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Walter Elias Disney (5 December 1901 – 15 December 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. One of the most well-known motion picture producers in the world, Disney was also the cartoon artist of comic books and newspaper comic strips, the creator of an American-based theme parks called Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and is the co-founder with his brother Roy O. Disney of Walt Disney Productions, the corporation now known as The Walt Disney Company.
Born: December 5th, 1901
Died: December 15th, 1966
Quotes: 89 sourced quotes total (includes 3 misattributed, 15 about)
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"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever."
All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.
Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
If you can dream it, you can do it.
I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.
Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths
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.
A man should never neglect his family for business.
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.
Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.
Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.
Laughter is America's most important export.
I believe in being an innovator.
I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.
Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.
We allow no geniuses around our Studio.
For every laugh, there should be a tear.
I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversify and never miss an angle.
Here in Florida … we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland — the blessing of size. There's enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.
A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.
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.
We have created characters and animated them in the dimension of depth, revealing through them to our perturbed world that the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us.
All you've got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you'll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.
There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.
You can't just let nature run wild.
I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with "expressing" myself with obscure creative impressions.
The most exciting and by far the most important part of our Florida Project — in fact, the heart of everything we'll be doing in Disney World — will be our Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! We call it EPCOT.
When we do fantasy, we must not lose sight of reality.
It's a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.
All right. I'm corny. But I think there's just about a-hundred-and-forty-million people in this country that are just as corny as I am.
Marx was fortunate to have been born eighty years before Walt Disney. Disney also promised a child's paradise and unlike Marx, delivered on his promise.
In my view, wholesome pleasure, sport, and recreation are as vital to this nation as productive work and should have a large share in the national budget.
I have long felt that the way to keep children out of trouble is to keep them interested in things. Lecturing to children is no answer to delinquency. Preaching won't keep youngsters out of trouble, but keeping their minds occupied will.
Disneyland is something that will never be finished. It's something that I can keep developing. It will be a live, breathing thing that will need change. A picture is a thing, once you wrap it up and turn it over to Technicolor, you're through. Snow White is a dead issue with me. But I can change the park, because it's alive.
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.
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.
We're not trying to entertain the critics … I'll take my chances with the public.
Girls bored me — they still do. I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known.
I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.
Disneyland is like a piece of clay: If there is something I don't like, I'm not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp.
Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning, together with every variety of recreation and fun designed to appeal to everyone.
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.
Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it.
I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, in its powerful influence on a person's whole life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storms and stress of life and keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish.
To the youngsters of today, I say believe in the future, the world is getting better; there still is plenty of opportunity. Why, would you believe it, when I was a kid I thought it was already too late for me to make good at anything.
The American child is a highly intelligent human being — characteristically sensitive, humorous, open-minded, eager to learn, and has a strong sense of excitement, energy, and healthy curiosity about the world in which he lives. Lucky indeed is the grown-up who manages to carry these same characteristics into adult life. It usually makes for a happy and successful individual.
Every person has his own ideas of the act of praying for God's guidance, tolerance, and mercy to fulfill his duties and responsibilities. My own concept of prayer is not as a plea for special favors nor as a quick palliation for wrongs knowingly committed. A prayer, it seems to me, implies a promise as well as a request; at the highest level, prayer not only is a supplication for strength and guidance, but also becomes an affirmation of life and thus a reverent praise of God.
Do a good job. You don't have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work — then try to trump it.
We like to have a point of view in our stories, not an obvious moral, but a worthwhile theme. … All we are trying to do is give the public good entertainment. That is all they want.
I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place — a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it.
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.
Until a character becomes a personality it cannot be believed. Without personality, the character may do funny or interesting things, but unless people are able to identify themselves with the character, its actions will seem unreal. And without personality, a story cannot ring true to the audience.
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.
I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. With the laugh comes the tears and in developing motion pictures or television shows, you must combine all the facts of life — drama, pathos and humor.
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.
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.
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.'''
Over at our place, we're sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don't think of grown-ups, and we don't think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.
What are you doing with a car here in 1860?
