Join the MINT Museum of Toys in celebrating the magical world of Disney as we mark the momentous occasion of Disney’s 100th Anniversary. From its humble beginnings to becoming a global phenomenon, Disney has captured the hearts of audiences young and old. Let’s explore some of the highlights in Disney’s remarkable journey over the last ten decades:

1. The Birth of an Entertainment Empire (1920s)

Steamboat Willie was released in November 1928, marking the first-ever appearance of Mickey Mouse and the beginning of a legend. It was the first cartoon released with synchronised sound, reflecting the Disney company’s boundary-pushing creativity and risk-taking in animation.

2. The Golden Age of Animation (1930s)

In 1937, the Walt Disney Company introduced the world to its first-ever full-length animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. This groundbreaking movie was the highest-grossing film of all time at that point in time, set a new standard for animation, and launched Disney’s legacy of enchanting storytelling. It showcased the artistry and innovation that would define Disney’s animation style for years to come and set the standards for other animation companies to follow.

Maker: Margarete Steiff GmbH
Year of Make: 1930s
Material: Fabric
Country of Origin: Germany

Maker: Knickerbocker Toy Co. Inc.
Year of Make: 1930s
Material: Fabric 
Country of Origin: United States of America

Maker: Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd.
Year of Make: 1930s
Material: Fabric and Felt
Country of Origin: United Kingdom

As Disney’s star began to rise in the 1930s, so did the amount of stuffed toys and memorabilia made worldwide featuring its most famous cartoon stars. The Mickey Mouse Steiff (Germany), Minnie Mouse in Cowgirl Costume (USA), and Mickey Mouse Jazzer (UK) are just a handful of the Mickey and Minnie toys that began to delight fans all over the world. Take a peek at even more Mickey Mouse memorabilia and vintage toys on our blog, or pay a visit to the Level 2 Collectables exhibition in our toy museum to see the full Mickey Mouse collection!

3. The Patriotic Years (1940s)

Disney was deeply involved in propaganda efforts during World War II and contributed to the war effort with anti-Nazi and anti-Japanese propaganda like 1943’s “Der Fuehrer’s Face”, as well as pro-US propaganda like “The Spirit of ’43” released in the same year. These films showcased Disney’s ability to adapt and contribute to the cultural landscape while recognising the power of animation to reach and resonate with audiences of all ages, not just children.

4. The Birth of Disneyland (1950s)

1955 marked the opening of Disneyland, the now-iconic theme park in California. Walt Disney’s vision of a magical kingdom finally became a reality after years of work, providing a place where families could immerse themselves in the enchantment of Disney’s stories and characters. Half a century later, Disney Parks is now a major business segment and division of the larger Walt Disney Company, with six attractions located worldwide.

5. The Animated Classics (1960s)

The 1960s saw the release of some of the company’s most beloved Silver Age classics, including 1961’s “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”, 1963’s “The Sword in the Stone”, and 1967’s “The Jungle Book”. Sadly, this decade was also earmarked by the passing of Walt Disney in 1966 at the age of 65.

6. The Theme Park Expansion (1970s)

The 1970s saw the expansion of Disney’s theme park empire with the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida in 1971. This sprawling resort offered new attractions, resorts, and the iconic Magic Kingdom, solidifying Disney’s status as a leader in the entertainment industry both on and off-screen.

7. The Era of Blockbusters (1980s)

The 1980s marked several major accomplishments for the company, such as 1983’s opening of Tokyo Disneyland – the first Disney park outside of the USA. However, most notably, in 1989 the company released “The Little Mermaid” – an international success that would mark the beginning of the period known as the “Disney Renaissance”.

8. The Disney Renaissance (1990s)

The Disney Renaissance carried over into the 1990s with “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), “The Lion King” (1994), “Toy Story” (1995), “Mulan” (1998), “Tarzan” (1999), and more. These films were critical and commercial hits, and ended up revitalising Disney’s animated feature department while reflecting the company’s power at reinventing old stories in new ways for an ever-changing audience.

9. The Digital Age (2000s)

In the 2000s, Disney embraced the digital age with groundbreaking films like “Monsters, Inc.” (2001), “Finding Nemo” (2003), and “The Incredibles” (2004). Many of the company’s live-action hits were also released during this decade, from 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” to 2006’s “High School Musical”.

10. The Live-Action Era (2010s)

The 2010s marked some of Disney’s biggest expansions of its entertainment empire, including acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 and the reorganisation of Marvel Studios under Walt Disney Studios in 2015. Disney also embarked on a series of live-action remakes of beloved classics, starting with 2014’s “Maleficent” and 2015’s “Cinderella”. These films breathed new life into timeless stories and introduced them to a new generation of fans.

Discover Disney Memorabilia and More at the MINT Museum of Toys

As the world celebrates 100 years of Disney, join us at the MINT Museum of Toys and immerse yourself in the magic of Disney’s rich history. Discover our collection of vintage toys, childhood memorabilia, and pop-up exhibition displays that span the 1840s to 1980s, including cherished Disney characters that have become beloved icons of popular culture.

From extensive toy collections to vibrant pop-up spaces, there’s no other museum for adults or kids in Singapore like us. Book your tickets for our exhibitions today, or explore our virtual museum exhibition from the comfort of home!

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