Since brothers Walt and Roy Disney founded The Walt Disney Company in 1923, there have been many changes throughout the years, including the name, location and vast expansion to what it is today. The company is one of the larges movie production companies in the world, owner of ABC broadcast television and other cable network channels, 11 theme parks and more.
Disney and the War
During World War II almost 95 percent of the Disney facilities in California were used for government work. Disney was hired to create military training videos, propaganda and health films. Some of the health films created by the company are still being used worldwide by the US State Department.
Disney Burbank Studios, which was completed in 1940, employed nearly 1000 artists at the time of the war. The remaining portion of the Disney facilities not being used for war purposes was used to help raise US moral. Walt Disney felt it best to create short comedy films to help cheer up the citizens during a time of war.
Disney and the Environment
Walt was always fascinated by nature and the Disney Company has always been on the forefront of preserving the environment, through its Environmentality Program. The Environmentality program teaches the public about environmental issues through educational programs, films and community projects.
The parks and resorts worldwide work on helping the environment too, by offering plenty of recycling opportunities and educational materials in the hotels. Water saving initiatives at the parks and resorts has saved more than 2.5 million gallons of water. These initiatives include asking guests to reuse towels during their stay, rather than request a new one every morning.
Since 1990 the company has recycled 650,000 tons of material.
Disney is the parent company to many smaller companies, including theme parks, resorts, media outlets, movie companies and more. Main divisions include Walt Disney Studio Entertainment, Disney Consumer Products, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Media Networks and Walt Disney Internet Group.
The Disney Company also owns Miramax Films, Capital Cities (ABC), Fox Family Worldwide, Pixar Animation Studios, New Horizon Interactive, Marvel Entertainment and ownership of the Muppets.
Since the creation of Mickey Mouse, the Disney Company has been leaders in merchandise sales of many products.
In 2004 the company made $5.8 billion in retail sales, $200 million of that was in high end, adult apparel featuring the Disney characters. To date, more than 80 million “mouse ears” (hats) have been sold at Walt Disney World alone, which are about 2,500,000 per year by the end of 2009. There area also 2,900,000 Disney character T-shirts sold at the theme parks in Florida each year.
The Disney Princesses have really taken over the retail sales department at Disney, accounting for a majority of character apparel, movie, costumes and toy sales. Disney has sold approximately $2.4 billion is Princess Sales and has already issued 25,000 SKU numbers for merchandise available in this series.
Safety is an important part of the Disney Company day-to-day operations. It is one of their goals to ensure consumers, guests and cast members are safe and to do so, Disney has set up a variety of programs and security measures.
At the Disney Parks and Resorts there are many safety-training courses through the promotion and motto of “SafeD Begins with Me!” There is also the “Wild About Safety Program” available for guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, where cards and coloring books about theme park safety are handed out to visiting families.
Other safety measures Disney takes include security at theme parks, quality assurance with products and Internet safety programs for kids.