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WDW Radio # 754 – Top Ten Moments in Walt Disney Company History – Part 2

Have you ever wondered which pivotal moments shaped the Disney legacy? As we celebrate Disney 100, and the hundred years of magic from the Walt Disney Company, we are going to deep dive into into the top ten milestone moments that created a legacy of dreams and transformed the world of entertainment forever.

Join me again this week as we continue our magical trip down memory lane, diving deep into the Top Ten moments and incredible individuals who truly made a mark on the Disney legacy, and shaped the happiest company on earth.

This week, we are diving into part two of our countdown of the top ten milestone moments in the incredible history of the Walt Disney Company. Joined once again by Tim Foster, we will be exploring the pivotal moments that shaped the Disney legacy and continue to impact the world of entertainment in unimaginable ways.

From the expansion of Disney’s global reach with the opening of Shanghai Disney in 2016, to the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios and the birth of a new era of animation, we will be taking a close look at the transformative events that defined Disney’s evolution. We will reflect on the retirement of Bob Iger in 2019 and the succession of Bob Chapek as the company’s new leader in 2020.

Of course, no discussion of Disney’s milestone moments would be complete without acknowledging the unprecedented challenges faced by the company during the global pandemic. We’ll explore how Disney adapted and pivoted, using technology and streaming to navigate through uncertain times.

Join us as we celebrate the iconic acquisitions that turned Disney into a media giant, from ABC in 1995, to Marvel in 2009, and the surprising merger with 21st Century Fox in 2017. We’ll delve into the significant impact these acquisitions had on storytelling opportunities, streaming content, and even the expansion of Disney’s beloved theme parks.

But it’s not just about the corporate milestones. We want to hear from you, our loyal listeners, about the moments that hold a special place in your Disney-loving hearts. We encourage you to share your thoughts and personal milestone moments that have made Disney such an important part of your life.

So fasten your seatbelts, grab some popcorn, and get ready for another captivating episode as we continue our journey through the top ten milestone moments in Walt Disney Company history! Let the magic begin!


Thanks to Tim Foster from Celebrations Magazine for joining me this week.

The key moments in this episode are:

Top Ten Milestones in Walt Disney Company History – Part 2:

I. Introduction

  • Celebrating Disney 100 and the hundred years of magic from the Walt Disney Company
  • Exploring the top ten milestone moments that shaped the Disney legacy
  • Pivotal moments that transformed the world of entertainment forever
  • From first steps to triumphs, tribulations, and transitions

II. Individual Moments

  • Unveiling the impact of individual moments on the Disney legacy
  • Key individuals, products, places, and corporate moments

III. Walt Disney’s Vision

  • Bob Iger’s emphasis on the importance of storytelling
  • Deep dive into Bob Iger’s transformative decisions and their impact on the company
  • Recognizing Iger’s visionary leadership and contributions to Disney’s growth

IV. Acquisitions and Expansions

  • Global Reach
  • Expansion of Disney’s global reach
  • Examples: Shanghai Disney opening in 2016

B. Animation Renaissance

  • Acquisition of Pixar and the new era of animation
  • Impact of films like Frozen and Moana

C. Changes in Leadership

  • Reflection on Bob Iger’s retirement in 2019
  • Bob Chapek succeeding Iger in early 2020

D. Unprecedented Challenges

  • Disney’s response to the challenges faced during the pandemic
  • Use of technology and mobile apps to adapt to the new normal

E. Significant Acquisitions

  • Disney’s Acquisition of ABC
  • Expansion into television networks, including ESPN
  1. Acquisition of Muppet Properties
  • The acquisition at a discount
  1. Acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios
  • Pixar’s consistent production of high-quality films
  1. Acquisition of Marvel Entertainment
  • Adding 5,000+ superheroes to Disney’s roster
  1. Acquisition of Lucasfilms
  • The addition of Star Wars and Indiana Jones
  1. Acquisition of 21st Century Fox
  • Expansion of Disney’s media holdings significantly

F. Impact of Acquisitions

  • Turning Disney into a multimedia juggernaut
  • Potential opportunities for crossovers and access to rich content libraries

V. Streaming and the Film Industry
A. Impact of the Pandemic

  • Closure and reopening of Disney parks
  • Shifts in the movie-going experience and revenue measurement

B. Disney’s Adaptation

  • Pivot to streaming and reimagining the theme park experience
  • Success of Disney Plus and the potential for further investments in streaming content

C. Shifting Paradigm

  • Changes in the traditional movie-going experience
  • Streaming as the primary distribution channel for films and series

D. Content Distribution Strategies

  • Experimentation during the pandemic, including direct-to-streaming releases
  • Impact on revenue, release strategies, and contracts within the industry

E. Future of the Film Industry

  • Uncertainties about the long-term impact and the post-pandemic world
  • The need for the film industry to create more experiential experiences to attract audiences

