studios. He licenses Lionel Corporation for merchandising Mickey and Minnie toy trains. Lionel is hit hard by the Depression and files for bankrupcy. 253,000 toys were sold in 4 months, beginning the return of the Lionel Corporation. The association with Disney is credited for the return of Lionel.
Disney asks Columbia to increase advance on each cartoon to $15,000; Columbia declines.
Walt agrees to United Artists’ proposal, a $15,000 advance on each cartoon.
Walt is determined to add color to animation.
United Artists agrees to grant Disney 2 years exclusive use of 3-color Technicolor.
“Flowers and Trees” appears at the Hollywood Chinese Theater.
The first class of the Disney Art School is held at the Chouinard Art Institue. Nelbert Chouinard agrees to help the Studio
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awards “Flowers and Trees” to Walt Disney.
“Three Little Pigs,” the 36th Silly Symphony, is produced. Audiences everywhere love it and relate it to the people vs. the Depression. “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” becomes a national rally cry. Roy convinces Walt to produce 3 more “Pig” movies, “The Big Bad Wolf,”, “Three Little Wolves” and “The Practical Pig.” None were as successful as the first one.
Walt & Lillian move into a new home in Los Feliz.
December 18, 1933
Lillian gives birth to Diane Marie Disney. Their first child.
1934, 1935, 1936
Donald Duck debut’s in a Silly Symphony film, “The Wise Little Hen.”
Walt’s staff grows to 187 employees.
Walt announces that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” will be the 1st feature film. Work on “Snow White” is the center of attention.
Disneys disassociate themselves with United Artists.
Disneys sign a releasing agreement for shorts and for “Snow White” with RKO.
December 21, 1936
Lillian and Walt adopt Sharon Mae Disney.
Donald Duck gets his own series of short films.
December 21, 1937
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is seen by the public in Los Angeles. It makes a 3 week run at Radio City Music Hall, then some New York theaters.”Snow White” grosses $8 million and wins an Academy Award.
Within 6 months, the Disneys pay off all bank loans.
The Disney Studios are expanded and they put deposit down on property in Burbank, CA.
Walt & Roy move their parents to Southern California.
Work begins on a second feature, “Pinocchio.”
November 26, 1938
Flora Disney dies of asphyxiation due to a defective furnace. Walt & Roy blame themselves because it occured in the house they purchased.
Walt decides that Mickey Mouse should star in a feature of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Leopold Stokwski volunteers to conduct the music. Stokowski tells Disney to create a single Feature. Fantasia.
“Bambi” is started at the same time but is last to be released due to the time it took to draw the animals. The studio resembled a zoo at times with many animals on hand to be drawn. Video was captured and photos were donated for the film.
Burbank Studio construction continues, making it a workers paradise.
The start of World War II causes business of “Pinocchio” to fall short of what is expected.
“Fantasia” opens at New York’s Broadway Theater (formally called “The Colony”), the same place that Mickey Mouse made his debut. Walt was forced to cut “Fantasia” into a short version, cutting from his 3+ hours’ version. “Fantasia” loses even more than “Pinocchio.”
Due to losses of “Pinocchio,””Fantasia” and “Bambi,” along with the cost of the new studio being built, Disney is forced to offer public stock, something Walt & Roy did not want to do. 600,000 shares of common stock sold at $5 a piece. Stock offering sold out quickly and temporarily filled the hole of debt.
Disney employees grow to 1,000 workers.
“Dumbo” is produced and finished in 1 year. Walt originally planned it as a 30 minute film but expanded it into a feature film of 64 minutes. It makes an $850,000 profit.
Ub Iwerks returns to the Walt Disney Studios.
Movie studios unionize and 2 unions sought to organize the Disney cartoonists. One union leader, Herb Sorrell, threatens to strike Disney by stating publicly Walt’s business affairs.
May 29, 1941
A picket line forms in front of the Walt Disney Studios, directed by Herb Sorrell.
