Walt Disney, even in death, has proven to be hugely successful because of several character traits that he possessed in life. For example, his great vision for a better future led to the building of two theme parks which, today --- in the 21st century --- are still enormously profitable and exciting. Indeed, millions of people share his vision of a better place than the one where they live --- a place where the hardships of life are no more --- at least temporarily. In addition, his creativity has led to the creation of a number of memorable classic characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Peter Pan, that children across the world have come to know.
Walt Disney was a man of vision. He dreamed of a clean, organized amusement park. According to JustDisney (justdisney.com), this dream came true in 1955, when the doors to Disneyland swung open in Anaheim, California. This $17 million business venture gained him a tenfold return on his investment. As JustDisney points out, by 1980, the park had attracted 200 million visitors, including prominent heads of state around the world.
Disney created yet another theme park, this time fueled by his concern about the violence and poverty he saw in the American cities. In his view, it was not merely sufficient to improve the city that already exists, but to create a new prototype of a city of the future. Thus, in Orlando, Florida, Disney purchased 43 acres of land to use for the project that America would come to know as Disney World. He architected this project for seven years. Sadly, he did not live to see Opening Day. He died in 1966 --- but the park still opened on October 1, 1971.
The creativity that turned Walt Disney into a household name was apparent from an early age. According to JustDisney, a young Walt built miniature train sets, due to his love for trains. This creativity showed its face again later in life, when in 1945 he combined live action with cartoon animation, creating the movie, "The Three Caballeros." He was able to successfully use the same technique to produce "Song of the South" and "Mary Poppins."
Knack for Drawing
His artistic ability was also evident early in life. According to JustDisney, 7-year-old Walt began selling small sketches and drawings to his neighbors. Instead of concentrating on reading, writing and arithmetic in school, he would doodle pictures of animals. Acknowledging this gift later in life, he opted to go to art school as a young adult to further hone these skills.
Another strength Disney displayed that led to his success was his tenacity. When Disney decided on a certain task he wanted to accomplish, he would not let anything stop him, whether it was age or economical factors. For example, when World War I hit, he was only 16. He wanted to enlist, in spite of the fact that he was too young. The Kidzworld website (kidzworld.com) points out that he lied about his age, then went to France as part of the Red Cross team, where he drove an ambulance.
After the war, he returned home and began working on the "Alice Comedies." He ran out of money and, instead of giving up, relocated to California, enlisted the help of his brother Roy, and started an animation business. Walt Disney was just 21 at the time.
- Photo Credit Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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