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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Thought About Walt Disney

Walt Disney's Last Official Disneyland Photo
A Disney Parks Blog Photo

Disney Parks Blog re-posted the above photograph of Walt Disney and Mickey at Disneyland. They originally posted it last December commemorating the 45th anniversary of Walt's passing. It is the last official photograph of Walt taken at Disneyland and dates to the fall of 1966. Walt Disney died December 15th of that year after being diagnosed with lung cancer about 6 weeks prior to his death.

Do you know what I think when I see that picture of Walt? I see a man who loved his park and loved his life. You can see the pride bursting through him. He loved imagining, creating, and bringing childhood memories to life and was pleased to share his creations with others.

A MiceChat reader posed a simple poll question on its forum a week or so ago. Paraphrasing, the question simply asked "Is Disneyland better now that it ever has been?" Sure it is. There's more to see, more to do, all the while keeping Walt's commitment to detail and making sure his park was fun for people of all ages. No, the park isn't perfect. There have been plenty of missteps along the way even when Walt was alive but the park continually refines itself to where it is a place that never gets old, even after almost 60 years of existence. 

But there is a BUT...... Walt Disney loved his park. It was a personal achievement of the grandest kind. I doubt that you could apply the word "love" to corporate Disney and the people that run it. Disneyland (and the Disneyland Resort as a whole) is a revenue stream, a small piece of a very large media corporation, a place designed to reach out a grab as much money as it can from the people who visit. 

Not that Walt Disney did not want his park to make money. It had to or fail. But making a profit kind went hand in hand with dreaming, imagining, creating, developing, and building. Today, Disney accountants set a dollar figure and the people that run the park are primarily in charge of seeing what they can do to reach it. Blue Sky Disney has been replaced with the color of money.

Do yourself of favor on your next visit to Disneyland. Try and look for the Disneyland that Walt Disney loved and try not to reach for your wallet so much.

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