Shareholders can consider this an early holiday gift: Disney declared an annual dividend of 60 cents a share — 20 cents more than it paid last year. The cash will go out on January 18 to shareholders of record as of December 16. The company says this is the 56th consecutive year of dividend payments to shareholders. CEO Bob Iger says the payout follows “a great creative, strategic and financial year in fiscal 2011 with record revenue, net income and earnings per share.” He adds that the dividend won’t interfere with the company’s ability to “invest for future growth.” Yesterday it filed two bond offers to raise $1.6B. In addition to the dividend announcement, Disney said that it will hold its annual shareholders’ meeting on March 13 in Kansas City, Mo.