The youth of Walt Disney
On December 5th, 1901, Walter Elias Disney was born as fourth son in Chicago. His father, Elias Disney, had multiple jobs and his mother, Flora, was a primary school teacher. Walt Disney wasn’t supported by his parents to pursue his drawing, but he was supported by his aunt Maggie, who discovered his talent for drawing. She gave him his first sketchbook and box of coloured pencils.
During his youth Walt Disney only ever got drawing lessons at school. Walt was simply a natural talent at drawing and everything he presented later in life he had taught himself. In 1910, he and his family moved to Kansas City, where he spend the rest of his childhood. In addition to drawing Walt became very interested in film and plays. His favourite movie star was Charlie Chaplin.
During the first world war, Walt was deported as soldier to France at the age of 17. He was a chauffeur of an ambulance of the Red Cross. In 1919, Walt returned to The United States and got a job at an advertising company in Kansas City. He didn’t work here for long since he got a job as illustrator at a small publisher within a year. Here he met his friend Ub Iwerks. Ub had a Dutch heritage. They founded their own little studio, which went bankrupt within a year. A year later Walt and Ub went to a movie company. And in his free time Walt started making animated movies himself. Sometimes Walt even managed to get one of his movies to play at the local theatre. Although Walt never earned a lot of money doing this, therefore he was quite poor.
In 1923, Walt left Kansas City with only 40 dollars in his pocket to go to Hollywood. His 8-year older brother, Roy Disney, lived in Los Angeles at that time. Walt moved in with him. Because Walt had a tough time getting a job in the movie industry, he went back to drawing. Walt asked Ub Iwerks to come join him in Hollywood. He started focussing on the animated movie. Walt Disney’s first work was shown in the show “Alice in Cartoon Land” which he made in Hollywood. In this movie a real girl played in an animated surrounding. Walt produced a sketch for one of the Alice films in 20s.
With help of his brother Roy, Walt rented a building in Hyperion Street and started the Walt Disney Studio. He invented the animated character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Ub Iwerks drew Oswald. Studio Universal Pictures let Walt make a couple of movies with Oswald as main character. Oswald became very popular and Walt started asking for more money, which he didn’t get. Walt refused to make more Oswald movies if he didn’t get more money, but this also meant that he had lost his rabbit Oswald. Since the contract stated that the distributer of the movies was the owner of the name Oswald.
Walt Disney decided to think of a new animated character; Mickey Mouse. Mickey’s first movie was called Plane Crazy (May 1928) and it became a big hit. In 1925, Walt married Lillian Bounds, and she worked with him at his office. Together they had two daughters; Diana and Sharon.
Slowly but surely, Walt Disney received more fame, however he only became really famous in November 1928. In these years all movies were still silent. Which meant there was neither music nor sound added to the movies. The first movie with sound was made in 1927. Walt Disney than decided that his movies would have music as well and that Mickey would talk. The third Mickey movie, which was called Steamboat Willie, got sounds and voices added to the movie. After this movie, shorts followed like one with the three little pigs in 1933 and Donald Duck in 1934. These movies are called Silly Symphonies and it was a collection of shorts in which the animated characters made music.
The very first Mickey Mouse was not drawn by Walt Disney himself but by his friend Ub Iwerks. Goofy and Donald Duck became Mickey Mouse’s best friends after a couple of years and Minnie became his all-time girlfriend. In 1932, Walt Disney received his first Oscar for the Mickey Mouse movies.
The Disney Studio was extended and at some point, hundreds of people worked here. In 1937, Walt produced Snow white and the seven dwarfs, this was the first long animated movie which was presented as a main film in the theatres. This movie won an Oscar in 1939, or better said, this movie won eight Oscars in 1939, since Walt received 7 extra rewards apart from the main Oscar. After this success movie after movie was produced by the studio. It didn’t stop with the animated movies, the studio also made normal films, documentaries and tv shows. After the second world war, Walt decided to leave the making of movies to his employees. However, he always stayed the important man behind the scenes. He appeared as guest host in his own tv shows.