VI. Personal Milestone Moments

  • Reflection on personal milestone moments related to Disney
  • Stories from Tim Foster and Lou Mongello
  • Discussion on their impact and significance

VII. Conclusion

  • Gratitude for life-changing moments
  • The ongoing impact of these milestone moments on the Disney legacy
  • Invitation for listeners to share their thoughts and contributions to the top ten list

Timestamped summary of this episode:

  • [00:04:09] Disney 100 milestone moments celebrated, impactful, nostalgic.
  • [00:08:45] Mickey Mouse: Symbolic icon with enormous impact.
  • [00:11:38] Walt Disney’s entrepreneurial journey and legacy.
  • [00:19:26] Cinderella revolutionized Disney animated films, impacting animation.
  • [00:21:59] Cinderella’s timing leads to Disney’s expansion. Disneyland opens in 1955.
  • [00:31:11] Disney’s innovative funding idea: corporate partnerships
  • [00:37:24] Concern and wonder about the company’s future led to Roy O’Disney postponing his retirement. Walt Disney World became his passion project. Leadership changes brought a shift towards corporate strategy and diversification, including acquiring ABC and expanding into television and film.
  • [00:43:14] Eisner and Wells saved Disney, Disney Renaissance.
  • [00:48:01] Dream interview: Michael Eisner revitalized Disney.
  • [00:51:59] Frank Wells: Underrated Disney executive with significant influence.
  • [00:59:23] Have fun watching WDW radio live shows.
  • [01:05:38] Visit loumongello.com for Disney coaching and speaking.

What has been your favorite Disney corporate acquisition and why?

Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.


Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello: So I'm going to, in the interest of time and efficiency and efficacy. I'm going to sort of merge a number of things into one. .

Tim Foster: I have two

Lou Mongello: left on my list. You better not take either one of them. If these are one of them, let me know and we'll just, we'll just, you know, we'll do it together.

Um, I'm calling these the big six. I'm calling this the big six. And these are the big six acquisitions.

Tim Foster: Make it five and we'll be happy.

Lou Mongello: Okay. Which one would you like me to leave out?

Tim Foster: Little little ball with a star on it and a lampy guy done.

Lou Mongello: I'm going to mention it just for I will sort of I will give a very broad stroke of the brush I won't go into detail and then we'll piggyback going deeper into Pixar But you know from a period of about It's a little over two decades, Disney acquires, you know, I'm, I'm jokingly sort of calling it the big six, they acquire in 1995, they acquire ABC, which also brings in networks like ESPN under the umbrella in 2004.

They acquired the Muppet properties, including, but not limited to Bear and the Big Blue House for a discount of 75 million. Two years later, they acquire Pixar Animation Studios, which strengthens, solidifies its animation dominance. Three years later, they acquire Marvel Entertainment, uh, adding this 5, 000 plus superheroes.

To its roster, and now, you know, as many people sort of felt at the time, it helped fill a void, and especially in terms of appealing to that teenage, young adult boy that maybe was seeing a lot of princesses coming into the parks. Disney says, wait, hold my lightsaber, we're not done yet, because out of nowhere, three years later, they acquire Lucasfilms, Star Wars, Indiana Jones.

And then five years after that, again, I don't know if anybody saw this coming. They acquired 21st century Fox, expanding the media holdings to, you know, to lengths and, and width that we have not even, I think, begun to see, but, you know, even going back to acquiring ABC, which at the time was valued at 19 billion, it was monumental, like overnight, Disney becomes a media juggernaut.

Not just on the big screen, but the small screen because it's ESPN, it's a and e, it's Lifetime. So giving Disney, getting A, B, C, diversifies their content portfo portfolio, but it also allows them and gives them the freedom of flexibility of controlling and producing a wider range of television content Also.

Overnight, they take over the sports broadcasting market literally like with one stroke of a pen. They are now the leader in sports broadcasting kids You might not realize it because everything's online now, but at one point espn was it it is where you went for sports They acquired the muppets in 2004.

Again, immediately impacting the company by bringing in beloved characters like Kermit and everything into the Disney fold. Yes. They produced, you know, a number of Muppet projects. There was the theme park presence, merchandising streaming. And I think there is this continuing ongoing effort to revitalize and maybe even to a certain degree modernize.

the Muppet brand, making it more relevant to new generations. But these, these characters, Tim have, have literally, you know, timeless appeal. And yes, I said big bear in the big blue house. Cause I loved it. I will skip over Pixar because I'll let you talk more about that, but

Tim Foster: you can talk about Pixar.

Lou Mongello: Well, let's talk about it together.

How's that? All right. Right. So 2006 7. 4. billion dollar deal, um, in this very, very smart move to consolidate Disney's position in animation, right? Because they already collaborated with Disney on, uh, Toy Story and Finding Nemo, but this was to the thing that helped to revitalize, once again, Disney animation and, you know, personal stuff aside, you know, key figures like John Lasseter took on leadership roles within Disney and created and, and brought back this culture of innovation and creativity that might have been missing for some time within the company.

