Walter Elias is born at 1249 Tripp Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Elias and Flora Disney. Walt is named after Reverend Walter Parr.
Walt Disney 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 & Ub work for the Kansas City Slide Company.
Walt names the films “Laugh-O-grams.”
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.
Ub Iwerks moves to California to join Disney Productions. Walt wanted to concentrate on the scenarios of the film.
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.
The Mickey Mouse Clubs reach a million members.
Goofy makes 1st appearance in “Mickey’s Revue.”
“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’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.
Walt commissions 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.
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.
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.
September 8, 1955
Disneyland welcomes its one millionth visitor.
October 3, 1955
Walt introduces “The Mickey Mouse Club” program, the first he ever designs strictly for children.
December 15, 1966
Walt Disney dies at 9:35 a.m. from an Acute Circulatory Collapse.