August 17, 1941
Walt makes a film making & goodwill tour of South America.
Elias Disney passes away while Walt is away, never really recovering from the loss of Flora. When Walt returns, the strike has ended but takes away Disney employees due to production slow down.
Walt arrives in time for the premiere of “Dumbo.”
“Saludos Amigos” and “The Three Caballeros” are the result of the the South America trip. Both films are successfull in North & South America.
High demand for war films occurs.
The draft takes 1/3 of Walt’s artists. The army moves into the Disney Studios.
“Bambi” is released but has disappointing numbers at the box office in both the U.S. and foreign cities.
The company’s debt rises to $4.3 million.
“Pinocchio”, “Fantasia”, “Bambi” & “Dumbo” are playing in Europe, but no revenue is coming in due to the damaged economy.
Roy urges Walt to cut expenses & staff; Walt refuses.
“Make Mine Music,” a short cartoon, is released and produces a small profit. Walt really is not pleased with the film.
The work on “Mickey And The Beanstalk,” interrupted due to the war, is resumed. It is combined with another cartoon and released as “Fun and Fancy Free.” It is the last time the voice of Mickey Mouse is portrayed by Walt. A sound effects worker becomes the voice of Mickey Mouse.
“Song of the South” is produced. It is 30% cartoon and 70% live action. It premieres in Atlanta and gets good reaction.
“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” is named best movie song of 1946 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, while James Baskett, who plays Uncle Remus, wins an Oscar.
The movie’s production cost of $2.125 million causes only a $226,000 profit.
Walt considers making educational and commercial films, but decides that the company should be in the entertainment business. He decides that Alaska should be filmed, then takes a flying tour himself. The flight almost went bad due to heavy clouds and no radio contact to land. After circling for 2 hours, the plane lands safely. Walt, after reviewing the Alaska films, suggests a feature length film based on the life of seals. Due to it’s short time, Walt books the film with a lengthy feature. The audience’s reaction to the film is good. It eventually wins an Academy Award for best 2-reel documentary.
Walt assigns all of his top talent to make “Cinderella,” which had been in development for several years, along with “Peter Pan” & “Alice in Wonderland.”
Walt & Lillian had been looking for property to build a new house and Walt required the lot of land to be large enough to accommodate a train circling the home.
They found property and built the new home in Holmby Hills, CA. Walt designs a half mile run and called the train’s engine the “Lilly Belle,” named after Mrs. Lillian Disney. He called it the Carolwood-Pacific Railroad.
Walt began talking about letting people come to Hollywood and really “see” something. He started to formulate plans in August to build an amusement area to be named Mickey Mouse Park.
The Walt Disney Music Company is formed.
“Cinderella” debuts and is well accepted, the first hit for Disney Studios since “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
By November of 1950, Disney Studios debt is reduced to $1.7 million.
Walt schedules “Alice In Wonderland” to follow “Cinderella.” “Alice In Wonderland” had been an idea since 1933, as Walt contemplated both a live-action film and putting Ginger Rogers in a cartoon Wonderland. Once the film was completed, Walt and crew were relieved. The film was a disappointment in both London and America, while losing $1 million.
“Peter Pan” was the next cartoon in production. Walt bought the rights to the play in 1939 and spent years trying to convert it into a cartoon.
Walt agrees to produce a Christmas show for NBC. It attracts a huge audience and TV’s value impresses Walt. “One hour in Wonderland” debuts on Christmas of 1951.
Script production begins on “Lady and the Tramp,” a script started in 1943 but dropped for almost a decade.
“The Sword and the Rose” and “Rob Roy” are produced, Walt contemplates “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” a Jules Verne classic adventure. The film ultimately costs $ 4.2 million to make. Walt works for a year to develop the script. The giant squid scene requires 8 days to film and added $250,000 to the film budget. It is worth it as this scene is the highlight of the film.
