Florida Guide > Disney General
WALT DISNEY, PART 1 The Early Years
'You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. '
I wonder if you can guess who said that? Well, it was Walt Disney, of course, the man who created Mickey Mouse, and whose vision and imagination made Orlando what it is today, the most amazing and exciting holiday destination for families and children of all ages. This legend of the 20th century still touches the lives of millions of people all over the world. He has brought happiness, love, and a touch of magic to people of every nation, and it is impossible to stand and watch the amazing firework display at Epcot without feeling a link to this wonderful man. He is an inspiration, and his dream still lives on.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained. ”
Walt Disney was a pioneer, a man of vision and optimism, who transformed the film industry. But he was also an educationalist, who wanted to bring knowledge and understanding to all children, but who recognised that if he could entertain them at the same time then they would learn more.
“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained. Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood. ”
He was born Walter Elias Disney, on December 5th, 1901. His father was an Irish Canadian called Elias Disney, and his mother, Flora, was of German-American descent. The name, Disney, came from the region in France that his relatives originated from – D’Isigny – and dates back to the 11th century. He had three brothers and one sister, and spent most of his childhood in Missouri. Even as a small child he was quite artistic, and at the tender age of seven he sold sketches and drawings to his neighbours. Unfortunately he often spent his time doodling or drawing pictures of animals instead of doing his school work.
His interest in drawing and photography continued when he attended High School in Chicago, where he illustrated for the school newspaper. At the Academy of Fine Arts, which he attended at night, he studied to improve his drawing skills. It was here, in Marceline, that he first discovered the movie theatre. During his childhood and youth he developed a great love and appreciation of wildlife and nature, as well as family and community. His talent for drawing continued when he moved with his family to Kansas City, and he began to take up acting at school.
Despite being only 16, Walt attempted to enlist late in 1918, but when he was rejected he joined the Red Cross and was sent overseas to France. He drove an ambulance and acted as chauffeur to Red Cross officials during this year, and his ambulance was covered with Disney cartoons. Following the war, he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in commercial art, and he began to produce short animated films for local businesses in Kansas City. His company, Laugh-O-Grams, unfortunately went bankrupt, but at the age of 22 he packed his suitcase and went to Hollywood, in the hope of being able to start a new business.
So it was that Walter Elias Disney set forth on a great adventure which was to see the creation of the most famous cartoon character in the world, Mickey Mouse, the production of the first full length colour animated films in the world, and the first theme park in the world. He said,
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. ”
Walter Elias Disney certainly had a dream, and without him the world would be a less happy place, and the world’s most popular theme parks would never have existed. He must have been an amazing man to have had such a vision, and the energy and ability to see it come true.
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