The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. Disney was originally founded on October 16, 1923, by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney as the Disney Brothers Studio; it also operated under the names the Walt Disney Studio and Walt Disney Productions before changing its name to The Walt Disney Company in 1986. Early on, the company established itself as a leader in the animation industry, with the creation of the widely popular character Mickey Mouse, who is the company's mascot, and the start of animated films.
After becoming a major success by the early 1940s, the company started to diversify into live-action films, television, and theme parks in the 1950s. Following Walt's death in 1966, the company's profits began to decline, especially in the animation division. Once Disney's shareholders voted in Michael Eisner as the head of the company in 1984, the studio began to see an overwhelming amount of success during a period called the Disney Renaissance. In 2005, under new CEO Bob Iger, the company started to expand and acquire other corporations. Bob Chapek became the head of Disney in 2020 after Iger's retirement.
Since the 1980s, Disney has created and acquired corporate divisions in order to market more mature content than is typically associated with its flagship family-oriented brands. The company is known for its film studio division Walt Disney Studios, which includes Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Animation, and Searchlight Pictures. Disney's other main business units include divisions in television, broadcasting, streaming media, theme park resorts, consumer products, publishing, and international operations. Through these various segments, Disney owns and operates the ABC broadcast network; cable television networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic; publishing, merchandising, music, and theater divisions; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Disney+, Star+, ESPN+, Hulu, and Hotstar; and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, which includes several theme parks, resort hotels, and cruise lines around the world.
Disney is one of the biggest and most well-known companies in the world and has been ranked number 53 on the 2022 Fortune 500 list of biggest companies in the United States by revenue. Since its founding, the company has won a total of 135 Academy Awards, with 32 of them coming from Walt. The company has also been said to have produced some of the greatest films of all time as well as revolutionizing the theme park industry. Disney has also been criticized for alleged plagiarism, producing racist content in the past, and both including and lacking LGBT-related elements in its films. The company, which has been public since 1940, trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with ticker symbol DIS and has been a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1991. In August 2020, just under two-thirds of the stock was owned by large financial institutions.