Due to the success of the True-Life Adventure films, Walt receives many film propositions from naturalists. “The Living Desert” was developed but the Disneys run into a problem with RKO, as it has incurred heavy liabilities and starts to decline. Roy is confident that RKO wouldn’t have the energy or the know-how to sell the film. He establishes a small sales organization called Buena Vista, named after the street where the studio was located. The film is a huge success, earning $4.0 million. It becomes the Disney’s biggest profit-maker, profiting $3.7 million.
Roy Disney states to Buena Vista’s key salesmen that the Disney Company has 2 attractions with great promise (“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” & “Lady and the Tramp”) and wants to know if the salesmen would be able to go forward with Disney’s own distribution company. The answer is yes and all Disney films thereafter are distributed by Buena Vista.
Walt’s vision of an amusement park begins. He visits fairs, carnivals, circuses and parks to study the attractions and the people. He borrows on his life insurance and starts to assemble a staff to help plan the park. He decides that the name of the park would be called Disneyland.
Walt creates WED Enterprises to organize the project. Walt and Herb Ryman draws out the plans for the park in one weekend.
Roy visits New York to seek a contract with a television network. Roy & Leonard Goldman come to an agreement where ABC would give Disney a $500,000 investment in Disneyland in exchange for Disney’s supplying a one-hour Television series. ABC would become a 35% owner of Disneyland and would guarantee loans up to $4.5 million. It is a great fit as Disney receives much needed cash and ABC is able to compete in the ratings with NBC & CBS.
May 28, 1953
Disney’s first “Adventures in Music” animated film, “Melody” is released. The film was made in 3-D, the first such film to be released in the US.
Walt commisions the Stanford Research Institute to find the ideal location for Disneyland. Anaheim, California is selected as the place. Other amusement park owners don’t believe that Walt should spend the money on the park and that too much of the park would not produce revenue. They felt that the park would not work.
Walt designed the park with one entrance gate, reasoning that people, when entering by different gates, become disoriented. Walt also designs the park to have “Main Street” with the idea of it being the hub, stating that it would lead to different areas of interest and not cause people to become tired from “museum feet.”
Walt designs the park with “wienies”, which are lures that draw people into different parts of the park. The lure of Main Street would be a castle.
“Davy Crockett” is the hit of the inaugural Disneyland season and “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” is #1 for 13 weeks, selling over 10 million records. More than 10 million Davy Crockett racoon skin hats are sold.
“Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” profits almost $2.5 million.
Ronald Miller works for Disney as a liason between WED and Disneyland before he is inducted for the draft.
Previous movie profits were not enough to cover the cost of building Disneyland. Roy Disney makes numerous visits to the Bank of America’s headquarters to get more funding. The bank enlists the help of another bank in Bankers Trust Company of New York.
Walt is concerned about meeting the deadline he set for the opening of Disneyland. Walt buys 244 acres of land near Anaheim, California, as the site for his theme park.
April 2, 1954
Plans for Disneyland park and tv show are announced. Walt states that the tv series would begin in October, 1954 and the park would open in July, 1955. The tv show would be paterned after the different “lands” of Disneyland.
May 9, 1954
Diane Disney marries Ronald Miller.
October 27, 1954
The television series opens with “The Disneyland Story” describing coming attractions of the park and tv show. The Television shows are introduced by Walt himself.
June 16, 1955
The Walt Disney Production animated feature film, “Lady and the Tramp” is released in the US by Buena Vista. It is the first cartoon feature filmed in CinemaScope and processed in Technicolor.
Walt agrees to staff’s suggestion to board up Tomorrowland, then opposes the idea, asking the staff to do the best they can and if necessary, to fix it up after the opening.
Problems occur with the Orange County building inspectors as they have no experience with theme park structures. The inspectors’ doubts are eased through Walt’s concern for safety. Water is piped in to supply pressure for sprinklers and hydrants.
Walt always wanted trees to be big and to fit the “land.” Many tours were done to find trees for the park.
