The Walt Disney Corporation, commonly known as Disney, is an American multinational media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered in Burbank, California. The company was founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. It is currently one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, with operations spanning television networks, theme parks, film studios, and consumer products.
Disney's entertainment empire includes popular brands such as Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disney Channel. The company also owns and operates several theme parks and resorts around the world, including Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Disney's media networks include ABC, ESPN, and the Disney Channel, among others.
The Walt Disney Corporation is known for producing some of the most beloved and successful entertainment franchises of all time, including Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Star Wars, and Marvel's Avengers. The company has won numerous awards for its entertainment productions, including dozens of Academy Awards and Emmys.
Disney is also committed to environmental and social responsibility, with initiatives aimed at reducing its environmental impact, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting local communities.
As of 2021, The Walt Disney Corporation employs over 200,000 people worldwide and generates annual revenues of over $65 billion. The company continues to innovate and expand its offerings, leveraging new technologies and creative storytelling to entertain audiences around the world.
The Walt Disney Corporation was founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in 1923 as Disney Brothers Studio, with the goal of producing animated cartoons. In the early years, the company struggled to find its footing, producing a few shorts and acquiring small contracts. However, their fortunes began to turn around with the creation of Mickey Mouse in 1928, which became an instant sensation with audiences worldwide.
Throughout the 1930s, the Walt Disney Corporation continued to innovate in the animation space, releasing groundbreaking films such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937), "Pinocchio" (1940), and "Fantasia" (1940). These films established the company as a major player in the entertainment industry and set the standard for future animated feature films.
During World War II, the Walt Disney Corporation shifted its focus to producing propaganda films for the US government, as well as educational films for the military and general public. The company's output during this time included "The Spirit of '43" (1943), which encouraged Americans to pay their taxes to support the war effort, and "Victory Through Air Power" (1943), which advocated for the strategic use of air power in warfare.
Following the war, the Walt Disney Corporation resumed its focus on entertainment and continued to release popular animated films such as "Cinderella" (1950) and "Alice in Wonderland" (1951). In addition, the company began to explore new ventures, including television programming and the creation of Disneyland, the first-ever theme park.
In 1955, Disney opened the first Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. This groundbreaking park set the standard for future Disney parks around the world, featuring immersive attractions and experiences that brought Disney's characters to life. The success of Disneyland led to the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida in 1971, which featured the Magic Kingdom theme park, as well as several hotels, shopping districts, and other attractions.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Walt Disney Productions expanded into live-action film production, releasing a string of successful movies that showcased the company's creative range. One of the most notable of these films was Mary Poppins (1964), which blended live-action and animation in a way that had never been seen before.
In the 1980s, the Walt Disney Corporation continued to expand its reach, with the launch of Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in 1982, which featured futuristic exhibits and attractions that explored themes of innovation, technology, and international culture. The company also made a major move into the broadcasting industry, acquiring the ABC television network in 1984.
In 1986, the company opened Tokyo Disneyland, its first theme park outside of the United States, in Japan. This was followed by the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in 1989, which would lead to the creation of some of the most successful animated films of all time, including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles.
In 1992, the company opened Euro Disneyland (now known as Disneyland Paris) in France, the first Disney theme park in Europe. While the park initially struggled, it eventually became a major success, attracting millions of visitors each year.
In 1995, Disney launched the Disney Cruise Line, which offered guests a unique vacation experience that combined the magic of Disney with the adventure of cruising. The cruise line expanded over the years, with new ships and destinations added to the roster.
The late 1990s saw Disney continue to dominate the box office, with the release of popular films such as The Lion King (1994), Toy Story (1995), and Finding Nemo (2003). The company also continued to acquire new properties, such as the ABC Family channel in 2001 and the Muppets franchise in 2004.
In 2005, the company opened Hong Kong Disneyland, its first theme park in Asia. The park featured several unique attractions and experiences, including a castle that was a fusion of different Disney princesses.
In 2006, Disney made one of its most significant acquisitions to date, purchasing Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion. This move brought Pixar's creative talent and technology under the Disney umbrella, leading to a string of successful animated films such as Up (2009) and WALL-E (2008). Marvel Entertainment was acquired by Disney on December 31, 2009, for a reported $4.24 billion.
