Walt Disney

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Posted by pompos 03/03/2009 @ 21:09

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There's no magic in this Disney vacation - Kansas City Star
My family of four joined my sister's family and our mother at Walt Disney World. Even though we were on the same reservation — called a “Grand Gathering” by Disney — one of our rooms was far away from the rest of us at the Wilderness Lodge....
New Disney museum in San Francisco will be all about Walt - Los Angeles Times
A new museum about the life of Walt Disney is planned to open in three buildings in San Francisco's Presidio in the fall, but don't expect any spinning Tea Cups or Haunted Mansion. His daughter Diane Disney Miller said in a release: “My father's name...
Walt Disney Animation Collection: Volume 4: The Tortoise and the Hare - JustPressPlay
Volume 4 of the Disney Classic Short Films collection has an odd problem in that the title cartoon, while undeniably classic, pales in comparison to the rest of the cartoons in the set. For adult Disney collectors the older make-up of the films on this...
Need to know - Los Angeles Times
It's not a theme park, but it does bear the name Disney. A new museum about the life of Walt Disney will open in three buildings in San Francisco's Presidio in the fall, but don't expect any spinning Tea Cups or a Haunted Mansion....
Thanks to Pixar, a Cannes Launch Most Uplifting - Washington Post
("Walt Disney always said, 'For every laugh there should be a tear,' " Lasseter noted.) The quiet, un-starry nature of "Up" might make it the perfect fit for this year's edition of the festival. The film's mix of technical ambition and tonal modesty...
Profile of Mark Matheis - Disney Historian - DIS Unplugged
Because of my recent trips to Walt Disney World, I have become more and more interested in the history of Walt Disney the man as well as the Disney Parks. Therefore, when one of the events on the recent DIS Unplugged Podcast Cruise was a talk by Disney...
RealNetworks Sues Disney - Los Angeles Business Journal
By DEBORAH CROWE RealNetworks Inc. has sued Walt Disney Co. and other movie studios, claiming they have conspired to eliminate competition in the DVD market. The Seattle company, which operates the Rhapsody music site and develops software for playing...
Songwriting brothers had off-key relationship - San Francisco Chronicle
As in Richard and Bob Sherman - Walt Disney's favorite tunesmiths. A documentary about them had an electrifying premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival as the good and bad side of the brothers' story was finally told, with members of...
Disney's A Christmas Carol Goes On Train Tour - Magical Mountain
The Walt Disney Studios press release stated the following: "Among the highlights of the tour are authentic artifacts on loan from the Charles Dickens Museum of London; artwork, costumes and props from the film; demonstrations of performance capture...
Disneyland a magical kingdom, even for grown-ups - San Jose Mercury News
Paradise Pier will get a makeover, complete with a fantastic-looking water show called "Disney's World of Color." The entrance also will be renovated, aiming to look more like Southern California in the 1920s and '30s, when Walt Disney first came to...

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

The Walt Disney Home Video "Neon Mickey" logo used in 1981 on international releases, and on US releases from 1983-October 1986.  A variation of this reading "Walt Disney (in a different font) Home Entertainment (in Times New Roman font)" was used previously on US releases from 1978 to 1984.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is the flagship label ('cf record label') of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the home video distribution division of The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney Home Entertainment also operates as Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Disney began distributing videos under its own label in 1980, while Village Roadshow distributed the Disney home video titles in Australia throughout the 1980s.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment should not be confused with Disney's similarly named but separate business units Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (theatrical film distributor for the Walt Disney Company), Buena Vista Theatrical Productions (producer of live musicals), and the Disney Music Group (record label distributor).

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., distributes DVDs under the labels Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Touchstone Home Entertainment, Miramax Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The company and its predecessors formerly distributed other labels such as Hollywood Pictures Home Video, Dimension Home Video, and Muppet Home Video. With the coming of DVD, "Home Entertainment" replaced "Home Video" in label names.

Before Disney began releasing home video titles itself, it licensed some titles to MCA Discovision for their newly-developed disc format, later called Laserdisc. According to the Blam Entertainment Group website, which has extensive details of DiscoVision releases, only seven Disney titles were actually released on DiscoVision. One of these was the feature film Kidnapped. The others were compilations of Disney shorts. The first titles released in 1978 included: On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends (#D61-503), Kids is Kids (#D61-504), At Home with Donald Duck (#D61-505), Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale (#D61-506), and finally The Coyote's Lament (#D61-507) which was released in May 1979. Disney's agreement with MCA ended in December 1981.

In 1980, Disney established its own video distribution operation as part of Walt Disney Telecommunications and Non-Theatrical Company (WDTNT) with Jim Jimirro as its first president. Home video was not considered to be a major market by Disney at the time. WDTNT also handled the marketing of other miscellaneous ancillary items such as short 8 mm films for home use.

Disney's first releases on tape were 13 titles that were licensed for rental to Fotomat on March 4, 1980, initially in a four-city test (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose), to be expanded nationwide by the end of 1980. The agreement specified rental fees ranging from $7.95 to $13.95. This first batch of titles on VHS and Beta included 10 live action movies: Pete's Dragon (#10), The Black Hole (#11), The Love Bug (#12), Escape to Witch Mountain (#13), Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (#14), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (#15), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (#16), The North Avenue Irregulars (#17), The Apple Dumpling Gang (#18), and Hot Lead and Cold Feet (#19); and three of the compilations of short cartoons previously released by DiscoVision: On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends (#20), Kids is Kids starring Donald Duck (#21), and Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale (#22). Later, on December 30, 1980, Mary Poppins (#23) was added to make 14 titles in all.

No new titles were released for half a year after Mary Poppins, but Walt Disney Home Video announced an expanded program for "Authorized Rental Dealers" in December 1980, and began to expand its dealer network during the first part of 1981. From January 1 to March 31, 1981, Disney had a "License One — Get One Free" promotion to encourage dealers to sign up. They also offered free rental use of a 7-minute Mickey Mouse Disco videocassette for customers who rented any title from an Authorized Rental Dealer from February through May 1981.

Disney was unusual among the major studios in offering a program for authorized rentals. Most of the other studios involved in the videocassette market at the time were trying to find ways to stop dealers from renting out their movie tapes. Magnetic Video (with titles from 20th Century Fox and others) ceased doing business with Fotomat after Fotomat began renting Magnetic Video cassettes without authorization. Disney's rental cassettes in blue cases looked completely different from sale cassettes, which were in white cases. This was designed to make it easy for Disney representatives to tell if dealers were violating their dealer agreements by renting out cassettes intended for sale.

The first of the Disney animated features canon to be released on videocassette was Dumbo on June 28, 1981, for rental only. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was released for rental and sale at the same time. Alice in Wonderland was released on October 15, 1981, for rental only. The other 15 animated features weren't on video due to only being released in theaters for re-release, as well as Walt Disney himself saying that he never wanted his films on the small screen.

Their agreement with DiscoVision having ended in 1981, Disney began releasing Laserdiscs under the Walt Disney Home Video label to their own network of distributors and dealers. The first five titles were shipped in June 1982: The Black Hole, The Love Bug, Escape to Witch Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoons, Collection One. Five more titles shipped in July: Pete's Dragon, Dumbo, Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, and Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoons, Collection Two.

Disney released more cartoon compilations (pre-Walt Disney Cartoon Classics in 1983) in late 1981, including Goofy Over Sports and A Tale of Two Critters.

Dumbo was released for sale on tape in summer 1982, while Alice in Wonderland was released for sale in November 1982. The next major animated feature to be released (excluding the "package" anthology features) was Robin Hood on December 6, 1984, starting the Walt Disney Classics collection. By 1982, all the video releases were for sale and rental, along with newer releases, but at high prices.

To market these new video releases, the company produced an exclusive promo seen after various Disney video films. The promo was nicknamed "Walt Disney and You" by fans on account of the customized tune in the promo. The promo also featured clips from the various releases and ended with a video-freeze of the then-current Walt Disney Home Video opening sequence (known as the "Neon Mickey"; a screenshot from this can be seen above).

July 16, 1985 saw the home video premiere of Pinocchio which became the bestselling video of that year.

Disney later produced the Disney Sing-Along Songs collection of videos for young children in association with Harry Arends and Phil Savenick. The series first hit stores on December 23, 1986.

Disney DVD is the brand name under which Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases its Disney-branded motion pictures. In 1997, Disney began releasing titles on DVD, with VHS releases phased out after Bambi II was released in 2006. The brand launched a loyalty program called Disney Movie Rewards in October 2006. Participants can collect points by mailing in ticket stubs from DVD purchases. The points can be redeemed for prizes like games, books, and collectibles.

The Platinum Editions are a line of special edition DVDs released by Disney. Originally, the line comprised the company's ten best-selling VHS titles and was released in October of each year. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first film to receive this honor in 2001. The two following titles, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were released in IMAX and other giant screen theaters during the holiday season before its October DVD release. Due to underperforming box office results, this tradition was terminated after Aladdin. In May 2003, Disney announced that they would be adding the next four best-selling titles to the collection. Starting in 2005, a Platinum Edition was released in October and February/March. Another tradition practiced for these released are gift sets. These gift sets contain supplements such as original animation sketches, a film frame, and a companion's book. The current list of Platinum Editions includes: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians and Sleeping Beauty. The original plan for the Platinum Editions was that they would be released ten years after they are put in the Disney Vault. Since then, this time has been shortened to seven years.

Disney Blu-ray is the brand name under which Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases its Disney-branded motion pictures in High-Definition. In late 2006/early 2007, Disney began releasing titles, like the Pirates of the Caribbean films and the National Treasure films, on Blu-ray Disc.

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Walt Disney

Walt disney portrait.jpg

Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was a multiple Academy Award-winning American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Disney is famous for his influence in the field of entertainment during the twentieth century. As the co-founder (with his brother Roy O. Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Disney became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. The corporation he co-founded, now known as The Walt Disney Company, today has annual revenues of approximately U.S. $35 billion.

Disney is particularly noted for being a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created a number of the world's most famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse. He received fifty-nine Academy Award nominations and won twenty-six Oscars, including a record four in one year, and thus holds the record for the individual with the most awards and the most nominations. He also won seven Emmy Awards. He is the namesake for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the United States, Japan, France, and China.

Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966, a few years prior to the opening of his Walt Disney World Resort dream project in Florida.

Walt Disney was born to Elias Disney an Irish-Canadian, and his mother, Flora Call Disney, who was of German-American descent. Walt Disney's ancestors had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny in Ireland. Arundel Elias Disney, great-grandfather of Walt Disney, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1801 and was a descendant of Hughes and his son Robert d'Isigny (France) who settled in England with William the Conqueror in 1066.. The d'Isigny family settled in the village now known as Norton Disney, south of the city of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire.

His father Elias Disney moved from Huron County, Ontario to the United States in 1878, seeking first for gold in California but finally farming with his parents near Ellis, Kansas until 1884. He worked for Union Pacific Railroad and married Flora Call on January 1, 1888 in Acron, Florida. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1890, where his brother Robert lived. For most of his early life, Robert helped Elias financially. In 1906, when Walt was four, Elias and his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where his brother Roy had recently purchased farmland. While in Marceline, Disney developed his love for drawing. One of their neighbors, a retired doctor named "Doc" Sherwood, paid him to draw pictures of Sherwood's horse, Rupert. He also developed his love for trains in Marceline, which owed its existence to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway which ran through town. Walt would put his ear to the tracks in anticipation of the coming train. Then he would look for his uncle, engineer Michael Martin, running the train.

The Disneys remained in Marceline for four years, before moving to Kansas City in 1911. There, Walt and his sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School where he met Walter Pfeiffer. The Pfeiffers were theatre aficionados, and introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Soon, Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers' than at home.

In 1917, Elias acquired shares in the O-Zell jelly factory in Chicago and moved his family back there. In the fall, Disney began his freshman year at McKinley High School and began taking night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. Disney became the cartoonist for the school newspaper. His cartoons were very patriotic, focusing on World War I. Disney dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen to join the Army, but the army rejected him because he was underage.

After his rejection from the army, Walt and one of his friends decided to join the Red Cross. Soon after he joined The Red Cross, Walt was sent to France for a year, where he drove an ambulance.

In 1919, Walt, hoping to find work outside the Chicago Ozell factory, left home and moved back to Kansas City to begin his artistic career. After considering becoming an actor or a newspaper artist, he decided he wanted to create a career in the newspaper, drawing political charicatures or comic strips. But when nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or even as an ambulance driver, his brother Roy, who worked at a bank in the area, got a temporarily job for him at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio through a bank colleague . At Pesmen-Rubin, Disney created ads for newspapers, magazines, and movie theaters. It was here that he met a cartoonist named Ubbe Iwerks. When their time at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio expired and their both were without a job, they decided to start their own commercial company.

