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Major Disney Milestone Coming Up

A friend recently pointed out to me that there’s an interesting milestone coming up for the Walt Disney Company. On February 14th of this year, the Walt Disney Company will have operated longer without Walt Disney than it did with him (the company having been founded on 10/16/1923 and with Walt passing away on 12/15/1966).

Kinda hard to imagine. Even though Walt had been dead for three years when I was born, I feel like I grew up with him as he was there every Sunday night on repeats of the Wonderful World of Color or Disneyland TV show. Plus there were the yearly treks to Disneyland and my own research into the company’s history.

I don’t think Walt would recognize much of the company as it exists today. But I do feel that he would have been very excited to play with the new technology and, probably, would have out googled Google. Plus imagine what he would have done with Avatar type 3D motion capture technology. He was a sometimes user of rotoscoping, an predecessor to mocap, in his animated films.

What grade would you give the management of The Walt Disney Company for how they handled the last 43 years? What would you like to see happen in the next 43?

27 thoughts on “Major Disney Milestone Coming Up”

  1. Of course, I’m forgetting the one real obvious thing. EPCOT. Walt would have gone ahead with his plan for EPCOT and the world would have been dragged kicking and screamining into a future of mass transit, solar power, personal computing, and class equality about 30 years ago. Kinda makes you wish you had a time machine, eh?

  2. I’ve grown up with Disney and love visiting whenever we can, but I feel like Walt would be disappointed in a lot of things that have happened to his company. Disney tends to become more than a little heartless with their mass marketing (think princesses, Cars, loads of sequels, movies into a ‘vault’, etc.) It really seems like they are more about profit than about imagination. That being said, I do believe that there are some who still propel the company forward with their imagineering and brilliance. I think Walt would have been pleased with things like Soarin’ and the Nature series. I think he would be embarrassed by some of the new, sultry depictions of the princesses he created. I was secretly pleased when my daughter pulled all the stickers off of her princess tea cups.
    Anyways, I think there’s hope for the company, but someone at the top has got to move forward with Walt’s imaginative,inspiring vision.

      1. no he’s not. everywhere you go, there are cars memoriabilia. it’s waaaay over produced. the princesses are worse because the have an ENTIRE SECTION in Mouse Gears devoted just to the princesses and the clothing little girls can wear. Also, Bibbity Bobbity Boutique anyone?

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    6. John – you’re right that Walt would have made EPCOT happen. It wasn’t some crazy, impossible dream. It just required guts and willpower. He could have done it.

      And yeah, I think he would be pretty hacked off at the lazy, franchise-dependent company Disney has become.

      Just think of how young he really was when he died. Most of his siblings lived to be much, much older. Think of what the world would be like if he’d lived just to 70. Like you say, if only for a time machine..

    7. I also have to agree about some of the things Walt would be unhappy about. I believe he used the phrase, “you can’t top pigs with pigs.” when referring to the making of sequels. With Toy Story 3, High School Musical 18 and all the others that have since come out it seems to be a departure from the founding philosophy. On the flip side, we are DVC members that visit three to four times a year, love bringing the family and can think of no better place to spend our down time.

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    11. It’s more symbolic… the recent passing of Roy E. Disney was the severing of the last existing direct connection between the immediate Disney family and the corporation. RED had “moral authority” to call into question what went on at the corporation.

    12. Walt was always moving onto the next project: short cartoons? Let’s do feature movies. Fantasy on the screen? Let’s make the fantasy real. Amusement parks aren’t enough. Let’s build whole cities.

      I consider the existing Disney company an entity caught in amber — just a more and better version of the last innovation of Walt’s. If he was still alive, the company would have some new businesses and innovations beyond movie and park entertainment.

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