Logo descriptions by Matt Williams, WileE2005, rjsmith09 and Matt Anscher
Logo captures by Eric S. and others
Editions by Bob Fish, V of Doom, mr3urious, Nathan B., Optimus Prime 2000, userjt, universalxdisney172, shnick1985, HiddenResearcher, McDonald's1 and indycar
Video captures courtesy of Nightwing726, heyblondin, IntroHD, ConoleZ, MaxGoesFourth, and James S. Campbell, III
In Memory of Walt Disney (1901-1966)
Background: Originally established in 1923 as animation studio "Walt Disney Productions" (renamed "The Walt Disney Company" in 1986), Walt Disney Productions produced its first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but never used a proper logo until 1985. Instead it used an in-credit text on most of its films. In 1983, the company was described as "Walt Disney Pictures" with the establishment of its own movie arm, and the Buena Vista text was modified to "Distributed by BUENA VISTA PICTURES DISTRIBUTION" and moved to the end credits. Disney retired the Buena Vista brand in 2007 aside from its home video distribution arm. Also, Disney owned Studio Ghibli films do not carry any of the Walt Disney Pictures logos, instead using the text "WALT DISNEY STUDIOS (HOME ENTERTAINMENT) PRESENTS."
(December 21, 1937-June 21, 1985)
Logo: This is not really a logo, only an in-credit text. At the start of the film, we see the words "Walt Disney Presents" or "Walt Disney Productions Presents". At the end of the film, we see "The End, A Walt Disney Production" or "The End, Walt Disney Productions".
- On Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the first film to use this logo), the text reads "A Walt Disney FEATURE Production". The end title has the RKO Radio Pictures logo in the background with the words "A WALT DISNEY FEATURE Production IN TECHNICOLOR". Until 2009, post-RKO reissue prints used the usual "The End, A Walt Disney Production" notice.
- From 1982 to 1985, the studio's theatrical product under the Disney name (except for the two shorts released in 1983, Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, and Mickey's Christmas Carol) had simply "Walt Disney Productions" at the end of the credits. No "the end", as the practice of using these two words at the closing of films had pretty much ceased by now.
- On Popeye and Dragonslayer, the text reads as "Paramount Pictures Corporation and Walt Disney Productions present", as both films were distributed in America by Paramount and internationally by Disney.
- On some films, the movie's title is seen on the end title. Some examples include Make Mine Music, Fun & Fancy Free, Melody Time, and Treasure Island.
- On Treasure Island and One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, notices for filming locations are added.
- Sometimes, only "The End" is seen. Some examples are The Three Caballeros and Make Mine Music.
- Song of the South does not have the "A Walt Disney Production" text at the end title.
- Even after Walt Disney's death in 1966, "A Walt Disney Production" continued to be used until 1970 (the last to use it was The Aristocats). Strangely, it was seen on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore.
- Even after Walt Disney's death in 1966, "Walt Disney Presents" continued to be used until 1968 (the last to use it was Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day). Strangely, it was seen on One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (the latter two which were technically in production while Walt Disney was still alive, as he originally envisioned the first three featurettes as a feature-length film).
- "The End" was absent on Dad, Can I Borrow the Car.
- Some films, like The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo, have the end title containing "Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.".
- In foreign countries, presents is replaced by that country's translation (such as "Presenta" on Italian prints).
Music/Sounds: Usually the opening and closing themes of the movie.
Availability: Still saved on classic Disney shorts and movies of the era, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp, among others.
Scare Factor: None.
Nickname: "50 Happy Years"
Logo: On a red background with black moving dots, a blue version of Disney's 50th anniversary logo; a big "50" with Mickey Mouse ears on the "0" with the word "HAPPY" above it and "YEARS" below, appear and eventually change the background into a blue background with images of Disney cartoon characters outlined in green. The "50" logo zooms out followed by "HAPPY" zooming out above it and "YEARS" doing the same below. Tinker Bell appears, flies around and waves her wand, changing the screen to black. The Buena Vista logo would follow.
FX/SFX: The first part is typical 70s effects.
Music/Sounds: The first two bars of "When You Wish Upon a Star". An announcer (Dick Wesson) says "And now, a 50th anniversary presentation from Walt Disney Productions!".
Availability: Extinct. Appeared before the Buena Vista logo on Disney releases in 1973. Was spotted on an old cable TV print of Charley and the Angel. Also appeared briefly (twice) on The Wonderful World of Disney episode "50 Happy Years".
Scare Factor: None.
(October 7, 1983-December 25, 1998)
Logo: Again, just text reading "WALT DISNEY PICTURES", but applied differently depending on the movie.