In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called, "Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists". However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at Kansas City Film Ad Company, and was soon joined by Iwerks who was not able to run the business alone. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation, Disney took up an interest in the field of animation, and decided to become an animator. He was allowed by the owner of the Ad Company, A.V. Cauger, to borrow a camera from work, which he could use to experiment with at home. After reading a book by Edwin G. Lutz, called Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, he found cel animation to be much more promising than the cutout animation he was doing for Cauger. Walt eventually decided to open his own animation business, and recruited a fellow co-worker at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, Fred Harman, as his first employee. Walt and Harman then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman-arguably the most popular "showman" in the Kansas City area at the time- to air their cartoons — which they titled "Laugh-O-Grams" — at his local theater.

Disney and his brother pooled their money to set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood. Needing to find a distributor for his new Alice Comedies-which he started making while in Kansas City, but never got to distribute- Disney sent an unfinished print to New York distributor Margaret Winkler, who promptly wrote back to him. She was keen on a distribution deal with Disney for more live-action/animated shorts based upon Alice's Wonderland.

Virginia Davis (the live-action star of Alice’s Wonderland) and her family were relocated at Disney's request from Kansas City to Hollywood, as were Iwerks and his family. This was the beginning of the Disney Brothers' Studio. It was located on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district, where the studio would remain until 1939. In 1925, Disney hired a young woman named Lillian Bounds to ink and paint celluloid. After a brief period of dating her, the two got married the same year.

The new series, Alice Comedies, was reasonably successful, and featured both Dawn O'Day and Margie Gay as Alice. Lois Hardwick also briefly assumed the role of Alice. By the time the series ended in 1927, the focus was more on the animated characters, in particular a cat named Julius who resembled Felix the Cat, rather than the live-action Alice.

By 1927, Charles B. Mintz had married Margaret Winkler and assumed control of her business, and ordered a new all-animated series to be put into production for distribution through Universal Pictures. The new series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was an almost instant success, and the character, Oswald—drawn and created by Iwerks—became a popular figure. The Disney studio expanded, and Walt hired back Harman, Rudolph Ising, Carman Maxwell, and Friz Freleng from Kansas City. In February 1928, Disney went to New York to negotiate a higher fee per short from Mintz. Disney was shocked when Mintz announced that not only he wanted to reduce the fee he paid Disney per short but also that he had most of his main animators, including Harman, Ising, Maxwell, and Freleng (notably, except Iwerks, who refused to leave Disney) under contract and would start his own studio if Disney did not accept the reduced production budgets. Universal, not Disney, owned the Oswald trademark, and could make the films without Disney. Disney declined Mintz's offer and lost most of his animation staff.

With most of his staff gone Disney now found himself on his own again. It took Disney's company 78 years to get back the rights to the Oswald character. The Walt Disney Company reacquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC Universal in 2006, through a trade for longtime ABC sports commentator Al Michaels.

After losing the rights to Oswald, Disney felt the need to develop a new character to replace him. He based the character on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in a Kansas City studio. Ub Iwerks reworked on the sketches made by Disney so that it was easier to animate it. However, Mickey's voice and personality was provided by Disney. As many of the old animators have commented, "Ub designed Mickey's physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul." Besides Oswald and Mickey, a similar mouse-character is seen in Alice Comedies which featured a mouse named Ike the Mouse, and the first Flip the Frog cartoon called Fiddlesticks, which showed a Mickey Mouse-look alike playing fiddle. The initial films were animated by Iwerks, his name was prominently featured on the title cards. The mouse was originally named "Mortimer", but later christened "Mickey Mouse" by Lillian Disney who thought that the name Mortimer did not fit. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey's rival for Minnie, who was taller than his renowned adversary and had a Brooklyn accent.

The first animated short with Mickey in it was titled, Plane Crazy, which was, like all of Disney's previous works, a silent film. After failing to find a distributor for Plane Crazy or its follow-up, The Gallopin' Gaucho, Disney created a Mickey cartoon with sound called Steamboat Willie. A businessman named Pat Powers provided Disney with both distribution and Cinephone, a sound-synchronization process. Steamboat Willie became an instant success, and Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, and all future Mickey cartoons were released with soundtracks. Disney himself provided the vocal effects for the earliest cartoons and performed as the voice of Mickey Mouse until 1946. After the release of Steamboat Willie, Walt Disney would continue to successfully use sound in all of his future cartoons, and Cinephone became the new distributor for Disney's early sound cartoons as well. Mickey soon eclipsed Felix the Cat as the world's most popular cartoon character. By 1930, Felix, now in sound, had faded from the screen, as his sound cartoons failed to gain attention. Mickey's popularity would now skyrocket in the early 1930s.

Following the footsteps of Mickey Mouse series, a series of musical shorts titled, Silly Symphonies was released in 1929. The first of these was titled The Skeleton Dance and was entirely drawn and animated by Iwerks, who was also responsible for drawing the majority of cartoons released by Disney in 1928 and 1929. Although both series were successful, the Disney studio was not seeing its rightful share of profits from Pat Powers, and in 1930, Disney signed a new distribution deal with Columbia Pictures. The original basis of the cartoons were musical novelty, and Carl Stalling wrote the score for the first Silly Symphony cartoons as well.

Iwerks was soon lured by Powers into opening his own studio with an exclusive contract. Later, Carl Stalling would also leave Disney to join Iwerks' new studio. Iwerks launched his Flip the Frog series with first voice cartoon in color, "Fiddlesticks," filmed in two-strip Technicolor. Iwerks also created two other series of cartoons, the Willie Whopper and the Comicolor. In 1936, Iwerks shut his studio to work on various projects dealing with animation technology. He would return to Disney in 1940 and, would go on to pioneer a number of film processes and specialized animation technologies in the studio's research and development department.

By 1932, Mickey Mouse had become quite a popular cinema character, but Silly Symphonies was not as successful. The same year also saw competition for Disney grow worse as Max Fleischer's flapper cartoon character, Betty Boop would gain more popularity among theater audiences. Fleischer was considered to be Disney's main rival in the 1930s, and was also the father of Richard Fleischer, whom Disney would later hire to direct his 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Meanwhile, Columbia Pictures dropped the distribution of Disney cartoons and was replaced by United Artists. In late 1932, Herbert Kalmus, who had just completed work on the first three-strip technicolor camera, approached Walt and convinced him to redo Flowers and Trees, which was originally done in black and white, with three-strip Technicolor. Flowers and Trees would go on to be a phenomenal success and would also win the first Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons for 1932. After Flowers and Trees was released, all future Silly Symphony cartoons were done in color as well. Disney was also able to negotiate a two-year deal with Technicolor, giving him the sole right to use three-strip Technicolor, which would also eventually be extended to five years as well. Through Silly Symphonies, Disney would also create his most successful cartoon short of all time, The Three Little Pigs, in 1933. The cartoon ran in theaters for many months, and also featured the hit song that became the anthem of the Great Depression, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf".