Tim Foster: Well, that's the thing. It's, it's, it's fun sometimes to try and distill these big monumental milestones into a fun little story. And, and I have one. It's oversimplified, but I was going to lead my Pixar discussion by saying that one of those pivotal moments in Disney history. Was it when Bob Iger in 2000, either late 2005 or early 2006, was in Hong Kong Disneyland watching Parade, and realized that in the first 10 minutes of the Parade, he didn't see a single Disney character.

They're all Pixar. And that planted the seed in his mind that, you know, the tough negotiations we've been having with Pixar lately, which didn't seem to be going anywhere, we need to make this happen. And they did, and... The acquisition happened, as you said, and I just remember at the time, uh, me and I sure many other people were going to Disney films for us.

It became the every year going to the new Pixar film and waiting for that new masterpiece because we just knew it was coming. And I mean, you look by Pixar. I mean, they still are today, but Pixar was on a. You talk about a role, they were on a roll back then, like nothing they did was less than, you know, ten, ten out of ten, and so forth.

Disney films at the time, um, they're, they're coming off of the Disney renaissance now, so it's, it, you can kinda, an overstatement, but that quality ramp of Pixar going up and the one for Disney. I'll say staying steady or going down, but you kind of look to Pixar as the new, that's where the great movies are coming from.

And early on, it's distributed by Disney close enough for me, um, when word started coming that the two might be separating, uh, got a little, little nervous, a little scared. Like, will I stay with Pixar if they leave? Who's fault, who am I mad at, you know? Uh, but thankfully. You know, things, things ended up the way they are and, um, and I don't know, it's, it's probably impossible to quantify which of the acquisitions you said were the most impactful and most important, but, um, you, you got to think Pixar just, just for what you said, not just financially, but solidifying, cementing, we'll say, Disney's Uh, and Pixar's place in animation, uh, across the industry now, it's, uh, not just revenue, but the quality of films and so forth,

Lou Mongello: so.

You know, I would even, I would even take the significance of this merger out a few more steps, because Lest we forget, one Steve Jobs was one of the founding fathers of Pixar Animation Studios, right? He wasn't just the former CEO of Apple. And I think his very sad, very untimely passing in 2011, just a few years later, I think his pa you know, and I, I know we keep, I keep talking about people passing because they are significant.

I wonder what the future and the relationship between Disney, not, and not just with Steve Jobs, the person, the board member, the executive, but, but Disney and potentially Apple might have been going forward. I have to believe that there were conversations happening between Disney and Apple, not talking for any type of merger or acquisition or things like that, but a Working together of the two companies because of the person that Steve Jobs was because he was that same type of and again, all respect intended to everyone, the same type of creative and visionary that a Walt Disney was that some of these other executives were and imagine the powerhouse that would have been created, bringing the two families of Disney and Apple together in whatever form or fashion they might have been.

The history

Tim Foster: of Disney is riddled with what ifs and what could it be? Yeah. But you never know.

Lou Mongello: You know? And, and, and just to, to quickly touch on again, you know, Marvel Entertainment, the acquisition of Marvel in, in, in 2009, $4 billion. I remember it was right, right before D 23 Expo. I've told my Kevin Fegan fike story a million times, but you know, the $4 billion deal, which at the time was just like.

Inconceivable was a discount, right? Because of what they got in the creation of the MCU and this, you know, this phased approach to storytelling, which, you know, Feige and Disney have this roadmap of content for years to come and what it's done and what it's brought to Disney plus the same thing for Lucasfilm, you know, Georgian Georgia, you know, Georgian.

Bob get together and next thing you know somebody's cutting a check for four billion dollars to bring in I always wonder how those conversations take place, but that's what it was what it like, you know again We don't need to go into it. And I think the really interesting one and one that we're We're just starting to, I think, scratch the surface of was the acquisition of 20th century, 21st century Fox, which I don't, you know, there was never like a rumor that this was happening in, in 2017 for 71.

3 Billion dollars. Like, um, again, this vision of we need to bolster our already massive content library and bring in franchises, not just like avatar, but. Connecting it to the Marvel X Men Fantastic Four is going to be this next iteration of where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going. But, you know, beyond the content, Tim, it, it provided Disney with additional production resources and international networks and the controlling stake in, in Hulu.

So this The reach in the entertainment industry and the opening of doors for potential crossovers and this rich content library, um, is, is going to be, look, I don't expect to see, like, Die Hard and Titanic in the parks any time soon, but... You know, when you start looking at what it represents, right? It's 20th century studios, um, searchlight pictures, which, uh, shape of water and Slumdog Millionaire FX networks, Nat Geo 20th century television.

