Uncle Walt

Help restore the Walt Disney Birthplace

The birthplace of Walt Disney is a small and unassuming home on the corner of Tripp Avenue. It was designed and built by Elias and Flora Disney in 1893 just outside downtown Chicago, and was home to the Disney family in 1901 when Walt was… Read More »Help restore the Walt Disney Birthplace

Walt Disney, Pioneer in Animation and Special Effects

Walt-disney-Multiplane_Camera

Walt Disney often gets labeled as an animator, but he really was an industry innovator as well (right from the start when he invented the first animators drawing table). This video from Disney Insider provides a nice introduction to some of the many innovations Walt brought to the realm of animation and special effects.

Other innovations Walt developed for animation included the process to synchronize music to animation, the multiplane camera (first used in “The Old Mill”) and putting people into animation (instead of animated objects appearing in the real world).

How do you remember Walt Disney, as an animator, innovator or something else?

Follow us below the jump for Disney animator Don Hahn’s take on the alchemy of Disney animation
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Our Grandpa, Walt Disney

Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Foundation

Walt’s Grandchildren. Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Foundation

Editor Note: This article is republished in honor of Grandparents Day, September 7, 2014. It was originally written after a 2011 event at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Family togetherness and memories of shared experiences to last a lifetime … those are at the heart of Walt Disney’s many creations — from cartoon characters and heart-warming movies that have entertained generations to Disneyland, which has delighted guests between the ages of 2 and 102 since opening in 1955.

Family meant a great deal to Disney, both personally and professionally. His daughter, Diane Disney Miller, told me that despite her father’s success, she and her sister, Sharon, lived a fairly typical family life. The girls had two loving, caring and protective parents. Her dad, she said, was a hugger who enjoyed family dinners at home, weekly outings with his girls, even time regularly spent driving his daughters to school on his way to the studio.

Walt was happy with his little family, even though Diane learned many years later from her aunt that he had wanted more children but that doctors had advised her mother, Lillian, not to attempt another pregnancy after a series of miscarriages.

It would have “only been me,” Diane said, if her parents hadn’t gone out and adopted her sister, Sharon. Walt and Lillian would later become “very loving” grandparents. And, making Walt a grandfather was the “best thing I ever did for him,” Diane said.

Diane and her husband, Ron Miller, parented seven children; six were born before Walt’s death on Dec. 15, 1966. Five of them — Chris, Joanna, Tammy, Jennifer and Walter Miller — shared memories of their maternal grandfather in a special program on Sept. 17, 2011, at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Ron Jr., born in 1963, was too young when his grandfather died to participate with his siblings and Patrick Miller wasn’t born until 1967.

Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Foundation

Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Foundation

The program, arguably the best talk in the museum’s nearly five-year history, provided an intimate look at Walt’s family life from his adored grandchildren. Now adults, they had a unique relationship to one of the most creative and influential men of the 20th century. They said both their parents and grandparents did everything they could to give them a fairly typical family life.

The following offers highlights of the program. It’s been plussed and sprinkled throughout with material obtained during an exclusive interview after the event.

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Surprise, your Dad is Walt Disney

I love the opening few paragraphs from “The story of Walt Disney” by Diane Disney Miller. What started out as a series of articles in The Post eventually became the first “biography” of Walt Disney ever published. You can read the entire first chapter on… Read More »Surprise, your Dad is Walt Disney

The Candy Caper – A Walt Story

I love reading first hand accounts of Disneyland cast members encounters with Walt Disney. We have had our own little series here on the blog from my Aunt Linda, but here’s a story from a cast member who worked the Storybook Canal Boats in the… Read More »The Candy Caper – A Walt Story