In 1932, Disney received a special Academy Award for the creation of "Mickey Mouse", whose series was made into color in 1935 and soon launched spin-off series for supporting characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto; Pluto and Donald would immediately get their individual cartoons in 1937, and Goofy would get solo cartoons in 1939 as well. Of all of Mickey's partners, Donald Duck–who first teamed with Mickey in the 1934 cartoon, Orphan's Benefit–was arguably the most popular, and went on to become Disney's second most successful cartoon character of all time.

The Disneys' first attempt at pregnancy ended up in Lilly having a miscarriage. When Lilly Disney became pregnant again, she gave birth to a daughter, Diane Marie Disney, on December 18, 1933. A few years later, the Disneys adopted Sharon Mae Disney, (born December 21, 1934) as their second child.

After the creation of two cartoon series, Disney soon began plans for a full-length feature in 1934. In 1935, opinion polls showed that another cartoon series, Popeye the Sailor, produced by Max Fleischer, was more popular than Mickey Mouse. Disney was, however, able to put Mickey back on top, and also increase Mickey's popularity further by colorizing him and partially redesigning him into what was considered to be his most appealing design up to this point in time. When the film industry came to know about Disney's plans to produce an animated feature-length version of Snow White, they dubbed the project as "Disney's Folly" and were certain that the project would destroy the Disney studio. Both Lillian and Roy tried to talk Disney out of the project, but he continued plans for the feature. He employed Chouinard Art Institute professor Don Graham to start a training operation for the studio staff, and used the Silly Symphonies as a platform for experiments in realistic human animation, distinctive character animation, special effects, and the use of specialized processes and apparatus such as the multiplane camera; Disney would first use this new technique in the 1937 Silly Symphonies short The Old Mill.

All of this development and training was used to elevate the quality of the studio so that it would be able to give the feature film the quality Disney desired. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as the feature was named, was in full production from 1934 until mid-1937, when the studio ran out of money. To acquire the funding to complete Snow White, Disney had to show a rough cut of the motion picture to loan officers at the Bank of America, who gave the studio the money to finish the picture. The finished film premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937; at the conclusion of the film, the audience gave Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a standing ovation. Snow White, the first animated feature in English and Technicolor, was released in February 1938 under a new distribution deal with RKO Radio Pictures; RKO had previously been the distributor for Disney cartoons in 1936, after it closed down the Van Beuren Studios in exchange for distribution. The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and earned over $8 million in its original theatrical release.

The success of Snow White, (for which Disney received one full-size, and seven miniature Oscar statuettes) allowed Disney to build a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which opened for business on December 24, 1939; Snow White was not only the peak of Disney's success, but it also ushered into what was known as the Golden Age of Animation for Disney. The feature animation staff, having just completed Pinocchio, continued work on Fantasia and Bambi, while the shorts staff continued work on the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto cartoon series, ending the Silly Symphonies at this time. Animator Fred Moore had redesigned Mickey Mouse in the late 1930s, when Donald Duck began to gain more popularity among theater audiences than Mickey Mouse.

Pinocchio and Fantasia followed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into the movie theaters in 1940, but both were financial disappointments. The inexpensive Dumbo was planned as an income generator, but during production of the new film, most of the animation staff went on strike, permanently straining the relationship between Disney and his artists.

Shortly after the release of Dumbo in October 1941, the United States entered World War II. The U.S. Army contracted most of the Disney studio's facilities and had the staff create training and instructional films for the military, home-front morale-boosting shorts such as Der Fuehrer's Face and the feature film Victory Through Air Power in 1943. However, the military films did not generate income, and the feature film Bambi underperformed when it was released in April 1942. Disney successfully re-issued Snow White in 1944, establishing a 7-year re-release tradition for Disney features.

The Disney studios also created inexpensive package films, containing collections of cartoon shorts, and issued them to theaters during this period. The most notable and successful of these were Saludos Amigos (1942), its sequel The Three Caballeros (1945), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). The latter had only two sections: the first based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, and the second based on The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. During this period, Disney also ventured into full-length dramatic films that mixed live action and animated scenes, including Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart. After the war ended, Mickey's popularity would also fade as well.

By the late 1940s, the studio had recovered enough to continue production on the full-length features, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, which had been shelved during the war years, and began work on Cinderella, which became Disney's most successful film since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The studio also began a series of live-action nature films, titled True-Life Adventures, in 1948 with On Seal Island. Despite rebounding success through feature films, Disney's animation shorts were no longer as popular as they used to be, and people began to instead draw attention to Warner Bros and their animation star Bugs Bunny; by 1942, Warner Bros' Termite Terrace officially became the most popular animation studio. However, while Bugs Bunny's popularity rose in the 1940s, so did Donald Duck's; Donald would also replace Mickey Mouse as Disney's star character in 1949.

During the mid-1950s, Disney produced a number of educational films on the space program in collaboration with NASA rocket designer Wernher von Braun: Man in Space and Man and the Moon in 1955, and Mars and Beyond in 1957.

In 1947, during the early years of the Cold War, Disney testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he branded Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance, former animators and labor union organizers, as Communist agitators. All three men denied the allegations. Archives of the Soviet Union released by the Russian government implicate Sorrell as a Communist spy. Disney accused the Screen Actors Guild of being a Communist front, and charged that the 1941 strike was part of an organized Communist effort to gain influence in Hollywood.

During 1949, Disney and his family moved to a new home on a large piece of property in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles, California. With the help of his friends Ward and Betty Kimball, owners of their own backyard railroad, Disney developed blueprints and immediately set to work on creating a miniature live steam railroad for his backyard. The name of the railroad, Carolwood Pacific Railroad, originated from the address of his home that was located on Carolwood Drive. The railroad's half-mile long layout included a 46-foot (14 m)-long trestle, loops, overpasses, gradients, an elevated berm, and a 90-foot (27 m) tunnel underneath Mrs. Disney's flowerbed. He named the miniature working steam locomotive built by Roger E. Broggie of the Disney Studios Lilly Belle in his wife's honor. He had his attorney draw up right-of-way papers giving the railroad a permanent, legal easement through the garden areas, which his wife dutifully signed; However, there is no evidence of the documents ever recorded as a restriction on the property's title.

