Walt Disney was born in Chicago, IL on December 5, 1901. In 1906, his family moved to a Missouri farm, where he had an idyllic early childhood and first learned to draw. The farm failed, and in 1911 his family moved to Kansas City, MO where he rose at 3:30 a.m. to deliver newspapers on his father’s paper route and fell in love with vaudeville and movies.
Roy Disney, Walt's old brother by eight years, was his confidant and mentor. Often Walt would fall asleep huddled close to his older brother, wondering aloud if the man who beat them could really be their father and why their mother never stepped in to stop the abuse. “When we were kids,” Disney told one of his associates many years later, “Roy and I slept in the same bed. I used to wet the bed and I’ve been pissing up Roy’s leg ever since.”
Fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas”
He tried to enlist in the U.S. Army. Rejected for being underage
- By the time Walt had started to create The Alice Comedies, which was about a real girl and her adventures in an animated world, Walt ran out of money, and his company Laugh-O-Grams went bankrupted. Instead of giving up, Walt packed his suitcase and with his unfinished print of The Alice Comedies in hand, headed for Hollywood to start a new business. He was not yet twenty-two.
- The early flop of The Alice Comedies inoculated Walt against fear of failure; he had risked it all three or four times in his life.
- Walt's brother, Roy O. Disney, was already in California, with an immense amount of sympathy and encouragement, and $250. Pooling their resources, they borrowed an additional $500, and set up shop in their uncle's garage.
- It was Walt's enthusiasm and faith in himself, and others, that took him straight to the top of Hollywood society.
- Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie, the world's first synchronized sound cartoon, which premiered at the Colony Theater in New York on November 18, 1928.
- Walt's drive to perfect the art of animation was endless.
- 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.
- Probably the most painful time of Walt's private life, was the accidental death of his mother in 1938. After the great success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt and Roy bought their parents, Elias and Flora Disney, a home close to the studios. Less than a month later Flora died of asphyxiation caused by a faulty furnace in the new home. The terrible guilt of this haunted Walt for the rest of his life.
- Walt Disney's dream of a clean, and organized amusement park, came true, as Disneyland Park opened in 1955. Walt Disney is a legend; a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideals which his name represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition.
- Within a few years of the opening, Disney began plans for a new theme park and Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow in Florida. It was still under construction when, in 1966, Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on December 15, 1966, at the age of 65. Disney was cremated, and his ashes interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. After his brother's death, Roy carried on the plans to finish the Florida theme park, which opened in 1971 under the name Walt Disney World.