The Walt Disney Company has been an American staple since the mid-1920s. Founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, it started off as a small studio, the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, and has since grown into a juggernaut that little could have dreamed, except perhaps Walt Disney himself. But from its humble beginnings, Disney has grown in ways that have taken them from the dominating movie brand to the dominating movie, television, and worldwide name that everyone seems to want to be a part of. Disney touches on so many aspects of our lives.
Breaking Disney News
Disney Rumored To Be Excising Social Justice Warriors From The Company – August 27, 2020
In the months since Disney sent out their letter supporting the protests over the death of George Floyd, a lot has changed. Those protests have turned into riots and looting and Disney has been unable to make any money as the government keeps things iced in an eternal Coronavirus lockdown. It’s the kind of environment that could prompt extreme changes in a massive corporation like Disney, and a big rumor making the rounds right now indicate that perhaps it has.
According to this frequent rumormonger Disney is shifting its focus away from diversity and instead going to focus purely on making profit in the future. The rumor reporter says, “I am being told that getting the SJWs out of Disney is priority one.” He continues, “Disney is a for-profit business moving forward. And from here on out the customer comes first.”
In recent years Disney has taken a different tact, often making the promotion of diversity and specific ideals their priority, sometimes at the cost of profit. The scooper continues, “My source tells me that huge policy changes are about to be made at Disney. Bad mouthing fans, no matter what they say or what side they are on, will no longer be tolerated. That goes for everyone that works for Disney. Everyone including Brie Larson, including the Lucasfilm Story Group, and everyone that Kathleen Kennedy ever hired.”
That would be a huge, huge change. Disney actors like Brie Larson and John Boyega have, at times, been at open warfare with fans, lecturing them on how to behave and on what they believe that fans should be allowed to like. But the scooper gets more specific saying, “I have been told explicitly that even someone like Brie Larson will no longer be able to work at Disney if she takes shots at fans.”
Specifically the scooper claims, “the economic realities of 2020 coupled with the decline in returns of properties like Star Wars have combined to sober executives up. They realize that fans have been driven away from their precious franchises in droves by identity politics.”
Basically the idea here is that Disney is going to put profit first. The source says, “The new policy moving forward is one of fan support and acceptance. Disney is a for-profit company and no one who works for Disney will be allowed to insult or antagonize fans.”
For now consider this just a rumor. It seems a little far-fetched though, given the current economic hardships being faced by Disney, now might be the time for some pretty extreme changes in their corporate structure. It also fits with some of what we heard here about the civil war brewing at Lucasfilm.
Disney Sends Out A Letter Supporting Protests – June 1, 2020
Over the weekend the United States was wracked by rioting and looting on a scale never seen before. Parts of many cities, including the nation’s capital, are in flames. People are scared and so are corporations. That includes Disney, where they sent out the following virtue signalling letter over the weekend as the riots began to build steam…
Dear Fellow Employee,
The recent killing of George Floyd as well as other instances of lethal attacks and harassment of unarmed black citizens in our nation continue to drive outrage and calls for action by people of all cultural backgrounds, including many of our employees. Feelings of grief and anger cause us to confront the inscrutable idea that the lives of some are deemed less valuable – and less worthy of dignity, care and protection – than the lives of others.
While these devastating incidents are not new, there’s something unique about what’s happening in this moment. The pandemic coupled with these recent injustices have pushed the issues of racial disparity into the open.
We, too, are struggling to make sense of the recent tragedies that leave us feeling overcome with sorrow. While we don’t have all the answers, we resolve to use our compassion, our creative ideas and our collective sense of humanity to ensure we are fostering a culture that acknowledges our people’s feelings and their pain. We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere.
We intend to focus our efforts and resources to compassionately and constructively talk about these matters openly and honestly as we seek solutions. We intend to keep the conversation going, not just today, but for as long as it takes to bring about real change.
Bob Chapek, Bob Iger & Latondra Newton
The letter makes a lot of promises but contains no actual actions. The timing of it makes it seem like Disney is just trying to get the rioters to think they are on their side so their corporate assets don’t get set on fire.
For the most part, people have responded to their statement like this…
To date this virtue signalling tactic hasn’t worked for corporate America. For example, rioters attacked and defaced CNN’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta, while CNN was on the air voicing support for them.
It’s unlikely this letter will do anything to save Disney, should an angry crowd decide to set something Disney related on fire.