- Return to Oz features the "WALT DiSNEY" script logo, and is the first to do so.
- Never Cry Wolf has the text in a blue rectangular box with a white outline around it.
- Squanto: A Warrior's Tale has the word "Presents" fades below the logo.
- The Rocketeer has orange text in the opening scene and in the closing scene has white text.
Music/Sounds: The beginning of the movie's theme. On A Far Off Place and The Three Musketeers, it's silent.
Availability: Again, on some Disney movies from the era; most films that feature this logo are live-action (an example is Return to Oz). Sometimes preceded or plastered by the 1985 logo. The logo, however, came back in 1990 on trailers. Also seen on The Rocketeer, A Far Off Place, The Three Musketeers, Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (only at the beginning of the film; the next logo appears at the end of the film), Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and Mighty Joe Young (although the next logo appears on the trailers and TV spots for said film). Also seen on trailers for White Fang, Shipwrecked, Newsies, Hocus Pocus, Cool Runnings, Iron Will, Angels in the Outfield, Jungle 2 Jungle, and Rocketman, as well as the teaser trailer for George of the Jungle (though the actual films use the next logo instead).
Scare Factor: None to low.
(June 21, 1985-December 12, 2006)
Nicknames: "The Castle", "Magic Kingdom", "Disney", "Sleeping Beauty Castle", "Disney Castle", "Classic Castle"
Logo: On a blue gradient backdrop, a shower of light descends from the top of the screen, forming a stylized, segmented Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty castle.The segments seem to be spaced farther apart by the time the light reaches the bottom. Through the main gate of the castle, a white ball of light forms, then extends out to form the words "WALT DiSNEY" in the familiar corporate "Disney" logo font. The word "PICTURES", in a Lubalin Graph-Book font, fades in underneath. A ball of light then appears on the right side of the castle and draws a circular line over it.
Trivia: The Disney script font is basically based on Walt Disney's signature. Also, although in 1989 and 1990, Disney switched its newer animated movies to traditional cel animation to digital ink-and-paint via its CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) software, systems, servers, workservers, and desks, this logo was still animated on hand-painted cels until at least the middle of 2005, even though two digitally-animated versions of this logo debuted in 1995 and 2002.
- In the original variant, the castle is a lavender/white gradient, and the background is indigo. However, some prints of The Black Cauldron show the castle in pure white. Some versions of the 1985-1990 variant show the castle in a light blue/white gradient.
- The size of the logo may vary.
- From 1985 until 2005, the logo is filmed and made with traditional ink-and-paint cel animation (which means that the logo was painted on several layers of production cels and animated frame by frame), while from 1995 until 2006, the logo is videotaped and made with digital ink-and-paint.
- There is a variation used from 1995 until 2006 in which the light forming the castle and the curved line's reflection are a little transparent, the flash forming the words "WALT DiSNEY" is a little brighter, and the word "PICTURES" fades in more quicker.
- Prior to 1990, the semi-circular line is drawn all the way to the bottom left. Also there is a pause after the initial glow before the shower of light descends, and the flash from the castle gate starts immediately after the castle has been formed.
- There is a variation of this logo where the animation is slow and choppy, and the "shower of light" is not as apparent (it looks more like somebody sliding a sheet of blue paper down to form the castle logo). A smoother version of this variant debuted in 1991.
- When classic Disney shorts were re-released in the 1990s, the text "A FULLY RESTORED ORIGINAL/ANIMATED CLASSIC", in the font used for "PICTURES", is shown before the logo. On The Old Mill, the text reads "A FULLY RESTORED ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ANIMATED CLASSIC" with a drawing of an Oscar statue to the left and a copyright for the A.M.P.A.S. on the bottom.
- There is a variant in which the flash that forms the "Walt Disney" text is a little slower and is shaped like an oval. This can be found on 101 Dalmatians (1996 film), as well as late-1990s and early-2000s re-releases of some 1950s-1960s Disney films (such as Mary Poppins), plastering the Buena Vista logo.
- There is a short version that can be seen on Return to Oz, the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, the 1995 Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain, Treasure Planet, and the 1980's re-issue of the 1939 Goofy short Goofy and Wilbur. It also appeared along with the Touchstone Home Video logo on very early Touchstone Home Video releases, mainly Splash, My Science Project, and Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend.
- There is an even shorter variant that starts after the "WALT DiSNEY" text is formed. This can be seen on mid-2000s releases of some classic films (such as Bambi and Cinderella, among others), plastering over the Buena Vista logo.
