Walt Disney was a dreamer.
The difference to many is he set out to make his dreams come true.
And we in turn can enjoy many of them on the silver screen, in books, comics and theme parks around the world.
As a young boy, Walt Disney already loved to draw.
He got his first job as an illustrator drawing the neighborhood doctors horse.
He was determined to improve, practicing before school and after work every day.
Walt often went out to the railroad to draw the trains. This passion would later be reflected in Disney’s theme Parks
During World War One he joined the Red Cross he continued doing illustrations for a military newspaper and also made pictures on the side of the ambulance he drove.
When he returned he worked for several different companies simultaneously in the beginning.
He would draw comics, do writing assignments, and started studying animation together with his friend, Ub Iwerks, another legend.
Ub Iwerks Biography without whom Disney wouldn’t have been possible
In July of 1923 he made the move to Hollywood. There he got a start by selling a cartoon titled Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
With his brother, Roy, he started the Disney Brothers Studio to produce the films that had been contracted by Charles Mintz.
They hired Lillian Bounds an ink artist, she and Walt later married.
The Disney Studio continued to produce the Alice in Wonderland cartoons even though Walt had grown tired of the series.
The tensions between him and Charles Mintz caused him to lose one of his earliest characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
This defeat instilled in Walt an even bigger inspiration.
In that same year he created a character that is known worldwide Mickey Mouse.
As Walt himself put it, “…it all started with a mouse.”
And did it start. For decades following Mickey Mouse’s creation there were dozens of iconic characters in multiple shorts and later full length feature films.
Walt mentioned, “If you can dream it you can do it.”
More and more characters came out, several of the iconic Disney characters even helping raise money in World War II.
In 1950, Walt would have another grand idea.
People were passionate about his films and curious about visiting his studio. However, there wasn’t room in the studio so he began to consider creating a theme park.
He wanted it to be different. Theme parks at the time were often more like carnivals, impermanent, dirty, and not always a place for parents and children. He decided to purchase property in a California Orange Grove.
It was far from the studios so he created a new arm of his company, the now famous Disney Imagineering.
To fund the development he started a series of shows on ABC, a new network and today a Disney Company.
Walt’s passion for American history would come to life on Main Street, U.S.A..
Disneyland opened on Sunday, July 17, 1955. Over 200,000 people showed up.
And this even though it was an invitation only event!
His fans were creative too.
People had fabricated tickets, and many climbed over the fence.
There were twenty attractions. One of Walt’s favorites was the narrow gauge railroad linking all of the lands together.
By the end of the year, Disneyland had received over 3 million visitors.
Walt began expanding even beyond films, TV, and theme parks.
He created one of the first 360 Degree Movies during a 1959 Exhibition in Russia.
Walt was also a conservationist. He cared about animals and nature. He created several documentary films, the while not always accurate, inspired a generation of young people to look more closely at nature and science.
It’s a Small World debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
He announced plans for a Disney World in Florida. He tagged the idea, “the Florida Project”.
Disney World could be a much more elaborate version of Disneyland. Walt Disney had originally envisioned it to be a city, a self sustaining community of the future.
Sadly, Walt would not get to see Disney World come to light. He passed away in December of that year.
Walt was an inspiration to many creatives the world over. His Walt Disney Company gave opportunities to generations of entertainers and artists. The Parks, see millions of visitors every year. His company that started with nothing more than an idea and a love of drawing has become a juggernaut in the film industry and has touched the lives of millions of people all around the world. To quote Walt himself, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
Steamboat Willie on Disney’s Youtube Channel
Walt Disney’s original 1923 Alice in Wonderland
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Full Walt Disney Life Story on InspirationX
Video source Youtube