Kepple with his sons Elias (Walt's father) & Robert (Walt's
uncle) move to Ellis, Kansas.
Jan 1, 1888
Elias Disney marries Flora Call in Akron, Florida.
Dec 8, 1888
Herbert, the first (oldest) son, is born.
Elias, Flora & Herbert move to Chicago. Elias builds their
December 30, 1890
Raymond Arnold Disney is born. The second brother.
June 24, 1893
Roy Oliver Disney is born. The third brother.
Elias & Preacher Walter Parr agree to name each expecting
child's name after each other. Both men had sons, Elias' son,
named Walt, and the Preachers, Elias.
December 5, 1901
Walter Elias Disney is born. The forth brother.
December 6, 1903
Ruth Flora Disney is born. The first daughter.
The Disney Family move to Marceline, Missouri.
Herbert & Raymond move to Chicago.
Elias sells their farm, they rents a home until 1910.
The Disney Family move to Kansas City.
Roy Disney leaves family to work for Uncle Will Disney in Kansas.
June 8, 1917
Walt graduates from Benton High School.
Walt works as a member of the American Ambulance Corps in France.
Walt lied about his age to be accepted.
After driving an ambulance through Europe, Walt returns to the
US, moves to Kansas City and gets job at the Posman-Rubin Commercial
Art Studio for $50 a month.
Walt meets Ub Iwwerks, together form Iwerks-Disney Commercial
Artists. The small group survives for a month.
Walt & Ub work for the Kansas City Slide Company.
Walt names the films "Laugh-O-grams."
Elias & Flora Disney return to Kansas City, then move to
Walt quits the Film Ad, then incorporates "Laugh-O-gram
Films" with $15,000 from local investors. Walt persuades
Ub Iwerks to leave the Film Ad.
Walt resigns himself to bankrupcy, moves to Hollywood planning
to become a director. Roy (Walt's brother) was already in California.
October 16, 1923
Walt & Roy sign a contract with M.J. Winkler, a New York
They rent a room at the back of a real estate office. Roy operates
a secondhand camera while two girls were hired to ink & paint
the celluloids. Walt does the animation.
Walt hires the first animator, Rollin Hamilton and moves into
a small store with a window bearing "Disney Bros. Studio."
The first "Alice Comedies" reaches theaters.
Ub Iwerks moves to California to join Disney Productions. Walt
wanted to concentrate on the scenarios of the film; his career
as an animator is over.
Walt invites Hugh Harmen & Rudy Ising to work for him.
Roy marries Edna Francis. Walt meets Lillian Bounds, hired by
the Studios as an inker. Walt recalled "I couldn't afford
to pay her, so I married her!"
July 13, 1925
Walt marries Lillian.
Walt renames the studio to the "Walt Disney Studio."
Walt Disney Studios authorized to make "Oswald the Lucky
Rabbit" series. All rights were sold to Mintz distribution.
When costs became to high, Walt wanted to end distribution. As
a result, "Oswald" becomes Mintz's own, and Mintz takes
Walt's best animator, Ub Iwerks.
Walt, on a train ride, develops Mickey Mouse and along with Ub
Iwerks creates a new cartoon, "Plane Crazy." Audiences
were in love with the mouse. "Steamboat Willie," the
third cartoon is created. Walt pursues New York film companies
to record the cartoon with sound. Walt urges Ub to go forward
with the fourth Mickey Mouse Cartoon "The Barn Dance."
November 18, 1928
"Steamboat Willie" opens at the Colon Theater in New
York. Billed as "the first animated cartoon with sound,"
it gets rave reviews."
Film companies come calling for Walt to make a deal. All these
distributors want the rights to Mickey Mouse, however Walt learned
from his experience from Oswald the Rabbit.
A deal with Pat Powers, who wants to promote Cinephone, is struck.
Walt returns to California with a contract and $2500.
Walt plans to release "Skeleton Dance" as the 1st of
a new series of cartoons called Silly Symphonies. This new film
was also released in Technicolor, a brand new color technique,
that Walt Disney held right to for two years.