- There is a variant in which the "WALT DiSNEY" text is in what appears to be "shadow" mode. It is unclear whether this is a result of film deterioration, distortion, or if this was indeed an actual variant.
- There is a variant used from 2002 until 2006 in which a seventh flag is added to the right of the castle.
- There is a variant in which the logo is a still picture. This can be found at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and on 1990s re-releases of some 1940s-1950s Disney cartoons (such as Pluto's Fledgling), plastering over the 1953 Buena Vista logo.
- On a few 2003-2006 animated films such as Piglet's Big Movie and Leroy & Stitch, "PICTURES" appears with "WALT DiSNEY" instead of fading in after.
- Depending on the movie, there could be a variant which includes characters or a style from the movie (or an alternate variant of the original version). Click here for a list of these variants.
- At the end of Bambi (1997 Masterpiece Collection VHS), the logo plays, but Tinker Bell (recycled animation from other logos of the era) flies out from the castle and changes the screen as it introduces the featurette Bambi: The Magic Behind the Masterpiece.
FX/SFX: The "glowing castle", the "flash", the drawing of the line.
Cheesy Factor: The "flash", reveal of the castle and overall simplistic animation are rather outdated by today's standards. Also, the "filmed" version didn't look bad for the 1980s and 1990s, but by 2005, it and the cels used for this logo looked rather outdated and worn out after two decades. The videotaped variant isn't that much better, either.
Music/Sounds: A rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star" finishing off with a flute/recorder at the very end. During the formation of the castle and "WALT DiSNEY" text, sound effects evoking pixie dust are heard.
- On some movies like The Journey of Natty Gann, Return to Snowy River and The Straight Story, this logo is silent.
- There is a slightly re-orchestrated variant on the 1998 VHS release of The Black Cauldron.
- There is a slightly re-orchestrated theme with a choir mixed in for the short variant. Some late 1980s theatrical trailers have a voice-over saying "From the name that means magic in entertainment".
- On some 1980s theatrical trailers, a different majestic fanfare, which is not a rendition of the logo's usual theme in any form, is heard.
- The theme is re-orchestrated in a dramatically different key on 1994's White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf.
- Some films, such as The Parent Trap, Jungle 2 Jungle, and The Princess Diaries, use a more dramatic re-orchestration.
- On the 1995 short Runaway Brain, the logo's theme is re-orchestrated and sounds more like the 1988 Walt Disney Television logo.
- At the end of D3: The Mighty Ducks, it uses a flash sound and then a laser sound.
- At the end of movies, this logo is usually silent or has the ending theme of the movie playing over it.
- Some films, such as Flight of the Navigator, The Rescuers Down Under, as well as the 1998 VHS of The Little Mermaid, have the music off-sync with the logo's animation.
- On the 2003 DVD release of The Rescuers, a thunderclap was heard under the logo. This is because the movie originally started with a Buena Vista logo with the same thunderclap, and was replaced with the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo for all re-releases post-1989. The opening Buena Vista logo is preserved on the current (2012) DVD and Blu-ray releases, as well as the 1992 VHS and Laserdisc releases.
- On re-releases of Disney animated shorts in the 1990s, the logo is silent until the end, when the 1950s Buena Vista music pops up before the cartoon starts.
- On Oliver & Company, the beginning of the song "Once Upon a Time in New York City" plays. Also, the original film had the 1985 version of the castle, while the 1996 video release uses the 1990 variant.
- On some films, the film's opening score incorporates the first few bars of "When You Wish Upon a Star" when the logo appears.
Availability: Not as common as it was in the past. The first film to use this was Return to Oz, and this was put in front of almost every subsequent Disney animation until the logo's retirement on current releases in late 2006. The 1990 "filmed" version of this logo was first seen on a trailer for The Little Mermaid and made its final appearance on a trailer for Chicken Little. Starting in the early 1990s, it was also used on newer prints of classic films, such as Cinderella (starting in 1988), 101 Dalmatians (starting in 1992, except for the 2008 re-release, which uses the 2006 logo), Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (starting in 1994), The Aristocats (starting in 1996), Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book (both starting in 1997), and The Rescuers (starting in 1999) among others. The 1995 "videotaped" version was first seen (short version) on the 1995 Mickey Mouse short, Runaway Brain, released on April 7, 1995. The full version of the 1995 "videotaped" version first appeared on Pocahontas, released on June 23, 1995, and made its final theatrical appearance at the end of The Wild, released on April 14, 2006. The 2002 version was first seen on Return to Never Land, released on February 15, 2002, and made its final appearance on The Fox and the Hound 2, released on December 12, 2006. The last films to use this logo in theaters were The Wild and The Shaggy Dog. The last direct-to-video releases to use this were Bambi II, Brother Bear 2, and The Fox and the Hound 2. The logo is still used on the DisneyMovieTrailers YouTube channel. It was also seen on trailers for Toy Story as well, but the film itself uses the 6th logo. The current Blu-ray/DVD release of The Great Mouse Detective uses the 1995 variant of this logo, replacing the 1985 and 1990 logos. Scare Factor: None to low. This is a hugely popular logo, especially with those who grew up watching films that began and ended with this. Looks outdated by now, but has aged very well.