Like the fact that if you would have said. 20 years ago that Disney is one day going to own the Simpsons, people would have said you were crazy, right? But this, I think it goes beyond just this idea of, of storytelling opportunities, but, um, what the future is going to bring in terms of big screen streaming, potential sequels and spinoffs on an expansion in the, the theme parks is going to be very, very, very interesting.

Tim Foster: Well, it's actually, it reminds me of a funny thing that happened to me. So we're, if, if you're gonna allow me, we might get to this, uh, factoid that I have a new book coming out. , um, one of write bookings, , one of the once in a while. Once in a while. One of the things I was doing in this. Book, which is about Disney's 100 years.

I wanted to include a filmography in the back for reference. You know, if you wanted to look it up and this kind of goes to your point, all the acquisitions that have been made up until. Oh, at the 80s and 90s, it's a fairly short list. No problem. When I got after that, I realized if I were to comprehensively list every film that Disney and its acquisition partners has.

That's, that's, that's an encyclopedia. So, uh, it's not in there. I didn't do it, because it was ridiculous. So, but it's funny, when you, when you see the disparity, like, pre, pre acquisitions this, and post acquisitions this. Um, it, it kind of leads me to my next one, though, and I'm gonna go. Sort of chronologically, but I'm going to go right up to the current day here, and I'm going to talk about the pandemic, and how that affected the company on many levels, and so the easy part first, we know how it impacted, well obviously it impacted the company and the world in a tremendous way.

Parks obviously closed, greatly change as the parks reopened. Greatly changed how we tore the parks, uh, out of necessity as things were slowly opening. And, you know, Disney had to be careful with attendance and safety and all these protocols. Some things are coming back, some things may forever be changed, and I guess time's gonna tell what parts are gonna stay, what parts will revert back to.

I use quotes normal, um, but there's no doubt that the way we tour the parks. In some way will have changed permanently because of this, but I think more impactful and I think this is where I think the world is really anxiously waiting to see how this is going to turn out is how the pandemic impacted the film industry, not just Disney, but everybody.

Um, and you mentioned Disney plus earlier just. How the world went from going to theaters, that was our movie experience, to we're streaming pretty much everything and we rarely go to theaters. I can't, I think I've been to theater twice in the last, oh, three or four years. And it would take a lot for me to go to a theater, you know.

Um. I like my big TV and sitting in my jammies and having popcorn, you know, and all that, um, but the fact is, it's changed, not just how movies are made, how we have series, series now, uh, six part series instead of motion pictures to three part films, um, this is kind of a new thing with streaming now that we have these six part episodes.

Or, or whatever. Uh, but how revenue is measured, uh, how things are released, how contracts are done with the, the actors and directors and all of that, it just turned the industry upside down. And, uh, for Disney and everybody else, I feel like we're still, I think everyone's still waiting to see how this is, how it will play out in the end and what the movie going paradigm will be going forward.

Cause it's going to be wildly different than it was before. And. Who knows, but, but you see, Disney Plus has so many viewers, so much success. From a viewership point of view, financially, it might be another story, but that's one of the things Disney and everyone else is going to have to navigate now. Like, how do you, in, in base business terms, how do you monetize things the way we did before?

How can we maintain the success? How can we maintain the quality we've had? That's probably the biggest question we all have. Um, so far, so good going by recent films that we've watched as I think, yeah. Many recent films have been fantastic, but it's got it's a tricky road map. They've had to navigate for a couple of years and got to navigate for a long time.

And like the repercussions of this are going to be hanging around for a long time.

Lou Mongello: This was very much on my list. It would have been the next thing I was going to talk about to this. Your timing is perfect. Um, and, and this could be, you know, a conversation all by itself. And at first I said, you know, we need to come back in March of 2030 and, and look at how, but assuming I even last that long, maybe we'll come back in March of 2025 and look at what five years post pandemic look like.

And I think sometimes because we. We lead with our hearts. I think as Disney fans, we forget about sometimes the business aspect of what is going on. And we all remember where we were when it happened, et cetera, et cetera. And that I remember I was in the parks, I was in Epcot when it happened and they announced that they were closing and they were literally pulling, you know, cast members, uh, off stage and, and, and letting, I mean, it was just, it was on, it was, it was apocalyptic from a Disney perspective.

And I just, I sat down at beach club and went live and, and I was with a couple of friends and it was very emotional. It was a very, very sad time for us as, as Disney fans. And. You know, we also need to look at it from the corporate perspective, too, right? I sort of keep thinking about it from a business perspective.

By April, the company's stock had fallen nearly 30 percent, and to say that the financial repercussions are still being felt, again, understatement, right? We all know What happened, right? The parks closed, you know, all of the parks around the world, right? Close thousands of cast members have to be laid off or furloughed or released Due to the prolonged closures expansions are delayed From a non theme park or a production perspective right now with movie theaters closed Disney has to shift its focus towards Streaming like talk about the like fortuitous timing of acquiring streaming service, you know acquiring the streaming service But everything is delayed ESPN, you know, we just talked about how it was so impactful in terms of sports broadcasting live sports are canceled and postponed and cruise line and travels and ABD.