On a business trip to Chicago in the late-1940s, Disney drew sketches of his ideas for an amusement park where he envisioned his employees spending time with their children. He got his idea for a children's theme park after visiting Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California. This plan was originally meant for a plot located south of the Studio, across the street. The original ideas developed into a concept for a larger enterprise that was to become Disneyland. Disney spent five years of his life developing Disneyland and created a new subsidiary of his company, called WED Enterprises, to carry out the planning and production of the park. A small group of Disney studio employees joined the Disneyland development project as engineers and planners, and were dubbed Imagineers.

When describing one of his earliest plans to Herb Ryman (who created the first aerial drawing of Disneyland which was presented to the Bank of America while requesting for funds), Disney said, "Herbie, I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train." Entertaining his daughters and their friends in his backyard and taking them for rides on his Carolwood Pacific Railroad had inspired Disney to include a railroad in the plans for Disneyland.

As Walt Disney Productions began work on Disneyland, it also began expanding its other entertainment operations. In 1950, Treasure Island became the studio's first all-live-action feature, and was soon followed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (in CinemaScope, 1954), The Shaggy Dog (1959), and The Parent Trap (1961). The Walt Disney Studio produced its first TV special, One Hour in Wonderland, in 1950. Disney began hosting a weekly anthology series on ABC named Disneyland after the park, where he showed clips of past Disney productions, gave tours of his studio, and familiarized the public with Disneyland as it was being constructed in Anaheim, California. The show also featured a Davy Crockett miniseries, which started a craze among the American youth known as the Davy Crockett craze, in which millions of coonskin caps and other Crockett memorabilia were sold across the country. In 1955, the studio's first daily television show, Mickey Mouse Club debuted, which would continue in many various incarnations into the 1990s.

As the studio expanded and diversified into other media, Disney devoted less of his attention to the animation department, entrusting most of its operations to his key animators, whom he dubbed the Nine Old Men. During Disney's lifetime, the animation department created the successful Lady and the Tramp (in CinemaScope, 1955), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Sleeping Beauty (in Super Technirama 70mm, 1959) and The Sword in the Stone (1963).

Production on the short cartoons had kept pace until 1956, when Disney shut down the shorts division. Special shorts projects would continue to be made for the rest of the studio's duration on an irregular basis. These productions were all distributed by Disney's new subsidiary, Buena Vista Distribution, which had assumed all distribution duties for Disney films from RKO by 1955. Disneyland, one of the world's first theme parks, finally opened on July 17, 1955, and was immediately successful. Visitors from around the world came to visit Disneyland, which contained attractions based upon a number of successful Disney properties and films.

After 1955, the show, Disneyland came to be known as Walt Disney Presents. The show transformed from black-and-white to color in 1961 and changed its name to Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, moving from ABC to NBC, and eventually evolving into its current form as The Wonderful World of Disney. It continued to air on NBC until 1981, when CBS picked it up. Since then, it has aired on ABC, NBC, Hallmark Channel and Cartoon Network via separate broadcast rights deals. During its run, the Disney series offered some recurring characters, such as Roger Mobley appearing as the newspaper reporter and sleuth "Gallegher", based on the writing of Richard Harding Davis.

Disney had already formed his own music publishing division back in 1949. In 1956, partly inspired by the huge success of the television theme song The Ballad of Davy Crockett, he created a company-owned record production and distribution entity called Disneyland Records.

By the early 1960s, the Disney empire was a major success, and Walt Disney Productions had established itself as the world's leading producer of family entertainment. Walt Disney was the Head of Pageantry for the 1960 Winter Olympics. After decades of pursuing, Disney finally procured the rights to P.L. Travers' books about a magical nanny. Mary Poppins, released in 1964, was the most successful Disney film of the 1960s and featured a memorable song score written by Disney favorites, the Sherman Brothers. The same year, Disney debuted a number of exhibits at the 1964 New York World's Fair, including Audio-Animatronic figures, all of which were later integrated into attractions at Disneyland and a new theme park project which was to be established on the East Coast.

Disney World was to include a larger, more elaborate version of Disneyland which was to be called the Magic Kingdom. It would also feature a number of golf courses and resort hotels. The heart of Disney World, however, was to be the Experimental Prototype City (or Community) of Tomorrow, or EPCOT for short.

Walt Disney had had ideas for a ski resort in Mineral King for a while, called Walt Disney ski resort. In the mid 60's, his plans finnaly moved into action, but before the actual work was started, Walt had already died. This, and the actions from preservationists, made sure the resort was never built.

Disney's involvement in Disney World ended in late 1966; after many years of chain smoking cigarettes, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was admitted to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center across the street from the Disney Studio, where his health began to deteriorate, causing him to suffer cardiac arrest. Just before he was hospitalized, Disney was scheduled to undergo a neck surgery for an old polo injury; Disney was a frequent polo player at The Riveria Club in Hollywood, California for many years. On November 2, 1966, during pre-surgery X-rays, doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital in Los Angeles discovered that Disney had an enormous tumor on his left lung. Five days later, Disney went back to hospital for surgery, but the tumor had spread to such great extent that doctors had to remove his entire left lung. The doctors then told Disney that he only had six months to a year to live. After several chemotherapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short amount of time in Palm Springs, California before returning home. On November 30, 1966, Disney collapsed in his home, but was revived by paramedics, and was taken back to the hospital, where he died on December 15, 1966 at 9:30 a.m., ten days after his sixty-fifth birthday. He was cremated on December 17, 1966 and his ashes reside at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Roy O. Disney continued to carry out the Florida project, insisting that the name be changed to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother.

A long-standing urban legend maintains that Disney was cryonically frozen, and his frozen corpse was stored underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. However, this was discredited due to the fact that Disney was cremated, and the first known instance of Cryonic Freezing of a corpse (of Dr. James Bedford) occurred a month later in January.

The final productions in which Disney had an active role were the animated feature, The Jungle Book and the live-action musical comedy The Happiest Millionaire, both released in 1967.

After Walt Disney's death, Roy Disney returned from retirement to take full control of Walt Disney Productions and WED Enterprises. In October that year, their families met in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom to officially open the Walt Disney World Resort.

