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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Walt Disney Birthday Week: Happy Birthday, Walt Disney!

“One of the things that I’ve learned from Walt that I use in my everyday work and life is that nothing is impossible. The quote of his that I love the best is, ‘Actually, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’ I try to remind myself and others of this every day.”

-Ralph Castaneda

One of the things that I’m often asked is why I admire Walt Disney so much. Is it because I was also born on December 5th? Could it be because I enjoyed his films as a child? Maybe I associate DISNEYLAND with a lot of great memories? While many of these things are true, I didn’t find out about his birthdate until I was already interested enough in his life to read an extensive biography about him. Though I do associate his many creations with happy times, my affinity for Mr. Disney is based on much more than just these elements; Mr. Disney is a hero of mine because of how he dreamed big and made many of his dreams come true. 

When his first business venture failed, he could have easily given up and taken a job at one of his father’s businesses. But he took a fateful trip out to California to follow his dreams and rebuild his life. 

When Universal Studios took Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from him, he didn’t despair for long- he dreamed up a new character who became more popular than Oswald ever was- Mickey Mouse!

When he dreamed of making an animated feature film unlike any ever seen, they called it “Disney’s Folly”. But that film- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a huge success and still beloved by children around the world.

When he wanted to build a theme park that would look like nothing else in the world, everyone in Hollywood thought it would ruin him, mocking it as another “Disney’s Folly”. His Magic Kingdom- DISNEYLAND- was an instant success, still welcoming guests from around the world over 60 years later.

Walt Disney’s ability to do what was considered to be impossible is just part of what made him a great person. His boundless optimism is something to be admired. He truly felt that earth’s problems could be resolved by research and innovation. Pollution, waste, hunger, disease and other societal ills could be eliminated with advancements in technology. A great, big beautiful tomorrow awaited us; if we chose to continue the March of progress. Thus Walt Disney was always ahead of his time- and he sought to do his best to make the world of Tomorrow happen today.

Mere words cannot convey Mr. Disney’s continuing influence on the world. On his birthday, millions of people will visit the theme park he built and the parks he inspired. They’ll watch a Disney film or television program. They will enjoy Disney music or experience something he created or inspired. His dreams live on. His stories continue. His influence will never end. Happy Birthday, Mr. Disney!