This Week in Disney History: October 15-21

There’s always a great, big, beautiful tomorrow at The Walt Disney Company, because every day is tied to a milestone in the heritage and rich history of a company that has been entertaining millions of people every year. Published every week, this interesting series features highlights from all the divisions of The Walt Disney Company. Let's see what happened this week:


Oct. 16, 1923: The official start of The Walt Disney Company
When it comes to important dates in the history of The Walt Disney Company, perhaps none is more important than this week. That’s because October 16, 1923, is the official start of The Walt Disney Company. By May of 1923, film distributor Margaret Winkler became concerned with conflicts she was having with Pat Sullivan, owner of her top property, Felix the Cat. Afraid she might lose Felix, she was open to new properties when a young man named Walt Disney walked through the door. Walt hoped that Winkler would take interest in his unfinished short film, Alice’s Wonderland, a pilot for a series of short Alice Comedies. Timing couldn’t have been better, and a contract was signed in which she agreed to distribute Alice. In total, 56 short Alice films were produced, inking in the date of Oct. 16 as the company’s official start.

Oct. 15
1923 – Walt Disney receives a telegram from film distributor Margaret Winkler, offering to pay $1,500 each for the first six of Disney’s “Alice” films
1932 – “Touchdown Mickey” (animated short) debuts
1998 – “Fantasmic!” debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Oct. 16
1923 – The Walt Disney Company is officially founded
1989 – Epcot hosts Cast previews of the Wonders of Life pavilion

Oct. 17
1937 – Huey, Dewey and Louie (Donald Duck’s nephews) debut in the Donald Duck Sunday comic page
2007 – Disney announces plans for a major renovation of Disney California Adventure Park, including a new area called Cars Land

Oct. 18
1926 – “Alice the Fire Fighter” (Alice cartoon short) debuts
1979 – A stage version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City

Oct. 19
1955 – “The Story of the Silly Symphony” debuts on “Disneyland” (television series)
1989 – Wonders of Life pavilion opens at Epcot
2002 – “Welcome: Portraits of America” begins showing at major airports to welcome international visitors to the United States

Oct. 20
1931 – “The Fox Hunt” (Silly Symphony) debuts
1965 – The Orlando Sentinel runs a story hypothesizing that Walt Disney is behind the purchase of Central Florida land
1995 – Walt Disney Pictures releases the documentary “Frank and Ollie”
1997 – “Bear in the Big Blue House” (television series) premieres on Disney Channel
2008 – Blue Sky Cellar opens at Disney California Adventure Park

Oct. 21
1951 – “Fathers Are People” (Goofy cartoon short) debuts
1982 – Epcot leaders dedicate the Mexico pavilion at Epcot

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