We are not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other company.
The mothers are always killed or sent to the insane asylums in Walt Disney's movies.
Walt wanted to communicate with a global audience. … He wanted to communicate with a multicultural audiance.
He probably did more to heal, or at least soothe troubled human spirits than all the psychiatrists in the world.
He definitely believed in God — very definitely. But I think he'd had it [with organized religion] as a child. He never went to church.
Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgement, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.
There is a relationship between cartooning and people Miró and Picasso which may not be understood by the cartoonist, but it definitely is related even in the early Disney.
Actually, if you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is growing this red, white and blue stripe.
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.
He was a very religious man, but he didn't believe you had to go to church to be religious. … He respected every religion. There wasn't any that he ever criticized. He wouldn't even tell religious jokes.
Despite the absence of a unifying "story" in Fantasia, there are along the way images and sequences with implications and messages — inspirational and disturbing, subtle and strong, scientific and pagan and Christian — all worth noting.
Walt considered himself religious yet he never went to church. The heavy dose of religiosity in his childhood discouraged him; he especially disliked sanctimonious preachers. But he admired an respected every religion, and his belief in God never wavered.
Disney, for all his pining for a perfect world (embodied in his depiction of a turn-of-the-century Main Street), did not entirely ignore the authentic. He did kill Bambi's mom, remember. He did permit, perhaps encourage, the occasional sense of danger.
Disney World has acquired by now something of the air of a national shrine. American parents who don't take their children there sense obscurely that they have failed in some fundamental way, like Muslims who never made it to Mecca.
Walt Disney had a saying that he doesn't make movies for children, but he makes movies for the child in all of us. As a film maker I guess that's all you can really do, is make a movie for your own sensibilities.
Faith I have, in myself, in humanity, in the worthwhileness of the pursuits in entertainment for the masses. But wide awake, not blind faith, moves me. My operations are based on experience, thoughtful observation and warm fellowship with my neighbors at home and around the world.
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.
Most family historians agree that Elias's authoritarian and sometimes cruel nature — and propensity for whipping and even beating his young sons — played a role in turning Walt and Roy against the church. The brothers' ambivalent relationship with organized religion is well documented, as is their strong, personal faith in God.
Walt was a strange kind of guy, but he’s still by all odds the most important person that animation has ever known. Anybody who knows anything about animation knows that the things that happened at the Disney Studio were the backbone that upheld everything else. Disney created a climate that enabled all of us to exist
Take the serious side of Disney, the Confucian side of Disney. It's in having taken an ethos … where you have the values of courage and tenderness asserted in a way that everybody can understand. You have got an absolute genius there. You have got a greater correlation of nature than you have had since the time of Alexander the Great.
Somehow, I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. The special secret it seems to me is summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Courage, Confidence and Constancy. And the greatest of all is Confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.
As the original Mary Poppins budget of five million dollars continued to grow, I never saw a sad face around the entire Studio. And this made me nervous. I knew the picture would have to gross 10 million dollars for us to break even. But still there was no negative head-shaking. No prophets of doom. Even Roy was happy. He didn't even ask me to show the unfinished picture to a banker. The horrible thought struck me — suppose the staff had finally conceded that I knew what I was doing.
Mickey Mouse is, to me, a symbol of independence. He was a means to an end. He popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner. Born of necessity, the little fellow literally freed us of immediate worry. He provided the means for expanding our organization to its present dimensions and for extending the medium of cartoon animation toward new entertainment levels. He spelled production liberation for us.
Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life. All men will want to be free and share our way of life. There must be so much that I should have said, but haven't. What I will say now is just what most of us are probably thinking every day. I thank God and America for the right to live and raise my family under the flag of tolerance, democracy and freedom.
I don't believe there's a challenge anywhere in the world that's more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin — how do we start answering this great challenge? Well, we're convinced we must start answering the public need. And the need is not just for curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a special kind of new community that will always be in a state of becoming. It will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future, where people actually live a life they can't find anywhere else in the world.
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.
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.
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."