Walt hires a lawyer for legal assistance in regards to the deal
with Pat Powers. Ub Iwerks signs a contract with Powers, stunning
Walt. The lawyer negotiates an agreement to dissolve Iwerks'
contract with Disney and is paid $2,920 for 1/5 interest.
Mickey Mouse turns into a national craze and Mickey Mouse Clubs
spring up all over the country.
Walt breaks off negotiations with Pat Powers, suspecting him
of being crooked. Disney could not afford a lawsuit, so they
walk away and start anew.
Columbia Pictures signs with Disney, as Walt breaks all ties
with Powers with a payment for relinquish of the 21 Disney cartoons.
Roy Disney signs the first contract for merchandising.
Walt assigns Ub Iwerks to devise a comic strip.
Syndication comes from King Features and Mickey Mouse makes his
first comic strip on January 13, 1930.
Pluto makes 1st appearance in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, "The
The Mickey Mouse Clubs reach a million members.
Mickey Mouse is now known in every civilized country.
Walt suffers a nervous breakdown, caused by pushing himself and
animators on the job. Walt takes a vacation on doctor's orders.
On return, exercise and work balancing is required.
Goofy makes 1st appearance in "Mickey's Revue."
Herman Kamen, a Kansas City advertising man, signs a contract
to represent the Walt Disney Studios. He licenses Lionel Corporation
for merchandising Mickey and Minnie toy trains. Lionel is hit
hard by the Depression and files for bankrupcy. 253,000 toys
were sold in 4 months, beginning the return of the Lionel Corporation.
The association with Disney is credited for the return of Lionel.
Disney asks Columbia to increase advance on each cartoon to $15,000;
Walt agrees to United Artists' proposal, a $15,000 advance on
Walt is determined to add color to animation.
United Artists agrees to grant Disney 2 years exclusive use of
"Flowers and Trees" appears at the Hollywood Chinese
The first class of the Disney Art School is held at the Chouinard
Art Institue. Nelbert Chouinard agrees to help the Studio
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awards "Flowers
and Trees" to Walt Disney.
"Three Little Pigs," the 36th Silly Symphony, is produced.
Audiences everywhere love it and relate it to the people vs.
the Depression. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf"
becomes a national rally cry. Roy convinces Walt to produce 3
more "Pig" movies, "The Big Bad Wolf,", "Three
Little Wolves" and "The Practical Pig." None were
as successful as the first one.
Walt & Lillian move into a new home in Los Feliz.
December 18, 1933
Lillian gives birth to Diane Marie Disney. Their first child.
1934, 1935, 1936
Donald Duck debut's in a Silly Symphony film, "The Wise
Walt's staff grows to 187 employees.
Walt announces that "Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs" will be the 1st feature
film. Work on "Snow White" is the center of attention.
Disneys disassociate themselves with United Artists.
Disneys sign a releasing agreement for shorts and for "Snow
White" with RKO.
December 21, 1936
Lillian and Walt adopt Sharon Mae Disney.
Donald Duck gets his own series of short films.
December 21, 1937
and the Seven Dwarfs" is seen by the public in Los Angeles.
It makes a 3 week run at Radio City Music Hall, then some New
York theaters."Snow White" grosses $8 million and wins
an Academy Award.
Within 6 months, the Disneys pay off all bank loans.
The Disney Studios are expanded and they put deposit down on
property in Burbank, CA.
Walt & Roy move their parents to Southern California.
Work begins on a second feature, "Pinocchio."
November 26, 1938
Flora Disney dies of asphyxiation due to a defective furnace.
Walt & Roy blame themselves because it occured in the house
Walt decides that Mickey Mouse should star in a feature of "The
Sorcerer's Apprentice." Leopold Stokwski volunteers to conduct
the music. Stokowski tells Disney to create a single Feature.
