“He had passed beyond the afflictions of this world. Walt Disney had at last attained perfection.”
― Neal Gabler, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
Walter Elias Disney was an innovator in the field of animation and attained fame for his ability to entertain both children and adults with his cartoons and films.
Disney was born December 5, 1901 in Chicago. During his childhood, he became interested in drawing, and by high school, he was the cartoonist for his school’s newspaper.
In 1923, Walt and his brother moved to Hollywood and started an animation company.
Over the next few years, Disney achieved success in the animation business and created such famous characters as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Over the next several decades, Disney produced successful cartoon series’ and feature films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Bambi.
In addition to his films and many cartoon series, Disney began working on an amusement park, and Disneyland opened in California in 1955.
Walt Disney died in 1966 at the age of 65, but even after his death, his genius continued. Disneyworld opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971, and Disney Studios has continued to produce films loved by both children and adults.
“Laughter is America’s most important export.”
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
“The era we are living in today is a dream of coming true.”
“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy.”
“A man should never neglect his family for business.”
“The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be.”
“Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.”
“Fantasy and reality often overlap.”
“The important thing is the family. If you can keep the family together — and that’s the backbone of our whole business, catering to families — that’s what we hope to do.”
“There’s nothing funnier than the human animal.”
“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.”
“You reach a point where you don’t work for money.”
“You can’t just let nature run wild.”
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
“Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work — then try to trump it.”
“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”
“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.”
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”
“First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.”
“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.”
“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
“All you’ve got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you’ll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.”
“Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk.”
“Never get bored or cynical. Yesterday is a thing of the past.”
“Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk — especially in new undertakings. Courage to initiate something and to keep it going, pioneering and adventurous spirit to blaze new ways, often, in our land of opportunity.”
“People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working.”
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”
“Crowded classrooms and half-day sessions are a tragic waste of our greatest national resource – the minds of our children.”
“Adults are interested if you don’t play down to the little 2 or 3 year olds or talk down. I don’t believe in talking down to children. I don’t believe in talking down to any certain segment. I like to kind of just talk in a general way to the audience. Children are always reaching.”
“Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature.”
“Childishness? I think it’s the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor. I mean, there’s a certain something that you retain. It’s the equivalent of not getting so stuffy that you can’t laugh at others.”
“I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether he be six or sixty. Call the child innocence.”
“I don’t believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn’t treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.”
“I have long felt that the way to keep children out of trouble is to keep them interested in things.”
“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Jones’ do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought – sometimes it isn’t much, either.”
“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”
“Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it.”
“It’s a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.”
“Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”
“Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.”
“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.”
“In our animation we must show only the actions and reactions of a character, but we must picture also with the action. . . the feeling of those characters.”
“I try to build a full personality for each of our cartoon characters – to make them personalities.”
“I think a good study of music would be indispensable to the animators — a realization on their part of how primitive music is, how natural it is for people to want to go to music — a study of rhythm, the dance — the various rhythms enter into our lives every day.”
“I think you have to know these fellows definitely before you can draw them. When you start to caricature a person,you can’t do it without knowing the person. Take Laurel and Hardy for example; everybody can see Laurel doing certain things because they know Laurel.”
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”
“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.”
“When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it’s because he’s so human; and that is the secret of his popularity.”
“Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.”
“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park (Disneyland). I want to feel they’re in another world.”
“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”
“We did it Disneyland, in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster – closed and forgotten within the first year.”
“Disneyland is a show.”
“I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.”
“You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.”
“We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”
“We allow no geniuses around our Studio.”
“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.”
“We have created characters and animated them in the dimension of depth, revealing through them to our perturbed world that the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us.”
“At first the cartoon medium was just a novelty, but it never really began to hit until we had more than tricks… until we developed personalities. We had to get beyond getting a laugh. They may roll in the aisles, but that doesn’t mean you have a great picture. You have pathos in the thing.”
“I take great pride in the artistic development of cartoons. Our characters are made to go through emotions.”
“I wanted to retain my individuality. I was afraid of being hampered by studio policies. I knew if someone else got control, I would be restrained.”
“My greatest reward is that I have been able to build this wonderful organization.”
“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”
“I never called my work an ‘art’. It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.”
“I believe in being a motivator.”
“I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with ‘expressing’ myself with obscure creative impressions.”
“I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.”
“I am corny, you know? But I think there are just about 140 million people in this country who are just as corny as I am.”
“I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator; I have always had men working for me whose skills were greater than my own. I am an idea man.”
“When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artists to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn.”
“I don’t make pictures just to make money. I make money to make more pictures.”
“I have never been interested in personal gain or profit. This business and this studio have been my entire life.”
“Money doesn’t excite me, my ideas excite me.”
“Most of my life I have done what I wanted to do. I have had fun on the job.”
“I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.”
“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”
“I don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.”
“I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.”
“I’d say it’s been my biggest problem all my life… it’s money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true.”
“I have no use for people who throw their weight around as celebrities, or for those who fawn over you just because you are famous.”
“Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”
#1. From 1928 until 1947, Disney himself did the voice of Mickey.
#2. Walt Disney was great friends with Uncle Sam. So much so, that Disney animated war propaganda films and training videos for the US military.
#3. The last film Disney oversaw was The Jungle Book. He passed soon after from lung cancer in 1966.
#4. Disney’s employees had a codename for him. His animators would use the code ‘man is in the forest’ as a warning to get busy when the boss was coming.
#5. Walt Disney measured distance in hot dogs. All trash cans at Disney World were planted 25 steps away from hot dog stands. This is precisely how long it took him to eat one.
#6. The signature is the famous Disney logo is not Walt’s signature. It was not actually written by him, and has no resemblance to his actual signed name.
#7. Disney dropped out of high school at 16 and attempted to enlist in the army. Although he was underage, hence rejected, he became employed with the Red Cross as an ambulance driver.
#8. Walt Disney received more Academy Award and nominations than any other person in history.
These famous Walt Disney quotes capture his desire to make dreams come true. Disney not only provided us with timeless characters, his creations still bring magic to children and adults around the world.
"It’s ok to not be ok…"