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Pausing to think

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of Walt Disney’s death in 1966 from complications related to lung cancer. That may have marked his physical death, but his legacy is very much alive. From the first Alice films, to the parks and his vision for a better life for all, and all the lives he affected along the way, he made an impact where ever he went.

My birth was still three years away when Walt died. I’m not evangelizing Walt, he was no saint, but his philosophy that “quality will out end the end” has had a big of impact on my life as any saint. Today I would love to hear how Walt Disney and his works have affected you. What in his creations makes you come back day after day to his work and say, “this is good”?

Thanks Walt! You left us too soon.

6 thoughts on “Pausing to think”

  1. I guess a better question is: “What phase of our lives haven’t been affected by Walt Disney?” Without Walt there would be no Cartoon Network, no Pixar, no Nickelodeon, and no nature films (his True-Life adventures sparked what is now Planet Earth and films of this sort). Films themselves may have much less technical quality, as his innovations in storyboarding, multiplane cameras, color and sound in animation, and other special effects pushed the envelope. Walt Disney World (through the vision of Epcot) itself being a technical marvel of city design may have inspired numerous other innovations such as trash incineration, travel (the Monorail), and other green initiatives. Around the World War II era, the Disney films had an impact on taxpayer turnout as well as fostering support for the war (and helping to sell much-needed war bonds) and giving the county morale. Not saying that we would’ve lost the war, but the impact was definitely large. Even small things such as the tensabarriers you see at banks and other crowd-control features may have been inspired by the crowd flow controls introduced by the theme parks.

  2. Monorail failures? Walt Died 10 days after his 65 birthday. Maybe in those 10 days he hovers over his ‘Florida Project’, this time his spirit pressed the system to force the company to revamp it and enhance his dream. In your previous post, the family mentioned a bad vibe, maybe it was the angry spirit of Walt.

  3. I was born less than a year after Walt’s death, but didn’t realize it until many years later. He had been a part of my family growing up, a favorite uncle who visited regularly on my TV set to tell me stories of magic, wonder and adventure.

    My wife and I often comment on the wonderful things that Disney Pictures still does, some 40 years after Walt’s passing. And I think if he saw the films (hand-drawn animation, CGI, and live-action) he would be amazed by the progress that has been made.

    Walt’s legacy isn’t the film studio, the parks, or the corporate giant. It’s the spirit of Disney that is shared by fans all over the globe who believe that dreams can come true.

  4. I was 16 when Walt died and it truly felt like I had lost a close relative. Growing up in Italy, where Disney was, if anything, more popular than in the US, thanks to the large number of comics published weekly, to the sports events for kids organized by Disney’s Italian branch (publisher Mondadori, who was a close friend of Walt’s and who corresponded with him until the end) and to his presence on our Italian TV screens. Uncle Walt left a huge void and he will be missed for ever by those of my generation! I now live in Florida and I went to WDW on day 2 of its opening in 1971!

  5. I was born 15 days after Walt died, and while I don’t have any belief in reincarnation or the like it’s nice to think that part of Walt’s spirit might’ve caught on to a little baby born in a hospital about 1000 miles away a couple weeks later :)

  6. Born years after Walt’s passing, I grew up on Disney animated features and shorts, Disney on Sunday night TV, and what I thought were frequent trips to Disneyland (couple times a year or so), since we lived about 45 minutes away. WDI caught my interest when I was in junior high and we became almost weekly guests to the park. Then I became a cast member in high school, and structured my college education around theme park design. I had my first date with my wife, also a Disney fan, at Disneyland, and proposed to her there (not the the first date, of course… we waited a good three months and a day!).

    Now my little girl gets to treat the place like her local park.

    So it is safe to say that Walt has had a huge impact on my life.

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