"Bambi" is started at the same time but is last to
be released due to the time it took to draw the animals. The
studio resembled a zoo at times with many animals on hand to
be drawn. Video was captured and photos were donated for the
Burbank Studio construction continues, making it a workers paradise.
The start of World War II causes business of "Pinocchio"
to fall short of what is expected.
opens at New York's Broadway Theater (formally called "The
Colony"), the same place that Mickey Mouse made his debut.
Walt was forced to cut "Fantasia" into a short version,
cutting from his 3+ hours' version. "Fantasia" loses
even more than "Pinocchio."
Due to losses of "Pinocchio,""Fantasia" and
"Bambi," along with the cost of the new studio being
built, Disney is forced to offer public stock, something Walt
& Roy did not want to do. 600,000 shares of common stock
sold at $5 a piece. Stock offering sold out quickly and temporarily
filled the hole of debt.
Disney employees grow to 1,000 workers.
"Dumbo" is produced and finished in 1 year. Walt originally
planned it as a 30 minute film but expanded it into a feature
film of 64 minutes. It makes an $850,000 profit.
Ub Iwerks returns to the Walt Disney Studios.
Movie studios unionize and 2 unions sought to organize the Disney
cartoonists. One union leader, Herb Sorrell, threatens to strike
Disney by stating publicly Walt's business affairs.
May 29, 1941
A picket line forms in front of the Walt Disney Studios, directed
by Herb Sorrell.
August 17, 1941
Walt makes a film making & goodwill tour of South America.
Elias Disney passes away while Walt is away, never really recovering
from the loss of Flora. When Walt returns, the strike has ended
but takes away Disney employees due to production slow down.
Walt arrives in time for the premiere of "Dumbo."
"Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros"
are the result of the the South America trip. Both films are
successfull in North & South America.
High demand for war films occurs.
The draft takes 1/3 of Walt's artists. The army moves into the
"Bambi" is released but has disappointing numbers at
the box office in both the U.S. and foreign cities.
The company's debt rises to $4.3 million.
"Pinocchio", "Fantasia", "Bambi"
& "Dumbo" are playing in Europe, but no revenue
is coming in due to the damaged economy.
Roy urges Walt to cut expenses & staff; Walt refuses.
"Make Mine Music," a short cartoon, is released and
produces a small profit. Walt really is not pleased with the
The work on "Mickey And The Beanstalk," interrupted
due to the war, is resumed. It is combined with another cartoon
and released as "Fun and Fancy Free." It is the last
time the voice of Mickey Mouse is portrayed by Walt. A sound
effects worker becomes the voice of Mickey Mouse.
"Song of the South" is produced. It is 30% cartoon
and 70% live action. It premieres in Atlanta and gets good reaction.
"Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" is named best movie song of 1946
by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, while James
Baskett, who plays Uncle Remus, wins an Oscar.
The movie's production cost of $2.125 million causes only a $226,000
Walt considers making educational and commercial films, but decides
that the company should be in the entertainment business. He
decides that Alaska should be filmed, then takes a flying tour
himself. The flight almost went bad due to heavy clouds and no
radio contact to land. After circling for 2 hours, the plane
lands safely. Walt, after reviewing the Alaska films, suggests
a feature length film based on the life of seals. Due to it's
short time, Walt books the film with a lengthy feature. The audience's
reaction to the film is good. It eventually wins an Academy Award
for best 2-reel documentary.
Walt assigns all of his top talent to make "Cinderella,"
which had been in development for several years, along with "Peter
Pan" & "Alice in Wonderland."
Walt & Lillian had been looking for property to build a new
house and Walt required the lot of land to be large enough to
accommodate a train circling the home.
They found property and built the new home in Holmby Hills, CA.
Walt designs a half mile run and called the train's engine the
"Lilly Belle," named after Mrs. Lillian Disney. He
called it the Carolwood-Pacific Railroad.
Walt began talking about letting people come to Hollywood and
really "see" something. He started to formulate plans
in August to build an amusement area to be named Mickey Mouse
The Walt Disney Music Company is formed.