The late 2000s also saw Disney's expansion into new digital platforms, with the launch of the Disney Channel website and the acquisition of online media company Club Penguin in 2007. In 2010, the company launched Disney Interactive, a division focused on creating digital content and experiences for a new generation of consumers.
In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion, adding the Star Wars franchise to its portfolio. This led to the release of several highly successful Star Wars films, including The Force Awakens (2015) and Rogue One (2016), as well as the development of new theme park attractions and merchandise.
In 2016, Disney opened Shanghai Disneyland, its first theme park in mainland China. The park featured unique attractions and experiences that celebrated Chinese culture, and quickly became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
The late 2010s saw Disney continue to expand into new areas, with the launch of Disney+, its streaming service that offers subscribers access to a vast library of films and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. The service quickly gained popularity, attracting millions of subscribers worldwide.
In 2019, Disney completed its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, adding popular franchises such as The Simpsons and Avatar to its portfolio. The acquisition also gave Disney control of Fox's film and television studios, further expanding the company's reach and influence in the entertainment industry.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney faced significant challenges, with the closure of its theme parks and the postponement of several film releases. However, the company adapted quickly, launching new initiatives such as Disney at Home, which provided virtual experiences and activities for families to enjoy while staying at home.
Looking ahead, the Walt Disney Corporation is poised to continue its growth and expansion, with new theme park attractions, films, and digital initiatives in the pipeline. The company's commitment to creativity and innovation remains as strong as ever, ensuring that Disney will continue to captivate audiences around the world for years to come.
The mission of the Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform, and inspire people around the globe through the power of storytelling, utilizing innovative technologies and experiences to bring beloved characters and timeless stories to life in a way that creates memorable and immersive experiences for audiences of all ages.
Disney strives to create content that reflects the diversity of the world and inspires creativity, imagination, and a sense of wonder, while also upholding the highest ethical and social standards in everything that it does. At its core, Disney seeks to create happiness, laughter, and unforgettable memories for everyone who engages with its content and experiences.
The Walt Disney Company envisions itself as one of the foremost purveyors and generators of entertainment and information on a global scale, with a focus on crafting immersive and ingenious narratives and engagements that both enlighten and enchant audiences worldwide.
In addition, the company remains committed to effecting positive changes in society, as it continuously endeavors to make a meaningful difference through its endeavors.
Alexia Skouras Quadrani (Sr. VP of Investor Relations)
Alicia Schwarz (Sr. VP & Chief Compliance Officer)
Horacio E. Gutierrez (Sr. EVP, Gen. Counsel & Sec.)
Kristina Schake (Exec. VP of Global Communications)
John Rood (Sr. VP of Marketing)
Paul J. Richardson (Sr. EVP & Chief HR Officer)
Ronald L. Iden (Sr. VP & Chief Security Officer)
The Walt Disney Company offers a wide range of products and services across multiple industries, including:
Film and Television: Disney is known for producing some of the most beloved and iconic films and TV shows of all time, including classic animated films, live-action movies, and hit TV series.
Theme Parks and Resorts: Disney operates theme parks and resorts around the world, including Disneyland, Disney World, and Shanghai Disneyland, as well as hotels, cruise ships, and other vacation destinations.
Merchandise: Disney merchandise is a major part of the company's brand, with a vast range of products available featuring its characters and franchises, including toys, clothing, home goods, and more.
Publishing: Disney has a significant presence in the publishing industry, with books, magazines, and digital content aimed at a wide range of audiences.
Music: Disney's music division produces soundtracks for its films and TV shows, as well as original music and recordings from its stable of artists.
Interactive Media: Disney's interactive media division produces video games, mobile apps, and other digital content.
Broadcasting: Disney owns and operates several television networks, including ABC, ESPN, and Disney Channel, as well as radio stations and other broadcasting outlets.
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Christine Mary McCarthy (Sr. EVP, CFO)
Diane Jurgens M.B.A., BSEE, MSEE, MBA (Exec. VP Enterprise Technology, Chief Information Officer)
Media and Communications