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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Brotherly Disagreement

Roy Disney was ecstatic. He'd had his doubts about this so-called 'Disneyland' but he had gone along with it because he always looked after his kid brother. It turned out that his brother was right- DISNEYLAND was a huge success.

Thousands of guests were streaming through the gates every day. Over a million in just a few weeks. The world was making its way to see what Walt had built and Roy was seeing dollar signs. Before, the company had lived film to film, eagerly anticipating a film's box office receipts in order to pay for the next one. Roy saw a rosy future with the company finally reaching the stability he long sought.

Guests were arriving in larger numbers than expected and spending more than estimated. Roy figured he'd pay off the park's loans quickly and be banking huge sums of money. His brother Walt had a different plan.

One of the reasons why Walt had accepted some of the lesser theming in certain areas of the park was because he knew that he could eventually improve them in ways both small and large. Initially, Roy budgeted for these improvements. He knew the park would need more shade and guest amenities as demonstrated by the madness of opening day. But surely after these improvements were made, the company could coast on its success. Walt had bigger plans. He believed that the initial investment to get the park open would be a drop in the bucket compared to what needed to come next- constant and consistent expansion and improvements. This, he believed, would be the key to DISNEYLAND's continued success.

With the money rolling in now and Walt fixated on fixing the obvious guest services shortfalls, Roy was content to write smaller checks for now. Besides, sponsors with big pockets who had practically slammed their doors in the Disneys faces before were lining up to become a part of this sensation. It would be awhile before the brothers began butting heads over Walt's spending.