So. There's this massive impact this, we remember the phase reopenings. We remember the virtual queues and how empty and quiet the, the parks were and this shift in content distribution strategy, like Disney was just experimenting. They're trying to see what worked and what didn't like direct to streaming.

Like remember soul came out on Disney plus in, in Christmas of that year. What was planned to be, you know, a major motion picture release had no other choice. It had to just be, you know, broadcast on streaming and the success of Disney plus during the pandemic, you know, might've led Disney to invest more heavily.

Some people say almost too heavily in, in streaming content, because it is kind of the primary distribution channel for a lot of films or series, right? Because you're right, Tim. I think the movies, the movie going experience has to change and become more experiential to get us off our couch with our own food, with Uber Eats, with our own bathrooms to get us into like the movie going experience.

Endgame was going to the movies. It was an experiential. We need something nauseum.

All of the, the longer term implications, right? This hybrid release strategy, the changes in health and safety protocols. And, um, you know, the digital integration of, and utilization of tools in the parks, mobile food ordering and virtual queues just didn't exist before this. And now that we are comfortable with it and I mean, not just comfortable using it, but comfortable with liking to use it, it's this negative thing might.

Be turned might have turned into a sort of a guest. Satisfier through technologies. Um, I think what it and look there are and I want to be very sensitive to this because I understand that and I and I hate the fact that that things are not back to normal. And I mean that not just as a Disney guest and an enthusiast, but understanding things are not back to normal because every cast member that lost their job is not back to work.

Every experience in the parks is not back. Look. They're still not back up to full staff, right? They're still not able to staff everything that they need to, which is why experiences, some experiences aren't back, why things are not open all the time, why we don't have street mystery yet. I mean, there's a lot, there's a lot of things that have not sort of gone back to quote unquote normal.

I think. That definition of normal has to change. Um, you know, Disney lost 2 billion billion with a B dollars plus, as a result of the pandemic, I don't know that a lot of other companies could survive that. And, you know, conversations about leadership could be a separate conversation, but I think it did again.

Now that we're almost, you know, four years after this, it did, the pandemic did show Disney's ability to sort of adapt to unprecedented beyond belief challenges from, you know, pivoting to streaming, to re imagining the theme park experience, um, you know, leveraging technology, not just. On streaming platforms, but you know, in terms of mobile apps and using mobile apps for the theme park experience is really going to continue to influence.

The strategies for, for years to come and, you know, you never know how a company and it's, it's guests are going to respond to a crisis at this scale that nobody's ever seen before. And I think years from now, I would be interesting to look back to see how the trajectory and influence in terms of strategy in the post pandemic world look, you know, five and 10 years later.

Tim Foster: Yeah, well, we'll find out. This may, you know, we talked about many tumultuous times in Disney's history. This is certainly one of them. And I think we're, I guess for first, well, not the first time, but first time I recall, I'm in the middle of it and still waiting to see how the story ends in, in the, in the very end.

Look,

Lou Mongello: there was some good that, you know, there was some good that came up, right? I'm always going to be, you know, I'm going to choose the good guy. So mobile ordering is great. Virtual queues and things like that are great. And some of the, The necessary adaptations have led to guest satisfiers and sometimes an overall better experience for us because that's, you know, we want things quick.

We don't want to wait online anymore. We want to just like put it in our phone and just walk up and get, you know, our Woody's lunchbox handed to us. Oh, Woody's lunchbox. I know. I'm craving the tater tots right now. That's always the first thing that came to mind.

Tim Foster: Remember, you promised you were going to last till the 20, what, 2030, so you gotta cool it.

Lou Mongello: I'm gonna, I'm going to try my best. So um, just out of curiosity, how many more do you have on your list? None. Okay. So I, I went a little bit out of order and I will say one last thing and then I'm gonna have a surprise question for you. Oh,

Tim Foster: me or everybody? Both.

Lou Mongello: Alright. Because our friend, the listener, is sitting with us around this virtual table.

Screaming. Screaming probably, hopefully not saying much. Tell me you're an idiot, hopefully, uh, enjoying and wanting to, and I want you to contribute to this conversation. I'll say it now. Call the voicemail 407 900 9391 407 900 WDW1 share your thoughts about favorite milestone moment, or be part of the conversation over in the clubhouse at www.

com slash clubhouse. Um, again, history. Legacy hindsight will all reflect possibly differently or magnify things differently years from now, but I think an absolute milestone moment and one that cannot be understated is in 2005. The hiring of Bob Iger as CEO, um, his appointment as CEO, succeeding Michael Eisner, um, as president and chief operating officer, those acquisitions that we talked about, right?

