In Disney History, WED Enterprises Founded.
WED Enterprises Design and development organization founded by Walt Disney in December 1952, to help him create Disneyland. Walt sold his interest in WED Enterprises in February 1965. Originally at the Disney Studio in Burbank, WED moved to facilities in Glendale in 1961. It later became known as Walt Disney Imagineering (1986). Originally known as WED Enterprises, from the initials meaning “Walter Elias Disney”, the company founder’s full name. Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, Inc. Walt Disney setup WED Enterprises and gifted shares of it to his heirs. For example, here are stock certificates that he gave to one of his young grandsons for 10 shares, and 2 1/2 shares, in the private company:
Walt then transferred to WED Enterprises
a collection of asset and rights, including, but not limited to:
- The rights to his name and likeness
- Ownership of certain Disneyland rides
- The licensing rights to merchandise sold by the public Walt Disney Productions
- The rights to the television show Zorro
- The right to invest up to 15% of the cost of movies produced by Walt Disney
, attractions, and assets such as The Disneyland Railroad, the Disneyland Monorail, the streetcars on Main Street, and the Viewliner. They cast members who ran these attractions were actually employed by an entirely different company than the rest of the park as they were on WED’s payroll.
, that entitled him to 5% to 10% of all revenue on items sold, such as stuffed animals, toys, games, etc.
so that his family could keep the money without sharing it with the Walt Disney Production stockholders. The bulk of the investments ended up consisting of a 10% ownership stake in 26 individual Disney live-action movies, the most successful of which was Mary Poppins. It is rumored the Disney heirs continue to generate millions of dollars a year from the income produced by these old films.
Walt Disney Imagineering is much better known today for designing and building the world-famous Walt Disney Parks and Resorts all over the world;
in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
in Marne-la-Vallée, France
in Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China
The term “Imagineering” combines “imagination” and “engineering.” The first verifiable use of the term was by artist Arthur C Radebaugh to describe his work and was first mentioned in the article “Black Light Magic” in the Portsmouth Times. The article was published and copyrighted in 1947, and gravitated to Disney by unknown means. WED Enterprises applied for a trademark for the term in 1967, claiming first use in 1962.
The company was formed separately from Walt Disney Productions to keep the affairs separate. Although, when WED was required to design and build sets for Walt Disney’s live-action television shows, WED and the Walt Disney Studios got closer together. In 1952 when WED were asked to design and build Roy O. Disney formed Disneyland, Inc. to build, design, and manage Disneyland and produce the Disneyland television show. Disneyland, Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney formed Disneyland, Inc. to build, design, and manage Disneyland and produce the Disneyland television show. Disneyland, Inc was absorbed into WED Enterprises and WED Enterprises became a division of Walt Disney Studios – itself a division of Walt Disney Productions, now named The Walt Disney Company.
Walt Disney Imagineering is now the research and development arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, no longer a division of Walt Disney Productions. Imagineering also includes Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, the company which utilizes Imagineering techniques among others to create shows, fireworks displays and parades at the Disney theme parks which are significant enough not to be developed by the entertainment studios at that theme park.