The Walt Disney Company and it’s lesser-known connections to Europe

“Disneyland with the Scotts” by trevorgerzen is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

The Walt Disney Company is one of the biggest names in the media industry(Marvel Entertainment 2020), it was voted the 5th most visible company in the United States (Axios and The Harris Poll 2019). The company is one of “The Big 6” media conglomerates of the 21st century (WebFX Team 2019) and has ownership over ABC, ESPN, Touchstone Pictures, Marvel, Lucasfilm, A&E (50% equity holding with Hearst Corporation), The History Channel (50% equity holding with Hearst Corporation), Lifetime (50% equity holding with Hearst Corporation), Pixar, Hollywood Records, Vice Media (10% stake) [and] Core Publishing.” (Max 2019). With its (in)famous reputation and Americanized culture, it is hard to think that this company has any connection to Europe.

As I was researching an idea of another blog post, I stumble upon a page from Disneyland Paris’ website informing it’s potential tourists with information of its connection to Europe (Disneyland Paris News 2018). Here are some of the facts most interesting:

Ancestral Links

Walt Disney had many ancestors within Europe; in fact, the name Disney is the anglicized version of the French name “D’Isigny” (Disneyland Paris News 2018). This is the name of Hughes and Robert D’isgny “two Normand soldiers” who were also father and son and lived in Isigny-sur-Mer, Normandy, France (Disneyland Paris News 2018). It wasn’t until 1834, that this family moved to America with one of these ancestors including “Walt’s Great-Grandfather” Elias Charles Disney (cite x2). One particular point of interest for me as that Walt also has relatives who once lived in Ireland (Disneyland Paris News 2018).

Artistic Influence

Walt seems to have taken a lot of his influence from famous European artists and writers, these include (Disneyland Paris News 2018):

  • Richard Doyle: Doyle is a 19th Century Illustrator, he contributed illustrations for Sleeping Beauty, in “ An Old Fairy Tale Told Anew” by “the Daziel Brothers”. (Disneyland Paris News 2018 and Kosik 2018)
  • Eugène Samuel Grasset: Grasset is a decorative artist who was born in Sweden but worked in Pairs and is considered a pioneer in Art Nouveau design (Disneyland Paris News 2018 and Europeana Collections n.d)
  • Beatrix Potter: Beatrix Potter: Potter is an author and illustrator who is famous for her Peter Rabbit books, she was born in South Kensington and spent her summers between “Scotland” and “the English Lake District”. ( Disneyland Paris News 2018 and Encyclopaedia Britannica 2020)

I hope you enjoyed learning these facts as much as I did. Are there any facts that I have included that you know? If so leave a comment.

As always here are two blog entries I think you might enjoy:

  • But I Digress… Who is the Top 40 of your Lordy, Lordy, Lordy: This is a post by book blog The BookWorm Drinketh where she creates a fake list of what she think our Lord would enjoy. I found this post to be very humourous and was happy to find that it came with a disclaim that it was not meant to be offensive. (The BookWorm Drinketh 2019)
  • Pick up your sword: This is another blog that mixes Disney with faith and Religion, fromasparktoaflame is a blogger, proud mum and fellow Christian. In this post she informs her readers about the importance of learning bible verse even they can be hard to learn than knowing a Disney song “of by heart” (From A Spark to A Flame, 2019)

Reference list

Axios, The Harris Poll (2019) The Axios Harris Poll 100 [online], The Harris Poll, available: /

Disneyland Paris News (2018) Disneyland Paris and France: A Historical Link [online], Disneyland Paris News, available: [accessed 5 Mar 2020].

Doyle, R. (1851) Illustration from Jack and the Giants [online], Wiki Media Commons, available: [accessed 6 Mar 2020].

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ed.) (2020) “Beatrix Potter | British Author | Britannica,” Encyclopædia Britannica, available:

Eugene, G. (1986) Bild von Eugène Grasset Für Den März [online], Davidson Galleries, available: [accessed 6 Mar 2020].

Europeana Collections (2020) Eugène Grasset [online], Europeana Collections, available: [accessed 6 Mar 2020].

Kosik, C. (2018) Richard ‘Dicky’ Doyle – Illustration History [online],, available: [accessed 6 Sep 2019].

Marvel Entertainment, LLC (2020) Company Info [online], Marvel Entertainment, available:

Max, M. (2019) Every Company Disney Owns: A Map of Disney’s Worldwide Assets [online], TitleMax, available:

Potter, B., Levy, P.K. (1896) Beatrix Potter Jounral Entry [online], Flickr, available:

WebFX Team (2019) The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media [INFOGRAPHIC] [online], WebFX Blog, available: [accessed 5 Mar 2020].

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