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Walt Disney: Life & Legacy

This Article was written by Claudio Paes De Almeida Neto, Year 9

Everyone has heard of Disney; Cartoons, princes & princesses, live action movies, some of you may have even visited DisneyLand.

But have you ever heard about the person who started it all? The Founding Father?

This article will explain who he is!

Illustration by Helena Quintao, Year 7 (KCD)

Walter Elias Disney was born in 1901, in Chicago. He lived in the city for four years, but then his parents (Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney) moved to a farm in Marceline. He stayed there with his parents and his three older brothers. It was in Marceline that he also discovered his interest in drawing and animating. He took art classes and got a job as a commercial illustrator. When he was 18, he moved to California in the early 1920's and founded the ‘Disney Brother Studios’ alongside one of his brothers, Roy.

In 1928, he created his famous character: Mickey Mouse and it got quite popular really fast! As time went on, his tools to make animations were upgraded and with this development, he was able to produce a lot of movies. Most that are still very popular and famous today, such as; Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, Pinnochio, Dumbo, Bambi, (and a possibly lesser known:) Fantasia. In the 1950’s, Walt Disney made plans to advance his business into amusement parks. And in 1955, he opened the first Disneyland, in California.

He acquired the money by bringing his business to TV. He was also involved in planning other projects, like the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World’s Fair . In 1965 he also started the production of a new amusement park: Disney World. However, sadly, he passed away before he could open it, in 1966.

Disney’s legacy, however, is still strong. Starting off with a simple passion for drawing, Walt Disney turned his talent into one of the most successful businesses in the world, known by everyone across the globe.

Fun facts about Walt Disney:

  • He had the role of Peter Pan in a school play.

  • Mickey Mouse wasn’t his first creation; he first created Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, which was also a huge success.

  • Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse when he was first created.

  • Walt Disney loved trains, he even built a small model of one!

  • Walt Disney dropped out of high school (Don’t do this!) so that he could join the army. He was rejected, but ended up getting a job as an ambulance driver.

  • The first name for Mickey was Mortimer (his wife suggested Mickey)

  • At the 1938 Oscar prizes, he gained one normal statue and 7 smaller ones. Can you guess the reference?

  • Walt Disney was thought to have been Cryogenically frozen when he died, but he wasn’t! He was cremated.

What's your favourite Disney film? Let us know!


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