After giving his dedication for Walt Disney World, he then asked Lillian Disney to join him. As the orchestra played "When You Wish Upon a Star", she stepped up to the podium accompanied by Mickey Mouse. He then said, "Lilly, you knew all of Walt's ideas and hopes as well as anybody; what would Walt think of it ?". "I think Walt would have approved," she replied. Roy died from a cerebral hemorrhage on December 20, 1971, the day he was due to open the Disneyland Christmas parade.

During the second phase of the "Walt Disney World" theme park, EPCOT was translated by Disney's successors into EPCOT Center, which opened in 1982. As it currently exists, EPCOT is essentially a living world's fair, different from the actual functional city that Disney had envisioned. In 1992, Walt Disney Imagineering took the step closer to Walt's vision and dedicated Celebration, Florida, a town built by the Walt Disney Company adjacent to Walt Disney World, that hearkens back to the spirit of EPCOT. EPCOT was also originally intended to be devoid of Disney characters which initially limited the appeal of the park to young children but the company later changed this policy.

Today, Walt Disney's animation/motion picture studios and theme parks have developed into a multi-billion dollar television, motion picture, vacation destination and media corporation that carry his name. The Walt Disney Company today owns, among other assets, five vacation resorts, eleven theme parks, two water parks, thirty-nine hotels, eight motion picture studios, six record labels, eleven cable television networks, and one terrestrial television network. As of 2007, the company has an annual revenue of over U.S. $35 billion.

Traditional hand-drawn animation, with which Walt Disney started his company, no longer continues at the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio. After a stream of financially unsuccessful traditionally-animated features in the early 2000s, the two satellite studios in Paris and Orlando were closed, and the main studio in Burbank was converted to a computer animation production facility. In 2004, Disney released what was announced as their final "traditionally animated" feature film, Home on the Range. However, since the 2006 acquisition of Pixar, and the resulting rise of John Lasseter to Chief Creative Officer, that position has changed, and the upcoming 2009 film The Princess and the Frog will mark Disney's return to traditional cel animation.

In his later years, Disney devoted substantial time towards funding The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). It was formed in 1961 through a merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute, which had helped in the training of the animation staff during the 1930s. When Disney died, one-fourth of his estate went towards CalArts, which helped in building its campus. In his will, Disney paved the way for creation of several charitable trusts which included one for the California Institute of the Arts and other for the Disney Foundation. He also donated 38 acres (Template:Convert/sqmi km²) of the Golden Oaks ranch in Valencia for the school to be built on. CalArts moved onto the Valencia campus in 1971.

Walt Disney holds the records for number of Academy Award nominations (with fifty-nine) and number of awarded Oscars (twenty-six, below). Four of his Oscars were special awards, and one, his last, was granted posthumously.

Walt Disney was the inaugural recipient of a star on the Anaheim walk of stars. The star was awarded in honor of Disney's significant contributions to the city of Anaheim, California, specifically, Disneyland, which is now the Disneyland Resort. The star is located at the pedestrian entrance to the Disneyland Resort on Harbor Boulevard.

Walt Disney received the Congressional Gold Medal on May 24, 1968 (P.L. 90-316, 82 Stat. 130-131) and the Légion d'Honneur in France in 1935. In 1935, Walt received a special medal from the League of Nations for creation of Mickey Mouse. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on September 14, 1964. On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Walt Disney into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.

A minor planet 4017 Disneya discovered in 1980 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Georgievna Karachkina is named after him.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, opened in 2003, was named in his honor.

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Walt Disney Studios Park

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Walt Disney Studios Park is the second theme park of Disneyland Resort Paris, but also owned and operated by Euro Disney S.C.A., at the heart of the Disney resort complex in Marne-la-Vallée.

The park is currently promoting the resort's 15th Anniversary Celebration with new attractions and entertainment to mark the occasion.

The park opened on March 16, 2002 and is themed after a working film studio, with the "lands" being studio lots. Most of its attractions are imported from the other Disney parks in California, Florida and Tokyo, although the park has original attractions including Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular, which was later exported to Disney-MGM Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

It was traditional for a period of time for Walt Disney Feature Animation to have a satellite animation studio at each of the company's resorts, but the Paris studio was located in Montreuil, at the city limits of Paris and was never associated with the park.

Originally the Brizzi studio owned by brothers Paul Brizzi and Gaëtan Brizzi, Disney purchased the studio in the early 1990s and renamed it Walt Disney Feature Animation Paris. WDFA Paris' first films were A Goofy Movie and the Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain. WDFA Paris contributed sequences to every Disney film from The Hunchback of Notre Dame to Atlantis: The Lost Empire, most notably producing the Firebird Suite sequence for Fantasia 2000. It was closed in 2004 following Disney Florida and Disney Japan, when Feature Animation was downsized to save production costs.

Disney-MGM Studios Europe was the original plan for a second theme park and was scheduled to open in 1995. However, these plans were cancelled around mid-1992 due to the resorts financial crisis of that time.

After the resort began to make a profit, plans for a movie themed theme park went into development again but on a much smaller scale. In 2002, the Walt Disney Studios Park opened.

June 2007 saw the opening of a brand new "land" in the Animation Courtyard area of the park. Called Toon Studio, the new area is themed as a "toon backlot", apparently representing the film studio work place of animated characters, where they produce their animated classics. The concept has been created exclusively for Walt Disney Studios Park and features two brand new attractions, not seen in any other Disney Theme Park, along with small merchandising locations and many character meet-and-greets. The key attractions in this expansion phase are Crush's Coaster, a custom-designed Maurer Söhne SC 2000 indoor spinning roller coaster, and Cars: Race Rally themed to the 2006 Disney/Pixar film Cars, with the ride taking the form of an enhanced tea cups ride. Similar attractions can be found in Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo DisneySea and A bug's land in Disney's California Adventure.

On December 22, 2007, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction soft-opened with the new Hollywood Boulevard on Production Courtyard. Stitch Live! has replaced the Disney Channel Studio Tour.

The Walt Disney Studios features four themed areas.

The park's Backlot features attractions related to action movies and special effects.

Walt Disney Studios Park is considered a sister park to Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) in the Walt Disney World Resort, which opened in 1989. Both parks feature a show business theme, and the two parks share numerous attractions. The Earffel Tower, Walt Disney Studios Park's water-tower icon structure, is basically identical to Hollywood Studios' Earful Tower; Hollywood Studios' icon formerly was the Earful Tower prior to the construction of The Sorcerer's Hat in 2001.