The Santa Fe and Disneyland Railway makes it’s first trip around the park as a boy, stricken with leukemia, has a wish – to ride on Walt Disney’s train. Walt invites the boy and his family during the final days of construction, then takes the boy to the cab for a trip around Disneyland.
July 13, 1955
The Disney’s, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, send out invitations to 300 people, friends & co-workers for the opening of Disneyland.
July 17, 1955
Disneyland opens as invitation only, given to studio workers, construction workers, the press and officials of company sponsors. Tickets to the grand opening are counterfeited and 30,000 people enter the park. Rides break down and park stands run out of food & drink.
Walt reads about all the problems the next day and refers to it as “Black Sunday.”
September 8, 1955
Disneyland welcomes its one millionth visitor.
September 14, 1955
Disneyland television series opens its second season on ABC with “Dumbo.”
October 3, 1955
Walt introduces “The Mickey Mouse Club” program, the first he ever designs strictly for children.
“Sleeping Beauty” is put into production but without Walt’s full attention due to his engrossment with Disneyland, live-action films and television. It continues in production for three years, costing $6 million.
October 5, 1956
The Disneyland Hotel opens, on a 60-acre site next to Disneyland.
Disney introduces a third television series named “Zorro”, a half-hour adventure on ABC network. It lasts for two seasons before ABC declines renewal.
“Bambi” is re-released in theaters and earns $2 million. Walt feels gratified that the film finally made it after the movie’s 1942 release was a disappointment.
December 25, 1957
The live-action film, “Old Yeller” is released.
“The Shaggy Dog” is released and is a surprising success, earning over $9.5 million in North America.
June 14, 1958
Disneyland’s Columbia ship is christened. It is a full-scale replica of the first ship to carry the American flag around the world. It cost $300,000 to build.
May 10, 1959
Sharon Disney marries Bob Brown, a designer with an architectural firm.
The Matterhorn, a bobsled racing ride, is opened, as well as the Submarine Voyage and the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System. A Motor Boat cruise and a revamp of the Autopia is also opened.
The E-Ticket is introduced.
“Pollyana” is released but is a disappointment at the box office, earning less than $1 million. Walt feels that he should have named the film differently because the male part of the audience apparently balked at seeing a movie with such a title.
April 25, 1961
The loan from the Bank of America is finally paid off. Revenue from movies now goes directly to Walt Disney Productions.
September 24, 1961
“Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” makes its debut on NBC with a new character, Ludwig Von Drake.
November 14, 1961
Diane & Ron Miller’s 5th child is born and is named Walter Elias Disney Miller. Walt had complained to Diane that she had not named any of her four children after her father or mother. Walt’s wish comes true.
December 5, 1961
Walt celebrates his 60th birthday.
Enchanted Tiki Room opens at Disneyland. It is originally planned as a restaurant but Walt feels that there wouldn’t be enough time to serve meals and perform a show.
Audio-Animatronics is developed by WED.
August 27, 1964
“Mary Poppins” premieres at Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood and gavets rave reviews.
“Mary Poppins” is nominated for 13 Academy Awards.
September 14, 1964
President Johnson presents Walt with the Medal of Freedom at the White House, the nation’s highest civil honour.
Walt Disney sends his brother, Roy, and a few other Disney executives to Florida, to purchase land for a Community of Tomorrow.
January 1, 1966
Walt Disney served as the Grand Marshall for the Tournament of Roses Parade, in Passadina California.
July 24, 1966
The “New Orleans Square” area opens at Disneyland. It cost US$18 million, and occupies 3 acres
Walt gives a press conference, and describes his plans for building an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, EPCOT.
November 30, 1966
Walt starts feeling weak, and returns to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
December 5, 1966
Walt turns 65, although there isn’t really a celebration, Walt was to ill for any observations
December 15, 1966
Walt Disney dies at 9:35 a.m. from an Acute Circulatory Collapse