Learn from the leaders: The History of Mickey

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When was the last time you were at Disney World or saw a Disney movie? Could you find anybody who has never heard of Mickey Mouse? The Walt Disney company is the gold standard in family entertainment but they didn’t get there by accident and it didn’t happen without a large amount of setbacks and failures.

The Walt Disney Company began when an animator named Walt in Kansas City, Missouri made a small film called Alice’s Wonderland in 1923. This film was ultimately distributed by well-known distributor of the day Margaret Winkler. Walt and is brother Roy quickly moved to California to continue producing more episodes of Alice’s Wonderland. The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was born.

Alice’s Wonderland lasted for four years until 1927. Bouncing back from the cancellation, the Disney brothers started a new series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was cancelled after 26 episodes leaving the Disney brothers without a well-known cartoon series and without an animation staff. When Mrs. Winkler’s husband took over the distribution company, he hired away all of Disney’s best people.

Oswald was not only cancelled but represented a great financial loss for Disney. In response to this, Walt himself created Mickey Mouse that would end up being one of the best franchises in animation history. Mickey has been the revenue driver for Disney from his creation in 1928 all the way to the present day.

In 1954, the Disney brothers opened up the first Disney Theme Park based on his popular television series, Disneyland. When Walt died of lung cancer in 1966, Disneyland was renamed to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother’s accomplishments.

After going through a period of financial vulnerability of the 1970s due to a series of only mildly successful movies, Disney revitalized itself in 1994 when the Lion King was released and from there, Disney has restored itself as an entertainment mecca.

Today, we know of Disney World as a series of parks, resorts, movie studios, and brand franchise that continues to grow despite its large market capitalization and it all started in a garage with a series of films that would lose money until Mickey was created.

Small business owners and those just getting started, Walt Disney started his studio in a garage and from there, it became what it is today. Maybe you’re wondering when your big break will come. Keep at it and bounce back from your failures. Walt Disney did it and it look what that got him!