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Walt Disney Imagineering

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Walt Disney Imagineering was formed by entertainment mogul Walt Disney on December 16, 1952 as WED Enterprises (WED: Walter Elias Disney) to develop plans for a theme park and to manage Disney's personal assets. It was an independent, private company, owned by Walt Disney himself, but on February 3, 1965, was merged into Walt Disney Productions. It is known as Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), Disney Imagineering, or simply Imagineering and occasionally does business as Theme Park Productions, Inc.

Ever since the founding of WED Enterprises, when Walt Disney's favorites at the Walt Disney Studios were handpicked to design an immersive themed experience now known as Disneyland, the company has been shrouded in mystery and its secrets are proudly guarded by Disney executives as senior as former CEO Michael Eisner, who had regular meetings with the Imagineers up until a few years before his departure.

In recent years, many of the research and development division have been laid off, until the point where a few hundred Imagineers were employed by Disney, to perform tasks at the theme parks. Much more recently, as Disney has publicly acknowledged the failures of Disney's California Adventure and the Walt Disney Studios Paris, and new management has been brought in throughout the company's different divisions, Imagineering has once again begun recruiting. The theme parks now have a new attraction either being developed or having just opened at each of the eleven parks around the world.

In April 2006, John Lasseter, the new Principal Creative Adviser, a position created through the acquisition of Pixar by Disney, has made his feelings known about getting back to basics with Imagineering, such as focusing on the story-telling and not the technology so much. In a move which surprised many, he even made it known he would like Walt Disney Imagineering to return to the WED Enterprises name, partly in homage to Walt Disney and partly to regain the spirit that many feel left Walt Disney Imagineering in the late 1990s. He also said at the Walt Disney Company shareholders meeting in March that he felt that developing attractions based on movies to open in time with the movie's opening was a crucial step in moving Imagineering forward.

WED Enterprises applied for a trademark for the term in 1967, claiming first use in 1962.

The company was formed separately from Walt Disney Productions to keep the affairs separate. Although, when WED was required to design and build sets for Walt Disney's live-action television shows, WED and the Walt Disney Studios got closer together. In 1952 when WED were asked to design and build Disneyland, Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney formed Disneyland, Inc. to build, design, and manage Disneyland and produce the Disneyland television show. Disneyland, Inc was absorbed into WED Enterprises and WED Enterprises became a division of Walt Disney Studios - itself a division of Walt Disney Productions, now named The Walt Disney Company.

Walt Disney Imagineering is now the research and development arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, no longer a division of Walt Disney Productions. Imagineering also includes Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, the company which utilizes Imagineering techniques among others to create shows, fireworks displays and parades at the Disney theme parks which are significant enough not to be developed by the entertainment studios at that theme park.

An Imagineer (officially known as a Walt Disney Imagineer), is an employee of Walt Disney Imagineering, or any other employee of The Walt Disney Company given that title. Nearly all Imagineers work at the headquarters in Glendale, California, developing ideas and attractions for Disney parks. During the construction of a major project, Imagineers sometimes are deployed to work on-site for six months to a year.

Imagineers may include artists, writers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, model builders, construction managers, technicians and designers. Past Imagineers include Alan Kay, Bran Ferren, Robert Swirsky, Lee Adams and Danny Hillis.

The Imagineers have been called on by many other divisions of the Walt Disney Company as well as being contracted by outside firms to design and build structures outside of the theme parks.

Since the 1960s, Imagineering's headquarters have been in Glendale, California, a short distance from Disney's corporate headquarters in Burbank.

Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, and many other classic attractions.

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Walt Disney World Resort

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Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited and largest recreational resort in the world, containing four theme parks; two water parks; twenty-three themed hotels; and numerous shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation venues. Owned and operated by the [[Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment of The Walt Disney Company, it is located southwest of Orlando, Florida. The property is often abbreviated Walt Disney World, Disney World or WDW.

It opened on October 1, 1971, with the Magic Kingdom theme park, and has since added Epcot (on October 1, 1982), Disney's Hollywood Studios (on May 1, 1989), and Disney's Animal Kingdom (on April 22, 1998).

In 1959, Walt Disney Productions, under the leadership of Walt Disney, began looking for land for a second park to supplement Disneyland, which had opened in Anaheim, California in 1955. Market surveys revealed that only 2% of Disneyland's visitors came from east of the Mississippi River, where 75% of the population of the United States lived. Additionally, Walt Disney disliked the businesses that had sprung up around Disneyland and wanted control of a much larger area of land for the new project.

Walt Disney flew over the Orlando site (one of many) on November 22, 1963, the day of the Kennedy assasination. He previously flew over, and appealed to, the Sanford, Florida city council to allow him to build Disney World in Sanford, but his appeal was declined. The citizens of Sanford did not want the crime that was sure to come with tourism. He saw the well-developed network of roads, including the planned Interstate 4 and Florida's Turnpike, with McCoy Air Force Base (later Orlando International Airport) to the east, and immediately fell in love with the site. When later asked why he chose it, he said, "the freeway routes, they bisect here." Walt Disney focused most of his attention on the "Florida Project", both before and after his participation at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, but he died on December 15, 1966, five years before his vision was realized.

To avoid a burst of land speculation, Disney used various dummy corporations and cooperative individuals to acquire 27,400 acres (110 km², 43 mi²) of land. The first five-acre (20,000 m², 217400 ft²) lot was bought on October 23, 1964, by the Ayefour Corporation (a pun on Interstate 4). Others were also used with a second or secret meanings which add to the lore of the Florida Project, including M.T. Lott Real Estate Investments ("empty lot").

Much of the land had been platted into five-acre (20,000 m², 217400 ft²) lots in 1912 by the Munger Land Company and sold to investors. In most cases, the owners were happy to get rid of the land, which was mostly swamp. Yet another problem was the mineral rights to the land, owned by Tufts University. Without the transfer of these rights, Tufts could come in at any time and demand the removal of buildings to obtain minerals.

After most of the land had been bought, the truth of the property's owner was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper on October 20, 1965. A press conference soon was organized for November 15. At the presentation, Walt Disney explained the plans for the site, including EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which was to be a futuristic city (and which was also known as Progress City). Plans for EPCOT would drastically change after Disney's death. EPCOT became EPCOT Center, the resort's second theme park, which opened in 1982. Concepts from the original idea of EPCOT would be integrated into the community of Celebration much later.