Disney Execs Take A Coronavirus Paycut – March 30, 2020
While some companies plan to pass the costs of the Coronavirus outbreak on to their consumers or even on to their employees, the latest news from Disney is the company is choosing a different path. They’re taking as much of it as they can out of the salary of their execs.
Outgoing CEO Bob Iger is reportedly forgoing 100% of his salary for this year to help deal with Disney’s losses. Incoming interim CEO Bob Chapek is taking a 50% salary cut for the time being.
According to an email sent out by the company, starting April 5th other executives will also start taking cuts. Disney Vice Presidents are having their salaries reduced 20%. Senior VP’s are taking a 25% cut. Employees Executive Vice Presidents and above will take a 30% cut.
Disney’s resorts are currently closed worldwide. Their movie division is basically shut down and unable to release product in theaters. Their television division has had to stop production on nearly every TV show they were working on. Their only real revenue stream at this point is people stuck at home watching Disney Plus. They’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars per day, and the bleeding doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
When Will Walt Disney World Reopen? – March 30, 2020
The latest news from Disney’s resorts is that they are all currently closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and they haven’t announced when they’ll reopen. But the company’s official website may offer some clues.
CINEMABLEND has discovered that if you visit the Walt Disney World website and try to book a trip, they won’t let you do it in April or May. But if you try to do one for June 1st on, they’ll let you book a reservation.
Given that they’re letting people book after June 1st, that probably means they expect their parks to be open by then. That’s no guarantee, it’s really hard to guess when the world will be allowed to get back to normal after the Coronavirus. But June 1st seems to be what Disney is thinking, at least for now.
Everything Disney Owns
Disneyland – Walt Disney introduced Disneyland to the public in 1955 as a dream. He wanted someplace families could go to get lost in a fantasy world. His movies were already big hits, but Walt wanted more. And boy did he deliver. Since that day in 1955, Disneyland has grown so much in popularity it is close to seeing 19 million visitors a year skip through their turnstiles. In 2001, Disneyland felt they could ramp up their attendance by adding another amusement park to go alongside it by building Disney’s California Adventure. The idea here was to give visitors something different from the wholesome, clean, atmosphere that Disneyland provided, so California Adventure opened with a little more sass. High-speed roller coasters and alcohol were part of this Disney and fans loved it.
Disney World – What’s better than Disneyland on one coast? How about Disneyland on both coasts. In 1971 Disney World opened to the delight of East Coasters. For the most part, it mirrored its West Coast brethren, except it was bigger. Much bigger. It started with just the theme park and three resort hotels then grew. Epcot opened in 1982, followed by Disney-MGM Studios (we now know it as Hollywood Studios) and Typhoon Lagoon in 1989. Blizzard Beach came online in 1995 and finally the Animal Kingdom in 1998. As far as Disney World amusement parks, that’s where Disney’s stopped but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been adding to their portfolio. Disney Springs (the retail, dining and entertainment complex), resort hotels, and golf courses have been added to make Disney World the most visited vacation resort in the world. All owned by Disney.
Disneyland Tokyo – Disney wanted to expand its reach and so they did with Tokyo Disneyland. It opened in 1983 and ran strong until it expanded into Tokyo DisneySea. Now, this resort isn’t under Disney ownership. The Oriental Land Company owns the resort though The Walt Disney Company licenses all products.
Disneyland Paris – Disney continued its expansion, looking for a magical foothold in Europe. It realized this dream in 1992 when Disneyland Paris opened. Initially, it was called Euro Disney Resort and is located about 20 miles from Paris. The park overcame early struggles with unhappy employees and low attendance but that has changed over the years. Walt Disney Studios Park is a second theme park built near Paris and it opened in 2002.
Disneyland Hong Kong – In 2005, the Hong Kong Government and The Walt Disney Company combined to open Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. This venture saw the building of the theme park, a Disneyland Hotel, a Disney Hollywood Hotel, the Disney Explorers Lodge and several dining, retail and entertainment facilities. Disney has never fully owned this resort; at the moment they hold 43% of it.
Disneyland Shanghai – It took a while, but Disney finally got to China. Disney received approval in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2016 that the Shanghai Disneyland Park was able to open in China. At the present time, the park includes Disneyland park, two hotels, an entertainment district with plans for two additional theme parks. As with the Hong Kong resort, Disney only owns 43% of the Shanghai park.
So those are the resorts Disney either owns or has partial interest in. All of these resorts are in various stages of expansion and that does not look like it will end in the foreseeable future. But this isn’t all under the Disney umbrella when it comes to vacation places.
