This Week In Disney History: February 26th – March 4th

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For the past few weeks, we have been bringing you a new column on WDWNT named ‘This Week In Disney History.’ Each week is meant to provide you tidbits of knowledge from the history of The Walt Disney Company. Some of these milestones may not be as important as others, but each played a specific or unique role in shaping the Walt Disney Company that we know and love today. In today’s edition of ‘This Week in Disney History’, we cover February 26th-March 4th.

Walt Receiving the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award from David O. Selznick. (Photo courtesy Walt Disney Archives)

This Week In Disney History: February 26th-March 4th


  • February 26th, 1942 was a very special day. On this day, Walt Disney received the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award. The award, named for the legendary head of the Production Divison of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is periodically given to “Creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” The award is presented at the Governors Awards Ceremonies as part of the Academy Awards.  Disney was the youngest person at the time to receive this award. Actress Norma Shearer (the widow of Irving Thalberg) was so touched by the presentation, gave Disney a kiss as returned to his seat.
  • On February 27th, 1987, Tokyo Disneyland welcomed its 40-millionth guest into the park!
  • On February 28th, 2012, Disney Cruise Line’s ship, the Fantasy, docked at New York harbor making it the first DCL ship to ever dock in New York. Also, on February 28th, 2004, one of the most popular restaurants at Downtown Disney, Earl of Sandwich, opened to the public. The sandwich shop is named after British Navy Officer John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with inventing the ‘sandwich.’ The 11th Earl of Sandwich and his son collaborated with Robert Earl, the founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood, to create this one-of-a-kind eatery.
  • On March 1st, 1930, Ub Iwerks, the very first animator of Mickey Mouse, left Disney to set up his own animation studio.  He eventually returned to Disney.
  • On March 2nd, 1976, Walt Disney World welcomed its 50-millionth guest into the park, who was Susan Brummer.
  • On March 3rd, 1937, Bobby Driscoll, who was the voice and model of Peter in ‘Peter Pan,’ was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Also on March 3rd, 1983, Journey Into Imagination at EPCOT Center made its grand debut to the public. The official grand opening ceremony was held on March 5th, 1983.
  • Finally on March 4th, 2011, author Dave MacPherson visited Disneyland.  Who is Dave MacPherson?  He was the very first paying customer to enter Disneyland when the gates opened to the public on July 18, 1955.

If you would like to read or learn about more Disney history, you can visit the Walt Disney Archives site here.

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About the author

Ben Drummond

Ben lives in Central Florida with his family, has an annual pass to the parks, has been there over 200 times, loves anything and all things Disney related, and Mickey Mouse is his favorite Disney Character. He has recently just joined WDWNT in February and has a passion to proclaim/write the latest Disney news for the public. He has been an active Disney nerd since 2010.

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