This Week in Disney History: May 14-20

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:


This week: Premiering at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles this week in 2003 was “Finding Nemo,” the story about a daring search and rescue of the clownfish, Nemo, by his loving father, Marlin. The film came to capture hearts and box office records for 2003, including setting a Disney record for an opening weekend with a gross of $70.2 million and being the highest grossing animated film of all time, with more than $339 million. The adventure along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef introduced us to Dory, the forgetful Regal Blue Tang fish, and the cool sea turtle Crush and his little dude, Squirt, among others. The film won The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

May 14
1923 – Walt writes Margaret J. Winkler in hopes of her distributing the Alice Comedies film series
1928 – “Hungry Hoboes” (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon) is released
1972 – The first major auction featuring Disneyana was held at Sotheby’s in Los Angeles
1999 – “Endurance” film is released by Walt Disney Pictures

May 15
1928 – Walt Disney’s animated short “Plane Crazy” is first screened
1930 – “The Cactus Kid” (Mickey Mouse cartoon) is released
1937 – “Little Hiawatha” (Silly Symphony cartoon) is released
1995 – The California Grill opens at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
1996 – Disney purchases 25 percent interest in the California Angels Major League Baseball club from owner Gene Autry
2016 – The Town Center at Disney Springs opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
2017 – The Market at Ale & Compass, a quick-food location in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort at the Walt Disney World Resort

May 16
1927 – “Alice’s Three Bad Eggs” (Alice Comedy) is released
1952 – “Two Gun Goofy” (Goofy cartoon) is released
1990 – Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets, dies at age 53
1991 – “Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D” debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
2008 – “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is released by Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media
2014 – “Million Dollar Arm” is released by Walt Disney Studios

May 17
1964 – “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair” debuts on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color
1991 – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
1991 – Touchstone Pictures releases “What About Bob?”
2004 – Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
2013 – Garden of Wonders attraction opens in the Mystic Point area of Hong Kong Disneyland
2013 – The Archive Shop opens in the Mystic Point area of Hong Kong Disneyland

May 18
1951 – “Plutopia” (Pluto cartoon short) debuts
1997 – The Disney-restored New Amsterdam Theater reopens in New York City
2003 – Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” premieres at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles
2009 – Wayne Allwine, Disney Legend and voice of Mickey Mouse, dies at age 62

May 19
1934 – “Gulliver Mickey” (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1960 – “Pollyanna,” Hayley Mills’ first film for the Walt Disney Studios, is released
1984 – Donald Duck receives an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army (after being drafted in a 1942 short)
2000 – Walt Disney Pictures releases “Dinosaur”
2007 – The world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is held at Disneyland Park

May 20
1973 – Tom Sawyer Island, the Plaza Swan Boats, and the Richard F. Irvine Riverboat open at Magic Kingdom Park
1996 – Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf and Garden Pavilion opens at the Walt Disney World Resort
2011 – Star Tours – The Adventures Continue opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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