We talked about sort of the, the, the impact, the immediate relative immediate impact on the company under his leadership. He acquires Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th century, 21st century Fox. You know, he brought my childhood, our childhood, into the umbrella of the Disney company. I say half jokingly, if they just buy Magilla Gorilla, that's it.

I'm done. Like, that's everything from my childhood. You know, forget about, from a corporate perspective, the content portfolio and entertainment power. Like. It's all these characters in these stories that we love right that that that same type of visionary That yes, and I mean this respectfully I'm not comparing to but I'm saying along the same like being a visionary like a Walt who When he was trying to expand, surrounded himself by the people who were the very best at what they did.

He didn't necessarily acquire companies, but it would acquire people. Bob Iger did the exact same thing, right? We just talked about this, this recognition, recognizing this shift into the way people were consuming media. He oversees the launch of Disney plus right going direct to consumers, making sure Disney is on the forefront and the cutting edge and relevance in this new digital age of how we consume.

He. Yeah. Okay. Expands the company, not just domestically, but globally, right? Things like Shanghai Disney in 2016, making sure that the, the reach and the giant hug of Disney sort of expands to a worldwide market and acquiring Pixar and, and those later changes at animation studios led to this next renaissance of animation.

Again, history will show that things like frozen and Moana were. And are part of this new, um, You know, I keep, we keep using the word Renaissance, but that's sort of really what it is. And look, I, you know, when Iger announced his retirement in 2019 and Bob Chapek succeeded him in early 2020. And I look, say what you will about Bob Iger.

I've had occasion to, to meet with him and speak with him. Very much off the record and, and, you know, you want to talk about stepping into an unprecedented global environment during a pandemic that nobody would have been prepared for. Um, but the fact that Eiger decides to come back and help navigate the company through those challenges and starts to return to a more active role during the pandemic, right?

He emphasizes, look, JPEC is in charge. But I want to help ensure a smoother transition and provide guidance during a very, again, tumultuous period of time. Nobody, I think, ever expected him to come back and take the Leadership position. Once again. Um, I think there's a lot of reasons why he did. I think a lot of people expected him to, and he still may eventually go into politics, but the return of my, just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in, you know, I think the longterm legacy is going to be so fascinating to see years from now, because I think he's going to be recognized and remembered.

For his visionary leadership, right? He transforms Disney through these acquisitions. He ensures the company's relevance as the way we, as consumers consume content being relevant in this, in this new age, under his tenure, Disney's market value grew exponentially, like to the highest it had been at some points.

Again. which reflects the expanded content portfolio, the international presence. And I think more importantly, Tim, I think Bob Iger always emphasized and continues to emphasize. And I think we're starting to see this, this happen now, right now that he's been here for a little while. I think Iger has always emphasized the importance of storytelling.

Which again goes back to this continuing. I'm coming full circle, which is why I want to do it here and bookend this Core value that was established by Walt remains intact I think the decisions he has made have been Transformative he has not only expanded the company but continued to solidify The company and the leadership and the growth and the commitment to core values is, I love, I do, I have massive amounts of respect for Bob Iger and what he has done for the company.

And again, over time, it'll be really interesting to have the conversation of. Not just a short term impact, but what the long term impact, um, he has had.

Tim Foster: You're saying I just checked my Disney stock. Got me all excited.

Lou Mongello: Listen, nobody's perfect. I didn't say that every, you know, every decision that is made is not necessarily perfect.

You know, and, and... We're doing good,

Tim Foster: but you and I, we're not in that 30 million dollar price plane area. Not quite yet. We're almost there. We're getting there.

Lou Mongello: Um, you know, look, and, and, you know... We also forget to, you know, the CEO is not, um, he's not the only person that runs the company, there are boards of directors and shareholders you have to be beholding to, and it's, you know, it's a very complicated thing, but I think his leadership and what he brings and represents, look, when he came back to the company, Tim.

Not just guests, but I think even cast members just felt different, right? It felt good to have him back. There was a very different sort of, um, emotion among cast members that, that I spoke to as well.

Tim Foster: I feel like at least on a, and again, I'm not in it. I'm not in the company or anything, but it may from public perception on a very superficial level.

Anyway, not dissimilar to when Steve Jobs came back. You know, to Apple in that time. I remember being an Apple person. Yeah, he's coming back. And yeah, I think we all felt that, like a, you know, a sense of coming back to, getting back on the right track, if you want to say that. And I'm with you, the, the, the, what Bob J.

Peck Fell into is I don't think I don't see how anyone navigates out of there Yeah, it gets respect for doing the best you can but I think we have Optimism came at a good time when we all kind of needed it. We'll see

Lou Mongello: what happens. Yeah, I mean, I think I think what unfortunately had happened was, you know, JPEC just lost the confidence of not just guests, not just frontline cast members, but the, the board and the company's top leaders.

