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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Life of Walt Disney: PART ONE


Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5th, 1901 to Elias and Flora Disney. He joined a family that already had three boys- Herbert, Ray and Roy. Elias himself was  born in Canada to an Irish family. Kepple Disney, Elias’ father, had an entrepreneurial spirit that he passed down to his son, despite the fact that he was rarely successful. (Another trait that he had unfortunately passed down to Elias as well.) After several attempts at striking gold in California, and helping his father run a Kansas citrus farm, Elias Struck out on his own, working for the railroad and playing the fiddle. These ventures ended in failure, so Elias moved back in with his father before venturing to Florida to deliver mail in Kissimmee, a stone’s throw away from where the massive Walt Disney World resort operates today. It was here that he would meet and marry Flora Call. 


Elias would make a short attempt at citrus farming in Florida before moving up north to Chicago to work on the construction of the Chicago World’s Fair. By all accounts his job, though temporary, was lucrative. The Disneys attended church at St. Paul Congregational Church where Elias became good friends with the pastor, Walter Parr. When both Flora and Mrs. Parr became pregnant, the two men made a fateful bet- if either wife had a son, the son would be named after the other man. They both had sons- one was named Elias Parr and the other Walt Disney. Mr. Parr would never see how successful his namesake would become; he died a year before Walt Disney arrived in Hollywood.



Walt Disney was born in the house his parents rented on 1249 Tripp Avenue in Chicago. It was believed that his mother most likely was hoping for a daughter, which explains why she dressed young Walt in frilly clothing. She would need to wait two years for her daughter- Ruth- to complete her family. That Mrs. Disney stopped having children after Ruth would tend to lend credence to this theory.


The Disney family wouldn’t stay in Chicago for long. Elias’ job prospects were dwindling and he became fearful of rising crime in the city. Elias purchased a farm and moved his family to a place he deemed to be safer than Chicago- Marceline, MO. Walt Disney would later say that his time 
in Marceline had a profound impact on his future life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Happy 110th Birthday, Ruthie Tompson!




Disney Legend Ruthie Tompson is celebrating her 110th Birthday today! Ruthie lived down the street from Walt Disney’s uncle and was hired by Roy Disney to Star as an extra in the Alice Comedies. After Ruthie grew up, she took a job at the Disney Studios, where she worked for over forty years. She workeon classic films like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Sleeping Beauty.


Happy Birthday, Ruthie! Thank you for sharing your talents with the world!


Did You Know? Disney Afternoon Avenue



Monday, July 20, 2020

The Life of Walt Disney: The Foreword




Before we begin this journey into the life of Walt Disney, I thought it was important to begin by describing my history as a fan of Mr. Disney and his creations. While I will attempt to be somewhat objective, it is important to note that I’m not completely impartial when it comes to this topic. Having written two in-depth, much longer than they had to be reports on Mr. Disney even before I had gotten to high school, it is quite obvious that I am a huge fan of his and the worlds he created and inspired. 



While I’m not old enough to have been a charter member of the Mickey Mouse Club, I eagerly joined it at a very young age, even before I knew who Walt Disney was. It has been pointed out to me that as a young child, if I was offered a choice of an object that had Mickey Mouse on it or some other character, I always chose Mickey Mouse. From the moment I stepped foot in DISNEYLAND, I instantly fell in love with the place and constantly dreamed of returning. When I discovered that I was born on the same day of the year as Walt Disney, I was ecstatic. Not many people can say that they shared a birthday with their hero.


While I had originally been attracted to Mr. Disney’s amazing creations, I eventually began to appreciate his story. How had a little boy who had been discouraged from being creative and having fanciful dreams by his father built a creative business that has made him a household name around the world? With all of the things that went wrong with his first few businesses, how did he stay positive enough to eventually become more successful than maybe he had even imagined? While we might not ever know the answers to those questions, taking a look at his life might provide a few clues.


So it is with excitement (and the above disclaimers) that I begin this look into the life of Walt Disney. 






Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Life of Walt Disney: Beginning Tomorrow!




With our associated site - Hooray For Hollywood at http://www.louisbmayer.com - starting a deep dive series about Hollywood moguls, we came to the realization that we’ve never done a similar series about the man who started it all- Walt Disney. So we’re rectifying this situation beginning tomorrow- when we introduce our new series The Life of Walt Disney!

Friday, July 17, 2020

DISNEYLAND! A Magical Kingdom, Part Three




The pictorial souvenir that my parents bought me after our first visit to the Magic Kingdom became one of my most prized possessions. I read and re-read it; re-living my time in DISNEYLAND, learning about its famous creator and dreaming of my eventual return. Most of all, however, I wanted to know more about Walt Disney and why he had built his Magic Kingdom in the first place.


Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned that Walt Disney was born on December 5th, which happened to be my birthday too. While I was already interested enough in the world of Walt Disney to read several books about him and DISNEYLAND before I discovered that we shared a birthday, that fact probably made me an even bigger fan. What I eventually learned about the development of DISNEYLAND made me love the place even more.


