1.To say Walt Disney had a lot riding on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be an understatement. Not only had he borrowed money to complete the film, he also mortgaged his home to help finance it.
2.Snow White was the first film to release an accompanying soundtrack.
3.But Snow White wasn't the first time Disney released music from its films to the public. A few years earlier, in 1933, the 78 rpm record for "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" from The Three Little Pigs was a big seller (FTR, it was just a single and not a soundtrack).
4.In 1930, a Mickey Mouse writing tablet became the first Disney character merchandise. Walt Disney agreed to license the character to a company in New York (for $300) because he needed the money at the time:
5."When You Wish Upon a Star," from Pinocchio, was the first Disney song to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.
6.During World War II, 90% of what Walt Disney Studios produced was for the Allies' war effort (i.e. propaganda films, training films, print campaigns, etc.).
7.Cinderella was the first time Disney shot the entire film in live-action first, and then used it for reference to animate the movie.
8.The narrator for Cinderella — whose voice you hear at the beginning of the movie — is voice actor Betty Lou Gerson, who was also the voice of Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians.
9.Both Lady Tremaine and Maleficent are voiced by the same actor: Eleanor Audley.
10.Eleanor Audley is also the voice of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion ride.
11.The Haunted Mansion has the distinction of being placed in a different land in every Disney park that has it.
12.Sleeping Beauty took a long time to make. It first went into production in 1951 and wasn't released into theaters until 1959.
13.The design of Anita in 101 Dalmatians was partly based on Julie Andrews.
14.According to Jeffery Sherman, son of Robert Sherman (of the famous Sherman Brothers), he inspired the Mary Poppins song "A Spoonful of Sugar" after he told his dad that he had gotten his polio vaccine on a sugar cube.
15.Dick Van Dyke’s notorious Cockney accent was partially to blame on his Irish vocal coach Pat O'Malley, who, according to him, "didn't do an accent any better than I did."
16.Julie Andrews was not the first person to play Mary Poppins on screen. It was Mary Wickes, who played the character in 1949 in a one-hour TV adaptation that was part of CBS’s Studio One series.
17.Coincidentally, Mary Wikes has a role in another classic Disney film — she played Sister Mary Lazarus in the Sister Act films.
18.Disney wanted to get the Beatles to cameo as the vultures in The Jungle Book, but they turned them down. Reportedly, John Lennon was the one who did not like the idea and refused to be a part of it.
19.Disneyland's King Arthur Carousel is older than the park itself. It was built in 1922 for the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto.
20.The Enchanted Tiki Room (which opened in 1963) was the first attraction at Disneyland to have air-conditioning.
21.The Black Hole was Disney's first movie to receive a PG rating.
22.Early in the development of The Little Mermaid, both Joan Collins and Bea Arthur were approached to voice Ursula.
23.The ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast features an only gold and blue color scheme — that was chosen because those colors represent Belle.
24.The version of "Beauty and the Beast" that Mrs. Potts sings in the film was the very first take Angela Lansbury sang.
25.And finally, the 1993 teaser trailer for The Lion King was the first time Disney ever released an entire scene as a trailer: