If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

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“All our dreams can come true, only if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walt Disney.

Disney has been such an integral part of our childhood.  From all the princesses that left us in awe, be it Ariel, Snow-White, Belle, or my favorite Ariel to the world-renowned Mickey Mouse. Watching the Disney Channel, and visiting Disney theme parks, even now, as a teenager, fills my heart with joy.

We all know about the Disney characters, but the man behind it all is lesser-known. Walt Elias Disney, also known as Uncle Walt by his admirers, was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago.  When he was about four years old, his parents, namely Elias and Flora, moved the family to a farm in Missouri. 

Walt enjoyed living on the farm with his three elder brothers and one younger sister.  It was during his time in Missouri that he developed a love for drawing and art.

After four long years in Missouri, the Disneys moved to Kansas City. Walt continued to draw and even took art classes every weekend. He traded his drawing with the local barber for a free haircut. One summer, Walt got a job working on a train to sell newspapers and snacks. He thoroughly enjoyed his job and remained fascinated by trains for the rest of his life.

About the time he was entering high school, his family moved to the beautiful city of Chicago. He started taking classes at the Chicago Art Institute and made numerous drawings for the school newspaper. 

Later, he worked at an art studio and then in an advertising company. In this time, he met Ubbe Iwerks and learned about animation. 

Walt wanted to make his own animations and even cartoons. He started a company called Laugh-O-Gram which created short animated cartoons. The cartoons became popular, though the business did not make enough money and Walt became bankrupt. 

Disney was not the one to be stopped by the occurrence of a failure. In 1923, he moved to Hollywood, California, and opened a new business with one of his brothers, Roy called the Disney Brothers Studio. He hired a number of animators and they together developed the popular character of Oswald- The Lucky Rabbit. This business was a huge success. However, later Universal Studios took control over the Oswald trademark and all the animators while Disney and Iwerks were left alone.

Walt had to start over for another time. This time he created a character called Mickey Mouse. He also created the first animated film to have sound in it. The film was a great success. He continued to work and created more characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. 

In 1932, Disney planned on making Snow-White. It took over five years to complete the film which was finally released in 1937.  This film was a massive success and became the top film of 1938.

He continued making movies, which included, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, and Peter Pan.  Always coming up with new ideas, Walt got the idea to introduce theme parks with rides and entertainment based on his films. The first Disneyland theme park was opened in 1955 and was a huge success. The parks are still a popular destination among tourists from all over the world.

He won numerous awards consisting including 6 Academy Awards, Grand Biennale Art Trophy, Grammy Trustees Award, and many more. 

Disney passed away on December 15, 1966, due to lung cancer. His legacy lives on to this day. Disney films and parks are enjoyed by millions of people each year even today. His company continues to produce movies filled with entertainment each year.

His life was defined by his own quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

By – Alayna Malhotra

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