As many people have said, deep down DISNEYLAND was built by a father for his daughters. It was a deeply personal project where Walt Disney was assembling some of his favorite things from around the world in one place. Even as a wide-eyed seven year old, I could feel the love and care that had gone into building and designing this labor of love. Whenever I walk under the tunnel and into Walt Disney’s one and only Magic Kingdom, that amazing feeling that I felt on my first visit returns. It’s a feeling that I’ve never gotten anywhere else. 



When DISNEYLAND recently closed due to COVID-19, video of the park’s special closing ceremony was widely shared on the Internet. I’ll admit that I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. I can’t imagine a world without DISNEYLAND and the thought of it closing, even temporarily, is too depressing to think about. But the greatest thing about Walt Disney is that he always had an optimistic outlook on life- and so should we. DISNEYLAND is a dream that never ends- a Magic Kingdom that’s always just a dream away!











DISNEYLAND- The Happiest Place on Earth!



"In 1955, an amazing man named Walt Disney dreamt of a Magic Kingdom..."

-Julie Andrews




"Just imagine- if you were standing right here over 60 years ago, you'd be standing in the middle of an orange grove. One visionary man stood right where you are now, but instead of orange trees, he envisioned a Magic Kingdom. This man's name was Walt Disney. And his dream would be called DISNEYLAND."





“Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, ‘Isn’t it a shame that Walt Disney couldn’t be here to see this?’ and I said, 'He did see this, that’s why it’s here.'"

-Art Linkletter





“DISNEYLAND proved to me that if you’ve got enough guts and intelligence and drive you can accomplish anything.”

-Marvin Davis





"I grew up with DISNEYLAND. I can't imagine my world without it. Walt put it best when he said 'DISNEYLAND is a work of love'. And like all happy endings, it will be ours to treasure forever more."


-Neil Patrick Harris







"Walt Disney’s secret was to do things you don’t need, and do them well. And then you realize you needed them all along.”

-Ray Bradbury





"I think that it really explains a lot about Walt. He was a caring man. He cared about people which explains why DISNEYLAND is still a happy place and it will be a happy place for years and years and years to come."

-John Hench




“The greatest thing about DISNEYLAND is that its magic stays with you forever.”

-Ralph Castaneda






"I think what I want DISNEYLAND to be most of all is a happy place–a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it."

"DISNEYLAND is something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing- and adding to."

"DISNEYLAND will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."

"We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together."

"Anything is possible at DISNEYLAND!"

-Walt Disney





"Today, Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom has grown to become the happiest place on earth to millions the world over. A place where anything is possible. Where every dreamer may wish upon a star."

-Julie Andrews


While DISNEYLAND began life as the dream of one man, it quickly grew to become the dream of millions of people around the world. Walt Disney knew that DISNEYLAND would outlive him, and he made sure that it would still retain his positivity and his pursuit of perfection decades after his death. Before Mr. Disney, nobody knew what a theme park was. Now we can't imagine a world without it.

Happy Birthday, DISNEYLAND and thank you Mr. Disney.

The Story of DISNEYLAND





For DISNEYLAND’s 60th Anniversary, we had an in-depth look at the park’s development, construction, success and legacy. The multi-part series is still relevant, even today. You can read it all at this link:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

DISNEYLAND! A Magical Kingdom, Part Two


It was a moment I’ll never forget- my first walk into DISNEYLAND. We had already visited Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios on our trip; my mom would later tell me that was on purpose. After all, anything we’d see after DISNEYLAND would be a big letdown. We were staying at a Disney-owned but not branded motel on the periphery of the parking lot. I still recall that fateful day when we were finally going to see what all the fuss was about. As we held hands and we walked through the parking lot, I could see the train station in the distance. I couldn’t believe that we were finally there!


We entered through the right side tunnel. As stared in awe at Main Street- everything seemed so big and colorful! This being our first visit to the Magic Kingdom, we stuck to the sidewalk before turning the corner- and there it was- Sleeping Beauty Castle! I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful building I’d ever seen in my short life. I instantly fell in love with DISNEYLAND. It was everything I expected and so much more; my dreams and wishes come to life. I decided then and there that I would learn all that I could about this amazing place and the man who dreamed it up.








DISNEYLAND is 65!





Monday, July 13, 2020

DISNEYLAND! A Magical Kingdom, Part One


I seriously can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about Mickey Mouse. He was one of my earliest friends- in plush form- and has always had a place in my heart. Through Disney movies and television shows, I became a fan of the company’s films and characters, long before I even knew much about Walt Disney or DISNEYLAND. What I did know about DISNEYLAND seemed to be too good to be true. Could an amazing place like DISNEYLAND, built solely for entertainment purposes, actually exist? It seemed like something adults would make up to placate children. Regardless of whether it actually existed, it certainly wasn’t somewhere I’d ever be able to visit, right?


As I would quickly discover- DISNEYLAND was real, DISNEYLAND was magical, and DISNEYLAND was a place that my parents planned to take my sister and me. Would it be everything I imagined it would be? I would find out soon!