Disney Legends – Walt Disney

Each Sunday we will explore a different Disney legend. From on screen, of screen even from the parks. We begin with the greatest of them all. Walt Disney himself. Since he sadly died at only 65 here are 65 facts about the great man.

1. Born Walter Elias Disney 1901
2. Raised in Chicago Illinois
3. Died at age 65 in 1966 in Burbank California
4. Married Lillian who’s name pops up in many Disney creations
5. Had 2 daughters, one adopted
6. Co-founded The Walt Disney Company with his brother Roy.
7. Previously their studio was known as the Disney Brothers Studio
8. Was employed as an illustrator at 18
9. Was in a play of Peter Pan as a boy
10. Had 3 brothers one sister
11. Copied others cartoons to practice drawing
12. Took many courses in art and drawing
13. Failed to get into the arm, eventually got into the red cross, at the end of World War 1.
14. He drew cartoons on the side of his ambulance.
15. Returned to illustrate in advertising
16. Formed a company with fellow animator Ub Iwerks.
17. For 2 years they created Laugh O Grams, based on old tales.
18. Their final tale before bankruptcy was Alic in Wonderland
19. Walt heavily favoured cel animation during this time.
20. Whilst working with Roy he married a fellow employee, Lillian.
21. Walt refocused on animation, creating Felix the cat.
22. Designed Oswald the Rabbit with Iwerks, the character went to Universal.
23. Many animators abandoned Disney and left for a rival studio.
24. The remaining animators created Mortimer Mouse, Lillian encouraged him to change it to Mickey.
25. Mickey debuted in Plane Crazy NOT Steamboat Willie
26. Voiced Mickey from 1928 to 1947
27. Also voiced Minnie
28. Disney created the silly symphonies pioneering the combination of animation and sound.
29. Left Iwerks behind when forming a new partnership with Sony
30. During this time Mickey rose to fame, many tried to copy.
31. Disney developed Technicolor, creating the first true colour films
32. Won the first Oscar for best short subject.
33. Mickey also was given and Oscar at this time.
34. Always wanting greater, next aimed for feature film over short cartoons
35. Everyone told him not to make Snow White
36. It was at this time he developed the Multiplane Camera the studio would use for many years to come.
37. The film got a standing ovation at it’s premier.
38. The money made from the film bought the studios in burbank, where Walt would work until his death.
39. Walt focused on features while his staff made shorts. Silly symphonies ended.
40. The films struggled during WW2. Walt made films for the army and travelled, creating films along the way.
41. The studio faced a new boom after the war with Alice in Wonderland, many years after the shorts.
42. Went to greater success combining live action and animation to create Mary Poppins
43. By the 50s Walt passed most of the work on films over as he focused on Disneyland
44. He even hosted the most watched tv show. With episodes about the development of Disneyland.
45. He worked harder in the relm of parks by buying swamp land cheap in Florida.
46. He wanted to create a world of tomorrow, opting to create Epcot first.
47. He was convinced to recreated Disneyland first in the form of Magic Kingdom.
48. Walt died before he ever saw the park completed.
49. On his death bed he told Roy of his plans for Epcot.
50. Roy renamed the park Walt Disney World in his Honour, but passed 3 years after it’s opening.
51. Epcot finally opened in 1982.
52. Disney always loved train, building a half mile model from his back garden.
53. His love of trains is way onr goes around his main parks.
54. Has more Academy Awards and nominations than anyone to date
55. Was given an extra 7 little Oscars for the 7 Dwarfs
56. Absence of mothers in his films may be down to Walt’s guilt. She died in the home he bought her, from a furnace leak.
57. Disney made his park after watching his girls play, wanting families to be able to have fun together.
58. He had an apartment built above the firehouse in Disneyland for his family. To oversee the park.
59. The last film he ever worked on was The Jungle Book.
60. Walt would often be seen in the park doing simple chores.
61. Insisted he and cast would be on first name terms, hence the name tags all cast wear.
62. Wall E was named after Walt.
63. He was a pioneer in animation, sound, colour and theme parks like none before nor since.
64. His face was used on one of the animatronics inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
65. Walt also wanted to make a ski park, the idea died with him.

So there we have it, I could go on and on with facts about the brilliant man. A pioneer in animation theme parks and indeed happiness. There will never be another like him.


  1. DawnSeeker / DawnHoof

    Great post — many of which I didn’t know. My Dad and Uncle were the original bandleaders at the Carnation Plaza Gardens., hired by Walt in the 50s (Elliott Brothers Orchestra — aka The Disneyland Date Niters). As a little kid, I would occasionally see Walt sitting at the roped-off “RESERVED” tables behind Dad’s bandstand, taking in the music and just looking out and enjoying himself. He maybe spent ten minutes or so, and then moved on. You will enjoy reading about Dad and Uncle Lloyd on the following post. Best! Dawn


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