Scare Factor: None to low. This is a hugely popular logo, especially with those who grew up watching films that began and ended with this. Looks outdated by now, but has aged very well.
(April 15, 1988)
Logo: On a very shady cadet blue background, the regular "WALT DiSNEY" script, in a textured baby blue hue, writes itself onscreen (think the 1986 Walt Disney Home Video logo). The word "P I C T U R E S" fades in below the script in a Times font, with each of the letters spaced-out. A dot of light appears below the script and extends to form a line between the script and text.
FX/SFX: Typical 1988 animation.
Availability: Only known to appear at the end of Return to Snowy River (the 4th logo appears at the beginning). Also spotted on a TV spot for said film.
Scare Factor: None.
6th Logo (Pixar Variant)
(November 19, 1995-June 29, 2007)
Nicknames: "The Pixar Castle", "Pixar Kingdom", "Sleeping Beauty Castle 3D", "Disney Castle II", "Disney/Pixar Castle"
Logo: On a blue background, the camera flies out underneath a 3D CGI castle, with flags flapping on the top. When the logo zooms out, the logo proceeds as normal, but the "WALT DiSNEY" text is more three-dimensional, and the ball of light drawing the line over the castle drops what seems to be pixie dust. Along with that, the ball of light draws the line over the castle much slower than the 4th logo.
- At the beginning of Toy Story (Until the 2009 3D re-release), once the ball of light finishes drawing the line over the castle, it zooms out and fades to the wallpaper at Andy's room, where the film starts.
- At the end of the films, as well as the beginning and end of Cars, the logo stays on-screen for several seconds longer after the line has been drawn over the castle.
FX/SFX: Very nice CGI from Pixar!
Music/Sounds: A bombastic/majestic fanfare composed by Randy Newman. The Pixar films directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles and Ratatouille), as well as Monsters, Inc., have that film's respective cue music. At the end of the film, we only hear flapping flags and the sound of pixie dust as the ball of light draws the line over the castle.
- On Toy Story, We hear what sounds like a more bombastic version of the fanfare with trombones and tubas added, and once the line is finished being drawn over the castle by the ball of light, only the rest of the notes to the third to last note of the fanfare play. The last two notes are played by a trumpet.
- At the beginning of Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles and Ratatouille, the opening theme starts over.
- On Cars, the fanfare was re-orchestrated to put a little more of the logo in at the same duration of the logo's closing re-appearance.
- At the end of A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc. and the first theatrical release of Toy Story 2, the last part of the closing credits song play throughout, the song carries to the Pixar Animation Studios logo.
Availability: Fairly common. Seen on all Disney/Pixar productions from Toy Story to Ratatouille. The Blu-ray and 3-D re-releases of these films (such as the first two Toy Story films, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo) have this plastered with the 8th logo. The same goes with later airings of the first two Toy Story films on Freeform. Although, later airings of Finding Nemo on Freeform delete the opening logo, but the closing logo retained at the end.
Scare Factor: None. This is a great logo, and is well liked by fans of Pixar films.
(May 19, 2000-April 14, 2006)
Nicknames: "Metallic Orange Disney Castle", "The Flashlight", "Disney Castle III"
Logo: On a black background, we see the orange text "WALT DiSNEY PICTURES" wiping in from left to right. Then we see an orange light shining on the logo,illuminating it with a trail effect that rises from the top of the letters "E" and "Y" in "DiSNEY", making its way around to reveal the castle in metallic orange. The entire logo wipes away as soon as the light trail effect illuminates away.
- On trailers, the logo appears to be in a bronze-like color.
- The closing variation of this logo is complete and still.
FX/SFX: The text wiping in, the light effect, the logo wiping out. The effects used are rather unique for their time.
Music/Sounds: None, at many times.
- Sometimes, it has the opening theme playing over.
- At the beginning of Holes, the logo begins silent, but when the light starts shiining on the arc, the sound of a fire being lit is heard. After that the quiet, music-less main song starts playing that goes over the 2003 Weldin Media logo. At the end of that film, it is silent on the still logo.