Disney’s Stand-Alone Resorts – Disney owns three of these, resorts that that stand on their own, without any amusement park located near them. The three are Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and their newest one, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. All three are part of the Disney Vacation Club. None of these resorts offer rides but they do have their own style of Disney magic.
Disney Cruise Line – How can one go wrong sailing the seven seas with Mickey Mouse. Yes, Disney even owns its own fleet of boats. Currently, Disney operates four ships, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. The fleet looks to add three more ships in the next few years, one each in 2021, 2022 and 2023. To go along with their ships, Disney also owns an island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, where they take passengers for a relaxing time for adults and playful time for kids. Disney also plans on a second private destination in the Bahamas set to open in 2021.
DISNEY OWNED MOVIE STUDIOS
Again, from humble beginnings to powerhouse. Walt Disney Studios by itself is huge. Under their live-action banner, Disney owns Walt Disney Pictures, Searchlight Pictures, Disneynature, and Fox 2000 Pictures.
Of course, the animation is what got them started and under their animation umbrella, they pack quite a punch in what they own. Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and 20th Century Fox Animation (along with its Blue Sky Studios) fall under their animation tag.
One of Disney’s BIG purchases came in 2002 and carried a hefty price tag. $2.2 billion in cash and $1.855 billion in stock. All that for Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars empire. Now, what Disney has done with Star Wars is a story for another time, but it has been quite profitable for the House of Mouse, regardless of how you like the movies. Under Lucasfilm, Disney also got Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation, LucasArts, Lucas Licensing, Lucas Online, and Skywalker Sound. Not a bad investment, especially now since they are incorporating it into their amusement parks.
The other HUGE investment Disney made, and we are pretty sure you’ve heard of this one too, was Marvel Studios. This one to the tune of $4 billion. To say it’s paid off for Disney would be an understatement. The Avengers movies alone have made the $4 billion look like chump change not to mention every other Marvel movie made. Disney is hoping Phase 4 of their Marvel slate can be just as profitable.
The most recent acquisition Disney made was another biggie as it purchased 20th Century Studios which is everything Fox. So not only did Disney buy all the films under the 20th Century and Fox banner, it got movies that haven’t yet been released AND it was able to bring back some Marvel characters into the fold. This one set Disney back the most as it paid over $70 billion for the studio. With all 20th Century has, the investment seems wise. From the Fox side, Disney snagged itself one of the most popular cartoons in American TV history by purchasing all 30 seasons of The Simpsons.
Disney doesn’t just stop at what you see on a movie screen, it also owns a lot of what you hear. The Disney Music Group is the music recording arm under The Walt Disney Company umbrella. Disney owns 24 labels, and these include Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, Buena Vista Music Co., Touchstone Pictures Music & Songs, Inc., Pixar Music, Seven Peaks Music, Marvel Comics Music, and Mad Muppet Melodies to name a few.
Disney also has its Disney Theatrical Group. Under this, they have the Disney Live Family Entertainment which includes Disney On Ice and Marvel Universe Live!
Disney’s reach doesn’t stop with parks or hotels and resorts or movies and movie studios. No, Disney has also made a big imprint on the small screen. With purchases of ABC and ESPN, Disney has a lot to say about what does on TV. They own the Freeform Network, Hulu and Movies Anywhere. They also own the FX Network and Nat Geo. Disney has its own channels with the Disney Channel, Disney Junior, DisneyNow and Disney XD. With the purchase of 20th Century Fox, Disney also now owns 20th Century Fox Television which includes 20th Television and Fox Television Animation.
On the ESPN sports side, they own the whole gambit from all the ESPN channels to the ACC, Longhorn, and SEC Networks.
Along the way, Disney also picked up the A&E Networks. This would include everything A&E related as well as the Lifetime Network and all that entails and the History Network.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Disney’s new pastime, streaming. Disney invested over $3 billion on technology to bring its Disney Plus streaming service to its fans. Disney is looking to cash in on the future, as streaming their product looks to be a wise move. The purchase of Fox has really expanded what Disney can offer when combined with the full Disney arsenal (or most of its arsenal).
This definitely isn’t all that Disney owns or controls. There are book publishers, retail stores across the globe, games and interactive experiences, and radio. Disney has bought into different corporations, their companies set up in Latin America, Asia, Germany, and Iberia. Disney is truly far-reaching, a global entity with no signs of slowing down, even if their recent stock market slide caused some raised eyebrows. No, Disney is here to stay, so jump on the ride, put on your Mickey ears and smile.