Walt Disney Records is an American record label of the Disney Music Group. The label releases soundtrack albums from The Walt Disney Company's motion picture studios, television series, theme parks, and traditional studio albums produced by its roster of pop, teen pop, and country artists.[2]

Walt Disney Records
Parent companyDisney Music Group
FoundedFebruary 4, 1956; 68 years ago (1956-02-04) (as Disneyland Records)
Distributor(s)Universal Music Group


BMG Australia/Sony Music Entertainment Australia (1990-1997-Australia only)

Warner Music Group (1990-2000s)

[1] (global albums)
GenreVarious, predominantly Pop and Soundtrack
Country of originUnited States
Location500 S. Buena Vista Street,
Burbank, California
Official websitemusic.disney.com

The label was founded on February 4, 1956 as Disneyland Records. Before that time, Disney recordings were licensed to a variety of other labels such as RCA, Decca, Capitol, ABC-Paramount, and United Artists. It was Disney Legend Jimmy Johnson who convinced Walt Disney’s brother Roy O. Disney that Walt Disney Productions (now The Walt Disney Company) should form their own record label.[3] It adopted its current name in 1988 and is currently distributed by Universal Music Group for physical releases outside of North America and digital releases globally.



Disneyland Records was predicated by non-soundtrack audio material based on Davy Crockett miniseries from the Disneyland anthology television series, along with the song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," both featuring series star Fess Parker. These were licensed to Columbia Records, but the smaller Cadence Records label released the more successful "Ballad of Davy Crockett" sung by Bill Hayes faster, and this was the record that topped the charts instead. The following year, Disney saw profits for Mickey Mouse Club records in the millions being shared with Golden Records and ABC Records, finally convincing Roy to allow Johnson to start the in-house Disneyland Records.[4]

Disneyland Records

Disneyland Records logo

The label was founded as Disneyland Records on February 4, 1956, with Jimmy Johnson as president, serving as the record unit of Walt Disney Productions. Johnson brought in musician Tutti Camarata to head the Artists and Repertoire department of this new enterprise. One ten-inch LP with the "Disneyland" imprint had been released a few months earlier, a musical version of A Child's Garden of Verses, but it was distributed by the Charles Hansen music publishing company. The first album produced, marketed and distributed by the label was Walt Disney Takes You to Disneyland, the only album Walt had ever recorded especially for his own record company.[5] Also in the first year, seven Disney animated movie soundtracks were issued by the label.[6]

Disneyland Records issued Parker's "Wringle Wrangle" single from the Westward Ho the Wagons! film within a year of starting operations; the single became a hit. This led the company to start recording music from outside the films. However, what ever was released by the company the industry categorized as children. Pricing was directed towards an adult audience, which was more than standard children fare. The only outside success was Camarata’s album "Tutti's Trumpets". Thus in 1959, the Disneyland label became the soundtrack and children's label and Buena Vista label for the occasional pop song record.[6]

Camarata established the label's initial forays into long-form musical albums, which included jazz interpretations of Disney standards from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, and Cinderella, as well as original musical concept albums, and he expanded the format of soundtracks by including selections from the score as well as the songs.[7] Tutti's connections within the music industry also brought to the label the likes of Mary Martin, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima and Phil Harris. After popular Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello, sang a song called "How Will I Know My Love" on the Mickey Mouse Club TV series, fans contacted the studio for the record, which became a minor hit. This prompted Camarata, Johnson and Walt Disney to encourage Annette's career as the label's first artist in residence. In 1959, the Buena Vista Records label was formed for Funicello's select recordings, soundtrack albums and other contemporary audiophile music.[8]

While looking for the right material for Annette, Tutti and his team discovered the songwriting duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman after hearing one of their songs on the radio. The two were brought to the Disney studio in Burbank where they eventually became the first staff songwriters for the company.With the participation of the Sherman brothers and two technicians at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, Camarata developed his renowned "Annette Sound," a specific type of double/reverb recording to strengthen Annette's voice that became an industry standard. The Shermans penned not only a good deal of Annette's songs, but were also responsible for most of the iconic Disney songs of the 1960s and beyond – “It's a Small World” and “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” for the theme parks, as well as the songs from Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

In 1960, Camarata left the staff but under Roy O. Disney's suggestion, established his own full-service recording studio where most of Disney and Buena Vista's records were recorded, mixed, engineered, cut and mastered, the Los Angeles landmark, Sunset Sound. In effect he was associated with Disney until the early seventies. Disneyland Records started its read-along series in 1965 with singer/actor Robie Lester appearing on more titles than any other in the history of the label.[9]

Disneyland/Vista Records


In 1971, Disneyland Records was renamed Disneyland/Vista Records. Also, A Child's Garden of Verses was still in their line.[6] Disneyland/Vista worked with Rankin/Bass to release six recordings tied to The Hobbit 1977 animated film. Rankin/Bass also had Disneyland/Vista release soundtracks for two of their earlier holiday specials, Frosty's Winter Wonderland and ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.[10][11]

