Interesting Facts of The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company has captivated millions of people worldwide, in an enchanting world of their own that brings creative imaginations and magical experiences into reality. The company, which has stood tall and strong for over a few decades, has achieved countless milestones since it was established and is recognized with dozens of accolades. Undoubtedly, a company so rich in history and experiences surely bears a lot of interesting stories and facts! So, here are some fascinating things about The Walt Disney Company that you might not know.
Mickey Mouse was originally named Mortimer Mouse by Walt Disney before his wife, Lilian, convinced him to name it Mickey instead, because Mortimer sounded too pompous. (Ulster, 2014). Walt Disney’s Company first animated movie, which starred Mickey Mouse, was aired in 1928 at the Colony Theatre, New York. The Walt Disney Company has a Walt Disney World Resort in Florida which covers about 40 square miles or 103.6 square kilometres which is almost the size of San Francisco or two Manhattan Islands! (Windsor, 2017) The same World Resort as mentioned, employs more than 62000 workers, making it the largest single-site employer in the United States. (Windsor, 2017)
Figure 1. Walt Disney’s First Animated Movie
San Francisco (121.4 km²) Walt Disney World Resorts (103.6 km²)
Figure 2. Comparison of Walt Disney World Resort to San Francisco.
The opening of their first theme park on July 17th 1955, was a complete disaster. (Hawkes, 2016). There were a few factors that contributed to this fiasco, one of it was the recklessness in ticket-printing. 6000 tickets were issued to members of sponsors, construction workers and the press. However, the tickets were not designed to be counterfeit-proof, resulting in a large influx, roughly 28,000 of additional guests who forged their own tickets, into the park. Besides, water fountains in the park did not work due to some technical error, and the vendors ran out of food to serve. The park was also not completely renovated with wet paints in some area and still-soft asphalt floor, causing guests’ heels to sink into them. There were also gas leaks in Fantasy Land, forcing that area to be closed on that day. As a result, the press coverage lambasted The Walt Disney Company on their disastrous opening. (Hawkes, 2016)
Figure 3. Admission ticket for Disneyland’s opening in 1955.
The Walt Disney Company builds a park, called ‘Mickey’s Retreat’ exclusively for Walt Disney World Resort’s cast members and their families. It is a secluded area with a combination of outdoor facilities, like swimming pools, tennis courts, playground, sports field, volleyball court, basketball courts and picnic areas well-equipped with tables and grills.
Everything provided there is free of charge, except for boats and canoes which only costs $2 per unit for rental.
Figure 4. Mickey’s Retreat
Every year, Walt Disney World’s “Lost and Found” collects more than 6000 mobile phones and 3500 digital cameras.Walt Disney Company is also the second biggest buyer of explosives in the United States, following behind The United States Department of Defence. (Locker, 2016). After Disney released the movie “Princess and the Frog”, about 50 children in the United Stated were infected with “salmonella” (a type of bacteria) from kissing frogs.
Figure 5. Firework Shows in Disneyland. Figure 6. The movie “Princess and the Frog”
by Walt Disney Company.
Disney’s Yearly Revenue has only decreased twice since 1991. Once in year 2002 and once in 2009. (Pylypczak-Wasylyszyn, 2015)
The original voice actors of Mickey and Minnie mouse, Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor respectively, were married to each other in real life!
Figure 7. Mickey and Minnie Mouse Figure 8. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor
There were alleged cases of scattering of human ashes onto attractions in Disneyland. In 2007, the Pirates of the Caribbean section was closed after a woman was seen suspiciously scattering unknown powder into the ride’s water. Disney employees later on claimed that this was only one of the cases that was covered by the media. The media also claimed that this is actually a widespread trend among the park-goers – to send off their loved ones to “The Happiest Place on Earth”. However, all these allegations were denied by Disneyland’s spokesperson. (Hawkes, 2016)
Disneyland’s designers wanted Disneyland to be an immersive experience, hence they developed and installed a device in the park called “Smellitzer”, which is a system that uses vents and sprays to ensure that guests are exposed to the right scent, wherever they are. For example, you will be exposed to smell of popcorn at the main entrance and the smell of vanilla and baked cookies at the Main Street. In The Haunted Mansion, guests will be exposed to musty smell and in the Pirates of Caribbean ride, guests will be exposed to the smell of ‘salty sea water’ to give them an immersive experience on the ride. (Hawkes, 2016)
Figure 9. The Smellitzer