Uncle Walt and me

by Cin on May 13, 2010

“To all to come to this happy place, welcome.”  – Walt Disney

From the beginning, I recognized him as a kindred spirit.

As a toddler in our tiny house in Redondo Beach I would walk around singing, “M-I-C…See you real soon! K-E-Y…Why? Because we LIKE you!” You like me? Great, because I like you, too!

And I became a believer: in pixie dust and glass slippers and wishing upon a star – the whole enchanted pumpkin.

We share the same birthday which in our house was a big deal. Mom was an amateur astrologer and when you were born meant everything – your personality, talents, and potential were all spelled out in the stars and my stars were aligned with Walt Disney’s! How lucky was that?

He reminds me that even the best ideas are not always met with the support they deserve. When he was working on Snow White, the first full-length animated feature, it was known around Hollywood as “Disney’s Folly” and people were sure it would bankrupt his studio. What adult would pay the price of a movie ticket to sit through a cartoon? And what child could sit still that long? Even his two greatest supporters, his wife Lillian and brother Roy, tried to talk him out of it. He used his imagination and enthusiasm to act out the entire story to his creative team, who then came on board with the idea and ran with it. To finance it, he had to mortgage his house because he couldn’t get financing. If it had failed, that would’ve been it for Walt Disney Productions.

Snow White went on to be one of the most successful films of all time and started a whole new genre of film. It’s easy to look back and say, “Why wouldn’t it be successful?” But in the beginning, the only one who really believed in the idea was Walt.

Even after 17 years of making successful films, Disney still had to prove himself. When he had the idea for the world’s first theme park, no one wanted to back it. He said, “I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.”

So if you have a dream and no one believes you can make it come true – so what? Do it anyway. Because, like Uncle Walt used to say:

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

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