Hero: Walt Disney
A Hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Over time we have had powerful Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt. Military Hero’s such as the Men and Woman who are serving for the United States right now, and those who we’ve sadly lost. Thinking about Christopher Columbus when he discovered the new world and Martin Luther King Jr. when he read his speech, I thought about these Hero’s, and many more that would have made great papers, but still I had a hard time picking. I wanted someone creative, someone who would make a creative paper. Someone who made a difference in people lives and still does now, and will years to come. Everyone in this room knows him and there is no way any of us could imagine a world without him. Animation historians love to say “It all started with a mouse”. In fact it actually began with a visionary named Walt Disney.
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago Illinois, to his father, Elias Disney, an Irish-Canadian, and his mother, Flora Call Disney, who was of German-American descent. Walt was one of five children, four boys and a girl. At seven years old Walt’s imagination begun and he would sell sketches and drawings to nearby neighbors. Instead of doing his schoolwork, he spent time doodling pictures of animals, and nature.
Walt attended McKinley High school in Chicago where he divided his time between drawing and photography, while also contributing to the School papers. He also attended the Academy of Fine Art’s at night where he worked on perfecting his talent of drawing. When the Disney Family moved to Kansas City Disney’s talent for artistic drawing continued to develop. Besides drawing Walt gained a knack for acting and performing in front of his friends at school. With his teachers permission he would tell stories on the blackboard with illustration. Later on, he would sneak out of the without permission to perform comedy skits at local theaters.
During the fall of 1918 Walt tried to enlist in the military, but he was only sixteen years old and was not accepted. He decided to join the Red Cross and was sent to France, where he spent the next year driving an ambulance that was covered from stem to stern. Not in the usual camouflage but in Disney cartoons none the less.
When Walt came back from France to Kansas City he wanted to pursue a career in commercial art. He produced some short films for companies and by the time he began to create The Alice Comedies his company was broke and he went bankrupt. Of course that didn’t stop Disney, and at 21 he packed his bag and went to Hollywood. That’s where he made his vision of The Alice Comedies a success and made a name for himself in Hollywood.
Walt found love and on July 13, 1925 married Lillian Bounds, they went on to be blessed with two daughters, Diane and Sharon. November 18, 1928 Mickey Mouse was born when he appeared on The Colony Theater in New York. Walt actually wanted to name him Mortimer mouse but his wife Lillian didn’t like it and said “why don’t you name him Mickey”. In 1932, Flowers and Trees, the first color cartoon, won Walt the first of his studio’s many Academy Awards. In 1937, he released The Old Mill, the first short subject to utilize the multi-plane camera technique. Which is a special motion picture camera used in the traditional animation process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another. This creates a three-dimensional effect.
On December 21, 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated musical feature, premiered at the Carthay Theater in Los Angeles. The film produced at the unheard cost of $1,499,000 during the depths of the Depression, the film is still considered one of the great feats and imperishable monuments of the motion picture industry. During the next five years, Walt Disney Studios completed other full-length animated classics such as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi.
Walt Disney’s dream of an amusement park came true, as the first Disneyland Park opened in 1955 and it is now presently one of 11 parks located all over the world where all your dreams come true. Walt also became a television pioneer, Disney began television production in 1954, and was among the first to present full-color programming with his Wonderful World of Color in 1961. Walt used to say “all our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. He definitely did.
Despite rumors of Walt being frozen, cryogenics weren’t developed enough to freeze a human being when he sadly passed away on December 15, 1966. He actually never even thought of freezing his body and always talked about being cremated although his body ended up being buried.
In closing I’d like to say that it was a pleasure to research and write about such a wonderful man. It was truly a magical experience to learn more about his life, and share what I have learned with you through this essay. I’d like to end with a quote from Walt Disney himself that fits nicely with the end of this essay. “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better”.
Walt Disney: A Short Biography, (n.d.), Retrieved from
Walt Disney: Biography, (n.d.), Retrieved from