October 27, 1954: Walt Disney’s Disneyland, a program that originated out of Walt’s desire (and necessity) to fund and advertise his Disneyland theme-park project, premieres on ABC. He will host the show himself until his death in 1966, and the series will continue (under various titles) several decades after.
December 15, 1954: Dave Crockett, Indian Fighter premieres on the Frontierland segment of Walt’s weekly Disneyland program. It is the first of five episodes shown over the next year, all of which will later be edited together to render two full-length features. The program officially kicks off the nationwide Davy Crockett craze, coonskin caps adorning the heads of children everywhere and “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” topping the charts.
Original sheet music for the hit song
January 26, 1955: The second episode in the series, Davy Crockett Goes to Congress, airs to legions of eager fans.
February 23, 1955: The three-episode storyline wraps up in Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
October 3, 1955: The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on ABC. It runs for the next four years, becoming one of the most successful children’s television shows ever. The cast of Mouseketeers, highlighted by eventual teen superstar Annette Funicello, popularized the Mouse-ears headwear and participated in songs and skits themed after the Club’s weekly schedule: Monday = Fun with Music Day; Tuesday = Guest Star Day; Wednesday = Anything Can Happen Day; Thursday = Circus Day; Friday = Talent Roundup Day. The show inspired iterations in both the 1970s and 1980s, as well as an online version in the 2010s.
Mouseketeer Annette features prominently on the cover of this record album insert
November 16, 1955: Fess Parker returns to the small screen in Davy Crockett’s Keelboat Race.
December 14, 1955: Davy Crockett and the River Pirates rounds out the successful series as the fifth and final episode.
June 19, 1957: The feature film Johnny Tremain, originally produced for the weekly Disneyland television series, is first released to theaters, then airs on the show in November of the following year. A colonial-themed Liberty Street is simultaneously in the works for Disneyland Park. Though the project never materializes in California, a Florida version opens with the Walt Disney Resort in the form of Liberty Square.
October 10, 1957: The popular television series Zorro premiers on ABC. It will run for two seasons and seventy-eight episodes. Four additional hour-long specials will appear on Walt Disney Presents (the second title iteration of Walt Disney’s Disneyland) in 1960-61.
Guy Williams as the Masked Man
September 24, 1961: Disney’s weekly television series moves to NBC under the revised heading, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.
April 18, 1983: At 7:00 a.m. EST, The Disney Channel launches on cable platforms.
Premiere issue of The Disney Channel Magazine (program listings for subscribers to the network)
February 2, 1986: The series moves back to ABC, debuting with a new name (The Disney Sunday Movie) and its first host since Walt’s death in company CEO Michael Eisner. It will later be renamed The Magical World of Disney, and finally The Wonderful World of Disney, as it’s known today (though no longer airing on a weekly basis).
July 31, 1995: Disney announces the acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. for $19 billion.
August 17, 2007: High School Musical 2 becomes the most successful Disney Channel Original Movie of all time.
The 2007 annual report features the cast of High School Musical in honor of the sequel garnering the largest audience in cable television history
March 23, 2012: Television channel Disney Junior debuts.
February 13, 2009: The company’s third cable network Disney XD premieres (replacing Toon Disney).
March 20, 2019: Disney closes the deal the acquisition deal of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion.
November 12, 2019: Disney+ launches as the company’s foray into the digital streaming medium.
Promotional flyer distributed ahead of the service’s release date