Walt Disney quotes

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Walt Disney

Birthdate: 5. December 1901
Date of death: 15. December 1966

Walter Elias Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, Walt developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, Disney became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-color three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , Pinocchio, Fantasia , Dumbo , and Bambi , furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed after World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella and Mary Poppins , the latter of which received five Academy Awards.

In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in 1955 he opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. To fund the project he diversified into television programs, such as Walt Disney's Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club; he was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, the heart of which was to be a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" . Disney was a heavy smoker throughout his life and died of lung cancer in December 1966 before either the park or the EPCOT project were completed.

Disney was a shy, self-deprecating and insecure man in private but adopted a warm and outgoing public persona. He had high standards and high expectations of those with whom he worked. Although there have been accusations that he was racist or anti-Semitic, they have been contradicted by many who knew him. His reputation changed in the years after his death, from a purveyor of homely patriotic values to a representative of American imperialism. He nevertheless remains an important figure in the history of animation and in the cultural history of the United States, where he is considered a national cultural icon. His film work continues to be shown and adapted; his namesake studio and company maintains high standards in its production of popular entertainment, and the Disney amusement parks have grown in size and number to attract visitors in several countries. Wikipedia

„To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses which should bind us together for a better world.“

—  Walt Disney

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration, we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish. But in our troubled time, the right of men to think and worship as their conscience dictates is being sorely pressed. We can retain these privileges only by being constantly on guard and fighting off any encroachment on these precepts. To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.

„We felt that the public, and especially the children, like animals that are cute and little. I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea.“

—  Walt Disney

Stating that the development of the Mickey Mouse character was inspired by Charlie Chaplin's character "the Tramp", as quoted in How to Be Like Walt : Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life (2004) by Pat Williams and Jim Denney, p. 52
Context: We felt that the public, and especially the children, like animals that are cute and little. I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea. We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin — a little fellow trying to do the best he could.

„Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time.“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in "The Rides of Passage" in Via magazine (July 2005)
Context: Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time. In this new dimension, whatever it is, nothing corrodes or gets run down at the heel or gets to look ridiculous like, say, the celluloid collar or the bustle.

„I told her that was just the point — mine wouldn't be.“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in "The Rides of Passage" in Via magazine (July 2005) http://www.viamagazine.com/top_stories/articles/ride_yourlife05.asp
Context: When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, "But why do you want to build an amusement park? They're so dirty." I told her that was just the point — mine wouldn't be.

„Well, my greatest reward, I think, is that I've been able to build this wonderful organization.“

—  Walt Disney

Interview with Fletcher Markle (25 September 1963) in Walt Disney: Conversations (2006) edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson The Walt Disney Story (1973) http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/id140.htm
Context: Well, my greatest reward, I think, is that I've been able to build this wonderful organization. I've been able to enjoy good health, and the way I feel today, I feel like I can still go on being part of this thing after forty some odd years of business, and also, to have the public appreciate and accept what I've done all these years. That, that is a great reward. … Well of course, happiness is a state of mind. You can be happy or you can be unhappy. It's just according to the way you look at things. You know. So I think happiness is contentment but it doesn't mean you have to have wealth. But all individuals are different. Some of us just wouldn't be satisfied with just carrying out a routine job and being happy. Yet I envied those people. I had a brother who I really envied because he was a mailman. But he's the one that had all the fun. He had himself a trailer, and he used to go out and go fishing, and he didn't worry about payrolls and stories and picture grosses or anything. And he was the happy one. I always said, "He's the smart Disney."

„Deeds rather than words express my concept of the part religion should play in everyday life.“

—  Walt Disney

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: Deeds rather than words express my concept of the part religion should play in everyday life. I have watched constantly that in our movie work the highest moral and spiritual standards are upheld, whether it deals with fable or with stories of living action.

„To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.“

—  Walt Disney

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration, we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish. But in our troubled time, the right of men to think and worship as their conscience dictates is being sorely pressed. We can retain these privileges only by being constantly on guard and fighting off any encroachment on these precepts. To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.

„All we ever intended for him or expected of him was that he should continue to make people everywhere chuckle with him and at him.“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in A Walt Disney World Resort Outing : The Only Vacation Planning Guide Exclusively for Gay and Lesbian Travelers (2002) by Dann Hazel and Josh Fippen, p. 211
Context: All we ever intended for him or expected of him was that he should continue to make people everywhere chuckle with him and at him. We didn't burden him with any social symbolism, we made him no mouthpiece for frustrations or harsh satire. Mickey was simply a little personality assigned to the purposes of laughter.

„Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.“

—  Walt Disney

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: I don't believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn't treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.
Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.

„The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be.“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in A Walt Disney World Resort Outing : The Only Vacation Planning Guide Exclusively for Gay and Lesbian Travelers (2002) by Dann Hazel and Josh Fippen, p. 211
Context: I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty. Call the child "innocence". The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be. In my work I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars.

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„To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.“

—  Walt Disney

Speech on the opening day of Disneyland (17 July 1955) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf2TMwtCUr4
Context: To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America; with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.

„EPCOT will be an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems.“

—  Walt Disney

EPCOT promotional film (1966)
Context: EPCOT will be an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.

„That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget.“

—  Walt Disney

From Walt Disney World: Then, Now, & Forever: Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well, I won't do that. I won't do that. I'll temper a story, yes. But I won't play down, and I won't patronize.
The Quotable Walt Disney (2001)
Context: That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won't do that. I'll temper a story, yes. But I won't play down, and I won't patronize.

„Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk — especially in new undertakings.“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in The Magic of Teamwork (1997) by Pat Williams <!-- also quoted in The Disney Way Fieldbook (2000) by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson, Act III : Dare, p. 147 -->
Context: Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk — especially in new undertakings. Courage to initiate something and to keep it going, pioneering an adventurous spirit to blaze new ways, often, in our land of opportunity.

„They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won't do that. I'll temper a story, yes. But I won't play down, and I won't patronize.“

—  Walt Disney

From Walt Disney World: Then, Now, & Forever: Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well, I won't do that. I won't do that. I'll temper a story, yes. But I won't play down, and I won't patronize.
The Quotable Walt Disney (2001)
Context: That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won't do that. I'll temper a story, yes. But I won't play down, and I won't patronize.

„Childishness? I think it's the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor.“

—  Walt Disney

The Quotable Walt Disney (2001)
Context: Childishness? I think it's the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor. I mean, yes there's a certain something that you retain. It's the equivalent of not getting so stuffy that you can't laugh at others.

„Art was always a means to an end with me.“

—  Walt Disney

Source: How to Be Like Walt : Capturing the Magic Every Day of Your Life (2004), Ch. 15 : Walt Lives!, p. 367
Context: Art was always a means to an end with me. You get an idea, and you just can't wait. Once you've started, then you're in there with the punches flying. There's plenty of trouble, but you can handle it. You can't back out. It gets you down once in a while, but it's exciting. Our whole business is exciting.

„I don't believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn't treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.“

—  Walt Disney

Deeds Rather Than Words (1963)
Context: I don't believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn't treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.
Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.

„All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…“

—  Walt Disney

As quoted in The Story of Walt Disney (1957)
Context: All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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