Availability: Seen on live action films such as 102 Dalmatians, Holes, Glory Road, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Disney's The Kid. Also on the CGI film Dinosaur (which was the first film to use this logo), the traditionally-animated Brother Bear, The Wild (whose beginning was this logo's final appearance), and the 2002 IMAX re-release of The Lion King. It was also seen at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, despite the fact that there were no opening logos at the beginning.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
(July 7, 2006-)
Nicknames: "CGI Magic Kingdom", "The Ultra Majestic Cinderella Castle"
Logo: We fade into a view of a night sky, with a star somewhere on the screen and the clouds on the bottom. We then start flying down through the clouds with the camera. We then pan with the camera down to a very clear view of a river, with a boat sailing in it, a train running down the railroad track on the viaduct, and several buildings nearby. We then fly with the camera past a flag with the Disney coat of arms, and pan down as we see some fireworks going off, only to find the castle completely redone in CGI. The fireworks are almost finished when we almost reach a comfortable position in front of the castle. When the fireworks finish, a very small glowing pinpoint appears way closer to the castle and then moves to the right side. The dot then draws a line over the castle as we are slightly panning, and it is almost finished when we are in a comfortable position in front of the castle. When the dot is finished drawing the line, several magic sparkles appearing in front of the main gate of the castle, forming "WALT DiSNEY", in its well-known script, When it does, "P I C T U R E S", fades in below the script as the sparkles and the line slowly fade away.
- A closing variant which starts off with the line being drawn over the castle by the dot is seen at the end of many films.
- On some features and mainly on 3D releases (Debuted on the 3D re-release of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas), the "WALT DiSNEY" (or, in later years, "DiSNEY") text zooms in as it fades in and stops at the usual place.
- One variation only shows the word "DiSNEY" in its well-known script. This is used on newer films from the studio, starting with The Muppets, released on November 23, 2011. This would later replace the previous standard variant (which featured the entire company name "WALT DiSNEY PICTURES"), as newer films from the studio used this variant of the logo or featured variations of it. This change was made to fit into mobile phones and other devices similar to the iPod.
- Another variant is where the text is there while the curved line is drawn.
FX/SFX: CGI animation done by Weta Digital in New Zealand.
Music/Sounds: An orchestration of "When You Wish Upon a Star" composed by Mark Mancina, completely different from the 4th logo. Also, firecracker sound effects are heard when the fireworks go off.
- On many features, it has the opening theme playing over it, sometimes with different sounds.
- The post-November 2011 version is subtly different, with louder and clearer sound effects.
- At the end of the Cine-Explore version of Finding Nemo on the 2012 Blu-Ray of the said film, the flags are fluttering in the Stereoscopic 3D credits, and the sound of the arc drawing is heard. This plasters the existing closing logo, due to the commentary.
- On the 2010 Blu-Ray/DVD commentary of Toy Story 2, the normal music is heard, but when the commentary starts the music transformed into the movie's logo music.
- The closing variant is silent on some films, while on other films the sound of fairy dust is heard over the closing variant.
- At the end of Finding Dory, the first half of the closing stinger plays over it (Oddly for the closing logo), the music carries to the Pixar Animation Studios logo.
- At the end of Moana, the last of the closing stinger (Which is carried from the Walt Disney Animation Studios in-credit and shortened logos) plays over it (Oddly for the closing logo).
Availability: Common. It was first seen on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (although on a trailer for the movie, the previous logo is shown instead). Current on recent Disney films and newer DTV titles. It also can be seen on Pixar productions starting with WALL-E. This also plasters over the 4th and 6th logos on re-releases of Disney animated classics and some remastered prints of Disney movies. The normal version initially made its final appearance on the DTV feature Treasure Buddies, released on January 31, 2012, though it later made a surprise appearance at the end of the theatrical release of The Lone Ranger, released on July 3, 2013 (through its variation; Home Media releases uses "DiSNEY" instead). It even appears at the beginning of the American release of The BFG (2016), but the closing logo doesn't expect to apear at the end. The logo does not appear on any media that they merely distributed such as the films from Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm Ltd.
Scare Factor: None.
Here is some information about the copyright stamps on the Disney films:
- 1930-1931: Copyright © by Walter E. Disney
- 1931-1940: Copyright © by Walt Disney Productions, Ltd.
- 1940-September 17, 1985: Copyright © by Walt Disney Productions
- July 2, 1986-March 8, 1996: Copyright © by The Walt Disney Company
- April 12, 1996-present: Copyright © by Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- November 25, 1998-present: Copyright © by Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios (on Pixar films).