Disney knew that he would need help funding the development of his fantasy, Disneyland. Being the visionary he was, he looked to the next new frontier — television. He approached all three major networks with his proposal, but only ABC was willing to partner with him. Disney would produce a weekly family television program for ABC. In return, ABC would invest $500,000 in the creation of Disneyland and would own roughly 34% of the new enterprise. The weekly show would consist of an update on the construction of Disneyland and a short movie, all hosted by Walt Disney himself. Disney understood that the public would enjoy the show itself while also sitting through what would now be considered an hour-long commercial for Disneyland. The show went on to be known as “The Wonderful World of Color” and then “The Wonderful World of Disney.”
Disney also raised money for his Magic Kingdom by convincing consumer product companies that if the public encountered their brands at Disneyland, they would associate those products with the fun they had during their visit. Some of the first companies to sponsor the park were Coca Cola, Swift, Frito-Lay, Pendleton, Gibson Greeting Cards, TWA, and Eastman Kodak. The tradition of featuring outside brands in the parks continues to this day. Originally, these companies owned shares in Disneyland, but once it started to turn a profit, Disney bought those shares back, until the only owners were the Disney company and ABC. Once the Disney company acquired ABC, Disney and his management team took control over the entire park. By taking control of the park, Disney created a set of standards that are still visible throughout all of the Disney theme parks today.
The picture of the Frito Kid is from Yesterland.