Five theme parks
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is the first Walt Disney resort. Walt Disney had plans to create a wonderland for children and adults. Most people thought it would be a big mistake to build a place like that, for this reason he struggled to finance his theme park. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to produce all the ideas he had for his park. But Walt Disney never gave up on his dream. On July 17th, 1955, he opened his beloved park, which became a tremendous success right from the start.
In the years after the grand opening, Disney succeeded in making all his dreams for the park come true after all. For instance, they built Main Street, the street where all visitors pass by before you pick your own route through the park. They built other lands inside Disney, all with their own theme and rides. The park wasn’t just a place for rides, but also for stores, exhibitions, restaurants and the large Disney hotel.
Nowadays the park has seven additional lands apart from Main Street USA; Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, New Orleans square and Mickey Toon town. The last-named land is completely dedicated to the most famous Disney character. Here you can walk through the houses of Mickey and Minnie, you can visit Goofy’s playhouse, and go looking for the treehouse of Chip and Dale. The other parks are home to a lot of well-known rides, like; Indiana Jones adventure, the ghost hunt through the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. And in Frontierland you can’t miss the roller-coaster; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. At the grand opening the park had about 20 different rides and today you can still find some of these in the current theme park. The most famous ones are; Peter Pan’s Flight, Utopia, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. You need at least two days to enjoy everything this park has to offer, apart from the rides and the shows the park itself is already a fairy tale.
Walt decided to open another park, just like this one but in Florida. This park he called Walt Disney World. Orland, Florida, isn’t called the theme park capital city of the world for no reason. In and around Orlando you can find many theme parks, so many that it will take you weeks to see them all. The biggest and most famous theme park here is of course Walt Disney World. In 1971, on lake Buena Vista (which is about half an hour drive from Orlando) the Magic Kingdom was opened. This was the second Disney theme park in The United States. The first park was located on the other side of the country in California and couldn’t be extended due to a lack of space. Walt Disney wanted to prevent this from happening in Florida, and therefore he bought a piece of land of over 120 square kilometres. There he started the built of the Walt Disney World Resort. In the last years the park has been extended further and further.
Nowadays, the Walt Disney World Resort exists out of four different theme parks, namely; two waterparks, a shopping and entertainment area and more than 20 official Disney hotels. The distances between the parks are rather large, you can’t just walk from one park to the other. To move between the Walt Disney World parks, you can make use of the busses, ferries, monorail or of course your own (rental) car. Since this park is so enormous they say real enthusiasts could spend weeks here. It is advisable to take at least take one day for every park that you plan to visit. Walt Disney World was opened in 1971. Roy Disney opened the park since Walt Disney passed away in 1966, at the age of 65 of long cancer. This was during the making of Jungle Book.
Afterwards three more theme parks followed: Tokyo Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan, in 1983, Disneyland Resort Paris in France in 1992 and Hong Kong Disneyland in Hongkong, China, in 2005.
The five theme parks are all based on the animated movies of Walt Disney. It has happened before that the ride is opened before the movie which it is based on gets in the theatres. For example, this happened to the ride of The Pirates of the Caribbean. The rides are even adjusted for this reason, now you can find Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbosa and other pirates during the boat ride. Not only the ride is a big hit, the films are too.
The options to stay overnight close by Walt Disney World are endless, which also means that you can lose your way when finding a place easily. The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to stay in an official Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. There are over 20 official and beautifully themed Walt Disney World hotels in various price ranges. There are advantages of staying at an official Walt Disney World Resort hotel. For instance, you won’t need your own transportation anymore once you have arrived at the resort, since you can make use of the free busses and monorail. Resort guests also get extras like priority when reserving hotels, and certain rides and shows. Look for more information about the various hotels, dates and prices at the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels webpage.
Another option is to choose one of the other hundreds of hotels that are located close by Walt Disney World Resort. Since there are so many hotels the prices are lower, which can mean this is a more attractive option.
People who like their space, should take a look on the different websites which feature holiday houses in Orlando and surroundings. This can be a more comfortable and affordable option, especially when you are with a large group.
Walt Disney has produced many movies in his life. Even after Walt Disney passed away, his employees kept on producing popular movies. Walt may not have been the biggest illustrator of all time, he did have an enormous fantasy and his mind was filled with creative ideas. One of his most famous sayings was: I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing… that it was all started by a mouse.