The company was so successful with its Mickey Mouse Disco album that Disneyland looked to expand again into pop music by October 1980. Its success also lead to the issuance of animated theatrical shorts based on songs from the album. Two such original productions were "That Waddlin' Crazy Guy" and "Pardners" featuring the comedy singing team of Willio and Phillio (Will Ryan and Phil Baron).[12]

Disneyland/Vista Records and Tapes


In 1985, the label was renamed Disneyland/Vista Records and Tapes.[13]

Around 1987, the label began releasing their albums on CD. Some of the first albums that the label released on CD were The Disney Collection series.[14]

Walt Disney Records


In 1988, Disneyland/Vista Records and Tapes was renamed Disney Records then Walt Disney Records.

Around 1990, Walt Disney Records signed several youth targeted acts like Parachute Express and Norman Foote. Disney let these acts go after several years as their mandate was changed to support the animated features, produce book and tape packages and compilations to take advantage of the catalog.[15]

In May 2000, Walt Disney Records signed the label's first teen singer, Myra; her first single with the label, "Magic Carpet Ride", was released on May 23, 2000 as part of the La Vida Mickey album.[16]

On June 24, 2014, Walt Disney Records launched a series entitled The Legacy Collection. The series includes original soundtracks, as well as unreleased music, and composer and producer liner notes. As of 2022, the collection includes 16 albums ranging between various anniversaries of various Disney films and Disneyland.[17]

With Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm on December 21, 2012, Walt Disney Records became the official record label for the studio and all Star Wars-related soundtracks, beginning with The Force Awakens soundtrack on December 18, 2015. In January 2017, Disney acquired the distribution rights to the entire Star Wars music catalog from Sony Classical; the soundtrack albums from the first six films were then released by Walt Disney Records in digital formats the same day.[18][19] Disney reissued the digitally remastered original Star Wars soundtrack albums in physical formats on May 4, 2018.[20]


Notable soundtracks and scores
Album series

See also



  1. ^ "Universal Music Group (UMG) & Disney Music Group (DMG) Expand Agreement Globally," PR Newswire, March 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Hollis, Tim (2006). Mouse tracks : the story of Walt Disney Records. Greg Ehrbar (1st ed.). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-848-7. OCLC 61309354.
  3. ^ Johnson, Jimmy (2014). Inside the whimsy works my life with Walt Disney Productions. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-61703-930-0. OCLC 1228606843.
  4. ^ Johnson, Jimmy (2014). Greg Ehrbar; Didier Ghez (eds.). Inside the whimsy works : my life with Walt Disney Productions. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-61703-932-4. OCLC 855264296.
  5. ^ "Walt's Very First Disney Records |". Cartoon Research. Retrieved 2022-08-17.
  6. ^ a b c Johnson, Jimmy (March 27, 1971). "The Disneyland Records Story". Billboard. p. D-2. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Happy 105th Birthday, Disney Legend Tutti Camarata! |". Cartoon Research. Retrieved 2022-08-17.
  8. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. March 16, 1959. p. 26. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  9. ^ "Saluting Disney's Record Setting Story Reader, Robie Lester". Cartoon Research. Retrieved 2022-08-17.
  10. ^ Ehrbar, Greg (December 17, 2013). ""The Hobbit" on Disneyland Records". Cartoon Research. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  11. ^ Culhan, John. Will the Video Version of Tolkien Be Hobbit Forming? The New York Times, Nov 27, 1977.
  12. ^ Sippel, John (October 25, 1980). "Disneyland Label going into Pop". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  13. ^ "Disneyland/Vista Records & Tapes". Discogs. Retrieved 2023-06-19.
  14. ^ "Various – The Disney Collection: Volume One". Discogs. 1987. Retrieved 2023-06-19.
  15. ^ McCormick, Moira (June 24, 2000). "Disney's 1st Teen Signing, Myra, Is Aimed At An Older audience". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "Disney Signs First Teen Pop Act Myra". MTV News. May 19, 2000. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Grisham, Lori (May 7, 2014). "Walt Disney Records to release legacy collection". USA Today. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  18. ^ "Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Jordan Fisher, Auli'i Cravalho, and Oscar®-Winning Composer Michael Giacchino to Meet Fans at the Disney Music Emporium During D23 Expo 2017, July 14–16" (Press release). PR Newswire. Burbank, California. May 23, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  19. ^ "Star Wars: A New Hope (original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 3-LP Vinyl Album Boxed Set Of Composer John Williams' Oscar®-Winning Score To Be Released On December 1" (Press release). PR Newswire. November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  20. ^ "Disney Music Group Set To Release First 6 Remastered Star Wars Original Motion Picture Soundtracks On May 4". Burbank, California: Walt Disney Records. PR Newswire. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Armin van Buuren, Avicii tapped for Disney remix album". Los Angeles Times. March 12, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2017.