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Tag Archives: Announcement

May 8

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May 8, 1991 – Disney Announces Plans for Disneyland Expansion

On May 8, 1991, Disney officially announced their plans for a $3-billion expansion to Disneyland, including a second theme park that was going to be called Westcot. Also announced in this expansion was a shopping district with hotels. Westcot was to be California’s version of Epcot, a park dedicated to science, technology, and innovation, but with a more modern, Californian look to it. Unfortunately, the park ran into issues, particularly with its placement in the city of Anaheim. The initial failure of Disneyland Paris also led to the Westcot project being shelved in 1995.

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May 6

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May 6, 1991 – The Walt Disney Company Joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average

On May 6, 1991, the Walt Disney Company joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average (known as the Dow), a stock market index that tracks the value of 30 publicly owned companies from the United States. This inclusion was part of a revamp of the Dow, and was the first time an entertainment company had been added to the Dow since 1932; Paramount-Publix was briefly in the Dow from 1928 to 1932. Disney was added alongside J.P. Morgan and Caterpillar Inc., replacing Navistar International Corporation, USX Corporation, and Primerica Corporation.

March 31

March 31, 1999 – Disney Completes Purchase of the California Angels

On March 31, 1999, the Walt Disney Company completed its purchase of the California Angels baseball team, following the death of actor Gene Autry. Disney first announced its intentions in buying a stake in the baseball team on May 18, 1995, purchasing about 25% from Autry, who was the owner of the team. Disney finished their acquisition of this stake almost a year later in 1996, and Disney Sports Enterprises became the team’s Managing General Partner. Disney also invested about $100 million in renovating the Anaheim Stadium, which was completed in 1998. Although Disney bought the entire team in 1999, they would eventually sell the team on May 22, 2003.

March 3

March 3, 2004 – George J. Mitchell is Elected Chairman of The Walt Disney Company

On March 3, 2004, former U.S. Senator Majority Leader George J. Mitchell was elected chairman of The Walt Disney Company. Mitchell joined The Walt Disney Company in 1995, having been elected to the board; he was named the presiding director on December 3, 2002. His tenure as chairman wasn’t without controversy, as the company was going through a period of turmoil, which included the ousting of then-CEO Michael Eisner. Mitchell departed from his role at Disney on December 31, 2007.

February 23

February 23, 2004 – Fortune Magazine Reports: Disney is America’s Most Admired Entertainment Company

“That other entertainment industry executives recognized this by voting Disney No. 1 in our industry is a tribute to the hard work of our incredible creative and dedicated cast members and employees.” – Michael Eisner, Disney Chairman and CEO

On February 23, 2004, Fortune Magazine published a list of America’s Most Admired Companies, with The Walt Disney Company taking the number one spot. This list was based on a survey of top members of the entertainment industry, including executives, directors, and securities analysts. 2003 had been a year of growth for the company, particularly through investments in live action films (such as the first installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series), as well as the continued success of their partner studio Pixar (which released Finding Nemo in that year). Stocks also rose 43% during the calendar year.

January 23

January 23, 2006 – Disney Honors Michael Eisner Through Building Renaming Ceremony

“I am grateful for this wonderful honor, especially because this building encapsulates so much that is fantastic about Disney and about the two decades I got to spend here.”

On January 23, 2006, several Disney employees, alongside Disney Board Senator George Mitchell, the Board of Directors, and Disney CEO Bob Iger were on hand to honor former CEO Michael Eisner at a dedication ceremony, renaming the Team Disney building as The Michael D. Eisner Building. The building has served as the company’s corporate headquarters since 1990, and was designed by architect Michael Graves; it was notable for featuring pillars in the shape of the Seven Dwarfs. Disney had been in a state of turmoil when Eisner joined the company and, through his work with Frank Wells, the pair managed to return Disney to its creative, innovative state. The board was unanimous in awarding Eisner this honor for his 21 years of service.

December 27

December 27, 1996 – Michael Ovitz Leaves The Walt Disney Company

“You played the angles too much, exaggerated the truth too far, manipulated me and others too much.” – Michael Eisner, in a November 1996 letter

On December 27, 1996, Michael Ovitz stepped down as the President of the Walt Disney Company. He joined the company in 1995, acting as president under Michael Eisner. The year that Ovitz served as president was considered turbulent at best, and was swiftly let go by Eisner. There were further complications afterwards, as Ovitz was awarded a hefty severance package of $130 million. Disney shareholders eventually sued Ovitz and Eisner for this package; although the court upheld the payment, the court case, and the decisions that led to it, hurt Eisner’s position within the company.