So today I went for a tour at Disneyland called “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” and our tour guide Frank did a super job. He crafted a vision of what Walt Disney the person was about, his thinking, and his view of the world. There were tons of little side notes and comments (like the fact that drawbridge on the castle actually works, but it was only once used – on opening day for the TV broadcast. It wasn’t meant to open and close but 48 hours before Disneyland’s opening Walt wanted the impact of the bridge opening and kids and families to come rushing out. The imaginieers made it happen.)
What hit me today was the fact that the Walt Disney I remember, on TV and in movies is the successful Walt Disney – the man that made his dreams real. On the tour today we learned a great deal of how hard, how long Walt Disney fought t make what he dreamed real. As Frank said today “Walt grew to realize that when people told him that his ideas were crazy, couldn’t be done – this is when he knew he was on the right path. That even his own brother Roy couldn’t fully understand the vision of these firsts – like the movie Snow White or Disneyland. While he believed in his brother and he was able to was the fact that he made his brother Walt’s dreams real by raising the funds he needed. (Another little fact, when Disneyland was being built the budget was $1.9 million at the start and when it was done it was $17.5 million.)
Walt’s response to the negative, no way, nay Sayers was “might be” (‘Walt that is crazy, no one has ever done a ….’ – Might be?’) but he was the eternal optimist and he saw that in all troubles or mistakes things could be gained. Walt was about the possibility of people doing the impossible. Today I saw a Walt Disney that was human, was a man with the ability to communicate his dreams. A person that had very hard times, ups and downs but never gave up. A Walt Disney that was a young man with dreams and heroes. A Husband, Dad, a Grandpa, a friend. It was energizing to think of all the negative views that came at him and he still made amazing realities.
It was great today to just sit in the circle at the start of main street as see the happy families, the older couples walking hand and hand, the kids and the older guys wearing funny hats. The smiles, the eyes shooting all over taking it all in on this sunny day in southern California I could feel Walt’s spirit very much alive Today I gained a little of that can do energy, passion and vision. And next time someone says “no way Dave, you are crazy there is no way we can XYZ” I will think “might be…” and find a way to move forward. Walt Disney spent 11 years personally developing the park (even living there from time to time).
(I got to go in the famous Club 33 and touched the doorknob that Walt would have used to open the door and also touched the bench that Walt was sitting on at a park one Sunday and the idea of Disneyland came to him.)