The Reedy Creek Drainage District was incorporated on May 13, 1966 under Florida State Statutes Chapter 298, which gives powers including eminent domain to special Drainage Districts. To create the District, only the support of the landowners within was required.

Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, before his vision was realized. His brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney , postponed his retirement to oversee construction of the resort's first phase. The Disney Company worked with Robert Hart, a New York architect and founder of Hart Howerton, an architecture firm that specializes in large-scale land use, to develop the initial master plans for the park. Hart had previously worked with John Carl Warnecke & Associates, which designed the John F. Kennedy memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

On February 2, 1967, Roy O. Disney held a press conference at the Park Theatres in Winter Park, Florida. The role of EPCOT was emphasized in the film that was played, the last one recorded by Walt Disney before his death. After the film, it was explained that for Walt Disney World to succeed, a special district would have to be formed: the Reedy Creek Improvement District with two cities inside it, the City of Bay Lake and the City of Reedy Creek (now the City of Lake Buena Vista). In addition to the standard powers of an incorporated city, which include the issuance of tax-free bonds, the district would have immunity from any current or future county or state land-use laws. The only areas where the district had to submit to the county and state would be property taxes and elevator inspections.

The legislation forming the district and the two cities was signed into law on May 12, 1967. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that the district was allowed to issue tax-exempt bonds for public projects within the district despite the sole beneficiary being Walt Disney Productions.

The district soon began construction of drainage canals, and Disney built the first roads and the Magic Kingdom. Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground were also completed in time for the park's opening on October 1, 1971. The Palm and Magnolia golf courses near the Magic Kingdom had opened a few weeks before.

Roy O. Disney died on December 20, 1971, barely three months after the property opened.

Disney subsequently opened EPCOT Center in 1982, a theme park adapted from Walt Disney's vision for a "community of tomorrow". The park permanently adopted the name Epcot in 1996. In 1989, the resort added Disney-MGM Studios, a theme park inspired by show business, whose name was changed to Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2008. The resort's fourth theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, opened in 1998.

Meg Crofton was named president of the resort in August 2006, replacing Al Weiss, who had overseen the site since 1994.

Despite marketing claims and popular misconceptions, the Florida resort is not located within the Orlando city limits, but is just south of the city within southwestern Orange County, with the remainder in adjacent Osceola County. Most of the resort's land is located in the Orange County cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Orlando. Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista are controlled by Disney through the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The 25,000 acres (101 km2; 39 sq mi) site is accessible from Central Florida's Interstate 4 via Exits 62B (World Drive), 64B (US 192 West), 65B (Osceola Parkway West), 67B (SR 536 West), and 68 (SR 535 North), and Exit 8 on State Road 429 (Florida), the Western Expressway.

At its peak, the resort occupied approximately 30,000 acres (120 km2) or 47 square miles (120 km²), about the size of San Francisco, or twice the size of Manhattan. Portions of the property since have been sold or de-annexed, including land now occupied by the Disney-built community of Celebration.

The resort has a small aircraft runway located east of the Magic Kingdom parking lot. When the resort opened in 1971, Shawnee Airlines began regular passenger service from Orlando's McCoy Air Force Base (now Orlando International Airport) directly to Disney World's STOLport (Short Take Off and Landing) on a daily basis, with flights lasting only a few minutes. Today, the runway mostly is used as a staging area for buses and no longer is in service for aircraft.

Disney's property includes five golf courses. The four 18-hole golf courses are the Magnolia, the Palm, Lake Buena Vista and Osprey Ridge. There is also a nine-hole walking course called Oak Trail, designed for young golfers. Additionally, there are two themed miniature golf complexes, each with two courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland.

Catch-and-release fishing excursions are offered daily on the resort's lakes. A Florida fishing license is not required because it occurs on private property. Cane-pole fishing is offered from the docks at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney's Port Orleans Resort.

There are 32 resorts and hotels located on the Walt Disney World property. Of those, 22 are owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. The Disney resorts are classified into five categories: Deluxe, Deluxe Villa, Moderate, Value, and Campground. The other hotels are owned by private, non-Disney hospitality companies such as Starwood (Westin and Sheraton), Holiday Inn, Best Western, and Hilton.

Guests arriving at Orlando International Airport can be transported to their Disney resort from the airport using Disney's Magical Express service, and have their bags picked up and transported for them through a contract with BAGS Incorporated. Guests board custom motor coaches, watch a video about the Walt Disney World Resort, and their luggage is later delivered directly to their rooms.

When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the site employed about 5,500 "cast members". Today it employs more than 65,000, spending more than $1.1 billion on payroll and $478 million on benefits each year. The largest single-site employer in the United States , Walt Disney World Resort has more than 3,000 job classifications.

The resort also sponsors and operates the Walt Disney World College Program, an internship program that has American college students live on site and work for the resort, providing much of the theme park and resort "front line" cast members. There is also the Walt Disney World International College Program, an internship program that has college students from all over the world.

A fleet of Disney-operated buses on property, branded Disney Transport, is available for guests at no charge. In 2007, Disney Transport started a guest services upgrade to the buses. SatellGPS systems controlling new public address systems on the buses give safety information, park tips and other general announcements, with music. They are not to be confused with the Disney Cruise Line and Disney's Magical Express buses which are operated by Mears Transportation. Taxi boats link some locations.

The Walt Disney World Monorail System also provides transportation at Walt Disney World. A fleet of 12 monorail trains operates on three routes that interconnect at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) adjacent to the Magic Kingdom's parking lot. One line provides an express non-stop link from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom, whilst a second line provides a link from the TTC to Epcot. The third line links the TTC and the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian resorts.

During the resort's early planning stages, Walt Disney referred to the project as Project X, The Florida Project, Disney World, and The Disney World. Early visual references used the same medieval font as Disneyland. Walt Disney was very involved in the site selection and project planning in the years before his death. The secretive names were chosen because of the high confidentiality of the project during the initial planning.

After Walt Disney's death, Roy O. Disney added the name Walt to Disney World as a permanent tribute to his brother. The resort's original logo was an oversized "D" with a Mickey Mouse-shaped globe containing latitude and longitude lines, with the property's name presented in a modern, sans-serif font.

Walt Disney World Resort retired its original font and symbol during its 25th anniversary celebration in 1996-97. The old "D" symbol still can be found in many places, however, including the front car of each monorail, manhole covers, select merchandise items and flags flown at several sites across the property.

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Source : Wikipedia