This Week in Disney History: December 16-22, 2019

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:


Dec. 16, 1977 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Pete’s Dragon”
What would you do if your best friend was a flying, fire-breathing and occasionally invisible dragon? If you’re young orphan Pete, you use your dragon Elliot’s help to get away from your no-good foster family. But having a dragon doesn’t exactly make life easy, since the superstitious residents of Passamaquoddy, a quaint Maine fishing village, generally think Pete and his dragon are bad news.

Luckily, Pete and Elliot make the acquaintance of Nora and Lampie, who welcome them into their lighthouse home. But they’ll have to steer clear of Doc Terminus, a traveling salesman who’s well-versed in the medicinal properties of dragon. Blending live action with animation, “Pete’s Dragon” was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Song (for “Candle on the Water”) and Best Original Song Score.

This week in Disney History:

Dec. 16
1952 — WED Enterprises is founded (and later renamed Walt Disney Imagineering)
1977 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Pete’s Dragon”
1978 — “The Small One,” an animated featurette, debuts
1997 — Lillian Disney, Walt Disney’s widow, dies at age 98
2009 — Roy E. Disney, son of Roy O. Disney and director emeritus of The Walt Disney Company, dies at age 79

Dec. 17
1931 — “The Ugly Duckling” (Silly Symphony) debuts
1932 — “Mickey’s Good Deed” (Mickey Mouse cartoon short) debuts
1990 — Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
1994 — Snow White’s Scary Adventures reopens with new scenes and a revised storyline at Magic Kingdom Park
2010 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Tron: Legacy”
2012 — Senses, A Disney Spa opens at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Dec. 18
1942 — Bellboy Donald (Donald Duck cartoon) debuts
1985 — Disney and the French government reach an agreement to build a theme park in Marne-la-Vallée

Dec. 19
1999 — Tomorrowland Speedway becomes Tomorrowland Indy Speedway at Magic Kingdom Park
2012 – Splitsville Luxury Lanes opens at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

Dec. 20
1946 – Double Dribble (Goofy cartoon) debuts
1971 — Roy O. Disney, Walt’s older brother and former president and chairman of The Walt Disney Company, dies at age 78
1991 — Touchstone Pictures releases “Father of the Bride”
2002 — Ariel’s Grotto restaurant opens at Disney California Adventure Park

Dec. 21
1937 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature
1944 — Walt Disney Pictures premieres “The Three Caballeros” in Mexico City
1960 — Walt Disney Pictures releases “Swiss Family Robinson”

Dec. 22
1995 — Chef Mickey’s opens at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
2000 — Touchstone Pictures releases “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
2007 — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opens at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris
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