And I think the board and Iger are very much in alignment in terms of setting the strategic direction of the company towards growth. Um, and I think more importantly saying, look, you know, I was going to be here for a short period of time. It was extended a little bit more, but I think. They are already ensuring who his successor is going to be To lead the company in the continuing positive direction after the completion of his two year term

Tim Foster: like I get that's what everyone wants is just on a on a very basic level that you hear this over and over again of Disney.

The company. Continuing to maintain everything we love about the Disney company and the values and what would Walt do and, and all that. That could be a very simplistic way to look at it, but, but you've talked about that. That's why we do this. That's why we love Disney. It has that something extra special and having that reassurance of however well founded it is that, yeah, They're back on the right track and we're going back to those things and we're not going to just turn into yet another entertainment theme park.

Everything's about the dollar kind of company makes everyone feel hopefully a little better.

Lou Mongello: And I know that in the 100 year history of the company, there are a lot of other moments that we could have and should have talked about. But, you know, I think we sort of, I think we actually might have had 10 in our top 10 list, which it could be a first.

It could very much be. A first for us. And I certainly want to, we want to hear from you, our friend who is listening, what you feel some of the other milestone moments that maybe we didn't get a chance to touch on are and why, right? Why do some of these things have such a significant impact, but I'm also going to throw you a little bit of a curve ball, Timmy Foster, because, you know, as we had this conversation, we talked about.

Individuals, and we talked about products and places and, and moments from a corporate perspective and how it impacts all of those things. But in the a hundred year history of the company, and more importantly in the X number of year history of little Timmy Foster and Lou Mangello, I want to know what your personal milestone moment is or moments like just quickly from the top of your head, you think back to your Disney history.

Your history with the company, the character, the brands, the places, the products, whatever it might be. Just close your eyes like what's the first thing that comes to mind for you? I want this to be very sort of impulsive like don't think about what's the first thing that comes to your mind or first couple of things that come to your mind in terms of Tim Foster's Milestone moments.

Tim Foster: It's an October evening. It's 1993 one of those years. This is easy because it's not bad This is really the first time that me and my wife had been better actually together first time I'd seen Epcot I've been to Disney once in 1972, but that was really it. That was the moment when this, not this company, this way of being, this way of This this magic place came to life for me is when we saw went to Epcot at night.

Uh, it was sort of new. I've never seen anything like before. I've sort of heard about this thing, but I didn't know what it was. And, uh, so that right away, just my entry, my reintroduction Epcot in 93 and Disney as a whole. Is really what started me off on this whole path. That's a simple answer because I really haven't said my best night ever in Walt Disney World was that night.

And it was just, it was just because again, it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It was beyond any expectation I had. And just knowing when I was there, knowing I would be back, you know, and knowing it, it just spoke to me on on a level that we know about. That's why we come back over and over again. So.

And now I'm, now I'm crying. Thanks. I've got to

Lou Mongello: go to the kitchen. That's a beautiful moment and I appreciate you sharing. Yeah. I'll share my Timmy Foster Epcot sentimental moment. I remember. Was it

Tim Foster: supposed to be a moment I had with you Lou? Because there's a moment with a

Lou Mongello: kitchen sink. No, but remember the time that you yelled at me?

At the Canada Pavilion while you're eating your Smarties.

Tim Foster: Very, very, very much so. And I hope that video still exists.

Lou Mongello: You're eating your Smarties. I could see you standing by the phone booth on the second level getting so mad at me because I was talking to Glenn during illuminations. Yeah. What did I say?

What did I say? I think you used some very non Disney Timothy Foster words. Well,

Tim Foster: besides that, the, the, the, the, the crux of my protest, you're ruining my magic! And you were! Yeah, I'm trying to, I'm trying to cry, I'm trying to sing along, we go on! And there you two are! You know, I think the projection nuts are up in the tower in the canopy,

Lou Mongello: you ever notice that?

Shut up! Shut up! Yeah, I remember that very well. Oh, the beautiful times that we've had together. So, um, all right, if I'm going to go and I have a lot like. When I, cause I thought of this just last minute, right? And when I, when I said it out loud, I was flooded with memories, um, especially of, of the first time I took my children and seeing my children's faces and, and the blessing of being able to do so much for and with my kids.

Um, but I think if I had to say, this could be a top 10 list. So I have to say, I don't really remember it super well, but. In November of 1971, um, three weeks after the parks opened, uh, my parents putting me in the back of the station wagon and, and taking me on our first visit to Walt Disney World. To say it changed the trajectory of my life is, is, you know, is actually true.

Um, because we went every year and it, and it, it wasn't just the place, it was the people and, and the memories that we had that, that fostered my love and continuing love of... I don't even like to call it this company, but this place and the people and the way Disney continues to make me feel. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to focus on the things that make us happy about going.

And without that first trip and my parents taking me every year, um, none of this would be possible. And from a, from a None of this would have been possible perspective, um, July 30th, 2003. I can see, I know exactly where I was the, the day it happened and, and everything around it. Um, oh, I'm getting more emotional than I thought.

