As cartoons gained popularity in movie theaters, Disney employees found that character merchandising was an additional source of revenue. A New York man offered Walt $300 for the license to put Mickey Mouse on pencil tablets he had made. Walt Disney needed the $300, so he said okay. This was the beginning of Disney merchandising. Soon there were Mickey Mouse dolls, dishes, toothbrushes, radios, action figures – almost everything you could imagine bore the image of Mickey. The year 1930 was a big year for the mouse, which started it all when Mickey Mouse`s first book and newspaper comic strip were published. Walt Disney World received a lot of attention from the company in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Disney executives announced plans for Walt Disney World`s second theme park, EPCOT Center, which was scheduled to open in October 1982. Inspired by Walt Disney`s dream of a futuristic model city, the EPCOT Center was built as a „permanent World`s Fair,“ with exhibits sponsored by major American corporations, as well as pavilions based on the cultures of other nations.
In Japan, the Oriental Land Company partnered with Walt Disney Productions to build the first Disney theme park outside the United States, Tokyo Disneyland, which opened in April 1983. Despite the success of Disney Channel and its new theme park creations, Walt Disney Productions is financially vulnerable. The film library was valuable, but offered few recent successes, and the management team could not compete with other studios, especially the works of Don Bluth, who defected from Disney in 1979. In the early 1980s, parks generated 70% of Disney`s revenue.  It is difficult to understand how much the Walt Disney Company has grown in the nearly 100 years since its founding. A century may seem like a long time, but we`re talking about a small company from two brothers who produced short cartoons, to one of the largest entertainment companies in the world with a huge film division, a massive TV presence, an incredibly successful theme park business, a recently launched and thriving streaming service, Plus fingers in the cakes of music, video games. Web portals and more. The studio`s continued success encouraged Disney to take its riskiest moves in 1934 when it began production on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). While not the first animated feature – the honor likely goes to Lotte Reiniger`s The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) — it was the first to receive widespread publication and publicity. As much as Steamboat Willie caused a sensation, Snow White revolutionized the industry and proved the effectiveness of animation as a vehicle for feature films. Disney advocated a realistic approach to the medium, as opposed to the anarchic style of other animation studios.
The scenes from the Disney cartoons were composed and framed as they would be for a live-action movie, and the surreal aspects of the characters were kept to a minimum. Although this approach provoked criticism that Disney discouraged experimentation and limited animation possibilities, its success in Snow White and subsequent animated films is indisputable. Wells died in a helicopter crash in 1994. Soon after, Katzenberg resigned and founded DreamWorks SKG because Eisner did not want to appoint Katzenberg to the now available Wells position (Katzenberg had also filed a lawsuit over the terms of his contract). Instead, Eisner recruited his friend Michael Ovitz, one of the founders of the Creative Artists Agency, as chairman, with minimal involvement from Disney`s board of directors (which at the time included Oscar-winner Sidney Poitier, Hilton Hotels Corporation CEO Stephen Bollenbach, George Mitchell, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, Robert A. M. Stern, dean of Yale, and Eisner`s predecessors, Raymond Watson and Card Walker). Ovitz lasted only 14 months, leaving Disney in December 1996 through a „no-fault termination on his part“ with a severance package of $38 million in cash and 3 million stock options worth about $100 million at the time of Ovitz`s departure. The Ovitz episode led to a lengthy derivatives lawsuit, which was finally concluded in June 2006, nearly 10 years later.
Chancellor William B. Chandler III of the Delaware Chancery Court, although he considers Eisner`s behavior to be „far below what shareholders expect and demand of those in a fiduciary position. in favor of Eisner and the rest of Disney`s board because they had not violated the letter of the law (i.e., the duty of care owed by a company`s officers and board of directors to its shareholders).  Eisner later said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 that he regretted letting Ovitz go.  When the studio they worked for went bankrupt, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks started their own company – Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists – but it didn`t work out very well. Disney and Iwerks left the company to work for the Kansas City Film Ad Company. This company produced commercials with cut-out animations. Walt Disney was interested in animation and cel animation in particular. 1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney`s first animated feature film, debuts. In October 2005, Bob Iger succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
Bob Iger was CEO until 2020, overseeing truly gigantic transactions during that time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Walt Disney Company was booming again. The movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had effectively mixed live action and animation again, which gave the animation department at Walt Disney Studios a big boost. Suddenly, Disney animation became big business again and many of them followed – The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King all came out in five years. This period is known as the „Disney Renaissance“. Pinocchio (1940), which features complex characters in meticulously detailed animations, is perhaps Disney`s greatest achievement. Fantasia (1940) is a series of abstract vignettes on classical compositions; It remains a controversial work, ridiculed for its misdeeds and praised for its breathtaking visual virtuosity. Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942) were also recognized as masterpieces using the means Disney had first brought together in Pinocchio: music, comedy, pathos, adventure and real horror. The latter element was a key element in Disney`s characteristics, as Disney itself believed that teenagers could tolerate evil antagonists and scenes of unpleasantness, provided that the forces of good triumphed in the end. 9.
In August 2002, Disney said it had expressed strong interest in buying Universal Studios, whose parent company Vivendi began a bidding war after inheriting $17.9 billion in debt by buying Seagram`s famed big movie studio for $34 billion.  In addition, Universal Orlando`s Islands of Adventure has experienced a catastrophically low visitor count since the park opened in 1999, and the attacks of September 11, 2001 have led to a decline in tourist visitors to Universal parks and resorts around the world. As a result, Vivendi had no interest in investing more significantly in universal parks and may have been one of the reasons for the sale of Universal.  Analysts have speculated that Universal should be available at a favorable price to justify such a transaction. „Owning more theme parks could make Disney even more cyclical because it`s a cyclical business,“ said Katherine Styponias of Prudential Securities.  Nevertheless, Disney was unable to pursue a takeover for a variety of reasons, as the share price was at its lowest level in 52 weeks and it is likely that the Disney/Universal deal will be blocked for antitrust reasons (e.g.