When it comes to Walt Disney’s legacy, especially for us Disneyland fans, we often associate him with trademarks around the park. For instance, we know that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was the last one that he personally oversaw before his passing. Or when we begin our walk down Main Street, U.S.A. we can glance up to see the lantern, still lit in his memory, in the window of his apartment that he stayed at when he worked on his many projects at the park.
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Walt Disney led a fascinating life and many of the facts that surround his legacy are inspiring. Here are seven facts about Walt Disney’s life and legacy that will inspire you to live your dreams.
1. He Came From a Modest Family
Walt Disney was one of five children and grew up on a small farm in Missouri. Walt’s family moved to Kansas City and sold the farm to make ends meet in 1911. Walt grew up helping his family make ends meet and put food on the table. His father purchased a local newspaper route and Walt would help his father before and after school delivering papers for six years.
2. He Lied about His Age to Serve in WWI
Walt Disney has a well-known history of being patriotic. When he was 16 years old the United States entered World War I and he tried to enlist in the U.S. Navy. After being turned down due to his age, he was accepted as a Red Cross ambulance driver and spent a year driving an ambulance and chauffeuring Red Cross officials. According to D23, “His ambulance was covered from stem to stern, not with stock camouflage, but with drawings and cartoons.”
3. Moved to Hollywood on a Dream
In 1923, Walt Disney left his home of Kansas City to go to Hollywood with not much more than a dream. Walt’s brother, Roy O. Disney, already lived in California at the time and they worked together to pool their resources to begin their production dream together. It takes bravery to make such a drastic life change with nothing more than $40 bucks to your name.
4. A Hard Road from Oswald to Mickey
In 1927, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was created by the Walt Disney Studio and was the first animated character to feature in his own series. In 1928, Disney lost the rights to Oswald along with many of his staff to Universal Studios. Mickey Mouse’s creation was a response to this loss and turned out to be a successful way to recover from such a blow to his studio. The Walt Disney Company didn’t get the rights to Oswald back until 2006 when current CEO Bob Iger negotiated a deal with Universal Studios to gain the rights back for Oswald.
5. Walt Voiced Mickey Mouse in the Beginning
When Mickey Mouse spoke for the first time in 1929, Walt Disney was not happy with the voice of his iconic mouse and decided to do Mickey’s voice himself. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse until 1947’s Mickey and the Beanstalk.
6. He Mortgaged His House for Snow White
Before the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, the Walt Disney Studio mainly created cartoon shorts that were shown before feature-length films. At this time Disney started to think that a full-length animated movie was the next step for his studio. Nearly everyone thought this was a bad idea including Roy- his brother and business partner. Hollywood magazines even called this move “Disney’s Folly” since the cost of the movie was near $1.5 million. Luckily for Disney, Snow White was a huge success bringing in $8 million and was called an “authentic masterpiece.”
7. Walt Disney Has Won the Most Academy Awards
To this day, Disney still holds the world record for the most Academy Awards received for one individual. The many animated hits after Snow White, such as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi, resulted in winning 26 Academy Awards. He was also nominated 59 times- leaving behind quite the legacy!
Feeling inspired? Here’s some advice from the man himself to help you get going.
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