Tim Foster: Oh no.

Lou Mongello: Sorry, it was the,

Tim Foster: um, It's before me, so I'm wondering where this is going. It was, um,

Lou Mongello: it was the day I signed my contract with my book publisher, uh, the Intrepid Traveler, um, and, and sent it back to him. I was down in Marco Island with my parents and we like, We were all together as we signed it and, and sent it in.

And it was just, it was that culmination of months of, of research and writing and work and, and like Walt who inspired me taking chances. And it just started this, this domino effect of writing the book that led to the site and the community and the podcast and the blessing of being able to do what I do and share it.

And the people that I've met, including, but not limited to you, Tim Foster. Um, It is it was a it literally was a life changing moment and I probably didn't realize it until right now when I said it out loud Just how much it really is and sometimes, you know, like Walt we make these little decisions Let's go rent a room in the back of the realty and see what happens.

We make these small life changing decisions that have Impacts that we could never ever fathom. So, um, I am grateful. I'm grateful to my mom and dad. And to Walt and to you. I'm sorry. Out

Tim Foster: there, out there, there's one, a mouse fest and a young boy lost in the wilderness, wandering with this, this coil bound mock up of a book he's hoping to make.

And there's that guy on the trivia book. I know you. And, uh, Meeting you for the first time and everybody else.

Lou Mongello: So I, Tim, I remember it. We were just talking before we started. I remember like that day. And there you were like you were, you were this, I mean you still had this, I didn't know what I was doing.

Sweet little. And we were in the swan, it was like an early mouse and that tiny little like dark low ceiling room. And you showed me this beautiful like hand bound manuscript. Of the most, and still to this day, Tim, this is not me just blowing smoke. I still think that guide to the magic is the most beautiful, unique Disney book ever about the parks, like without question, I still have my guide to the magic books.

I have my autograph books. I have all the different things. And I remember being like, And my publisher had a table like across the, like a few tables away. And I, and I, I, this is the way I remember it in my mind. I sort of grabbed you by the arm and it was like, come with me. And I'm like, Tim Foster, you need to meet Kelly.

Kelly and Sally, this is Tim. Like, sign him right away. Don't let him go to any other tables. Um. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out, but, uh, who would have known, Tim, that, that, that, that chance, uh, that, that chance meeting would lead to, how many years ago? Wait a minute, let me do the math.

Good lord, are we almost I

Tim Foster: don't, I don't know if I want you to do the math, but

Lou Mongello: go ahead. It's, are we near, are we talking about nearly 20 years of, of

Tim Foster: Yes. Yeah, I smell an event coming, ooh, ooh. All right, we're gonna have to dig into our Rolodex planners and see when it was. Yeah, oh

Lou Mongello: wow, yes, we gotta be close.

It's um, yeah, who, who would have ever guessed, but, and here we are, all these top ten, top tens, we'll have to do a top ten, top ten show at some point too. We'll do, you know, you know what we're gonna do? I'm going to have you come on a live show one night and we're going to talk with people live about art and we're going to come up with the top 10, top 10 lists that we've done past nearly 20 years.

So um, Tim Foster in, in your nearly a hundred years of guide to the magic and celebrations, you have, you've, you're continue to over deliver on the promises that you make to people with. What do you create in your books and the magazines? I know you've been working hard on stuff, but just quickly tell people where they can find you and all of the different stuff that you currently have available.

Oh,

Tim Foster: I won't go through everything. Well, celebrationspress. com is where you can find us and the big news. It's funny We're talking about 100 years of disney memories because I just finished we're actually waiting any day now We should be getting our newest hardcover collector's book disney at 100 Century of imagination we go decade by decade year by year talked about all the milestone significant events special happenings in disney's histories Special features on, oh, animatronics, and the World's Fair, and, and all, all of this stuff.

So we're very excited about that. There's a free pin that goes with it, but that's available over at Celebrations Press. A free pin! We did a Disney 100 pin. We still have our Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary book, our Epcot. 40th anniversary book. They make a nice trio. If you put them on your coffee table and of course, celebrations magazine, we're putting our winter issue together.

That's always there and fun and exciting. And, uh, lots of other goodies at celebrations,

Lou Mongello: press all good stuff. I will link to it in the show notes at WDW radio. com. A little Timmy Foster. Getting to know and do top tens with you has been one of my great milestone moments, um, in, in my Disney history. And these are fun.

And, uh, if you have an idea for a top 10 that you would like us to cover, you can just email me, Lou at www. radio. com. Who knows, Tim, maybe we'll invite somebody to come and join us on a top 10 too. Ooh, great. That way I don't have to do as much. I knew it. Tim's like, whew, that's less research I need to do now.

I only need to come up with like three.

Tim Foster: Ha, ha, ha


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