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Tag Archives: Walt Disney Company

August 24

August 24, 2006 – Disney Donates Two White Rhinos to Africa

“I think the four rhino already living in Ziwa can’t wait to teach the new arrivals a thing or two about living in the wild.” – Lilian Nsubuga, Uganda Wildlife Authority Spokesman

On August 24, 2006, two white rhinos took their first steps on African soil after living in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida. The rhinos were taken to Africa to help boost the dwindling numbers there, as only about 17,500 exist in the wild. They were released in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in the Nakasongola district, located outside of Kampala. The rhinos, Nande (7-years-old) and Hasani (5-years-old), were a little wary once removed from the crate, but sanctuary workers were hopeful that they would acclimate to their new home and breed within the next year.

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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.

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.

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.

February 1

February 1, 1989 – Hollywood Pictures Begins Operations

On February 1, 1989, the Walt Disney Company film division Hollywood Pictures officially began operations. Similar to the Touchstone Pictures label, it was designed to release Disney’s “darker” fare, such as its first release in 1990, Arachnophobia. The studio was originally run by Ricardo Mestres, moving from Touchstone Pictures to run the fledgling studio; he was succeeded by Michael Lynton in 1994. Although the studio had some successes, especially with the works of M. Night Shyamalan, the studio was eventually closed in 2007, as Disney wanted to focus on the internal brand names of the company.

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.

January 21

January 21, 1988 – Disney Acquires The Wrather Corporation

“Disney has great capabilities and will take our properties onto greater heights.” – Bonita Granville Wrather

On January 21, 1988, Disney finished the $152.3 million dollar acquisition process of the Wrather Corporation, which included the acquisition of the Disneyland Hotel. The relationship between The Walt Disney Company and The Wrather Corporation began back in 1955; Walt had realized the need for a hotel near the new theme park, but did not have the funds to create it, and convinced his friend Jack Wrather to build a hotel across the street. The hotel continued to grow through the years, eventually having three towers (originally named the Bonita, Marina, and Sierra). Throughout the years, Disney attempted to purchase the hotel, as it was seen as awkward that Disney did not own something with its name attached. When the deal was finalized in 1988, Disney not only acquired the hotel, but acres of land for potential expansion, and the lease to operate the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California