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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What do I find so interesting about Walt Disney

Toward the end of the most recent event up at the Walt Disney Family Museum, Walt’s granddaughter turned a question, asked of her and her siblings, around on the audience, “What you do find so interesting about her Grandpa?”

The question reignited a series of thoughts I have had for some time, and the real purpose of my blog.

So Joanna, here is my answer to your question.

There are, in my opinion, many the easy answers.  Walt was a master of storytelling, or he was a creative genius, or one of the true visionaries of his time.  There is the always present evidence that he was not afraid to fail.  Better put, he was always willing to try something new.  Walt always dreamed big, and had the amazing ability to continually reinvent himself.  He possessed a uniquely balanced view of nostalgia and progress…  This list could go on forever, and each and every one of these is reason enough to support anyone’s grounds for why they find Walt Disney so interesting.  I think there is a much deeper esoteric, and even more deeply psychological, reason for the huge number of people that find Walt Disney so interesting, and even the same reason some choose to admonish him.

A group of 10 year old boys was traversed stealthily into a field of mustard plants on an empty lot, quietly blazing hidden trails to a secret hideout in the center.  Once in this secret lair, the plants have been trampled to fashion a soft bed on the ground on which to lie, laughter rises into the air as these young tell stories, confess fantasies, and daydream of things not of this world.  A young man lies on a disguised platform, built onto the branches of a 100 year old oak, mesmerized by the patterns created as the afternoon light passes through the leaves.  That same young man lies under a nighttime sky, viewing all the stars in the heavens and dreams of alien worlds and the adventures to be had in that vast expanse.  These are the dreams and fantasies of a young mind as yet unfettered by the harsh truth of reality.  And… they are the memories of my youth, ones that I have had the pleasure of unburying and revisiting in recent years.  I think they are not so un-similar to the memories and dreams locked away within the psyche of many or most adults.  In 1st Corinthians 13:11 Paul said, "When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things."  As we approach adulthood we are encouraged, and in some cases almost forced, to put away childish things.  All too often those childish things include our youthful dreams and aspirations, which we sacrificed for the practicality of what we think, is real, and we live our lives in a quiet desperation trying to discover that thing which is missing.

So Joanna, what does this all have to do with my interest in your Grandpa?

My interest in Walt Disney lies in trying to understand the man, and what I believe is his true gift to us.  One of the paths to a truly fulfilling life, it was Walt who allowed me, through his body of work, the rediscovery of my inner child and not only my acceptance of his existence, but to embrace him.  I don’t know, nor do I think we will ever know for sure, but I believe your Grandpa had an innate understanding, if not the actual consciences realization, that we all need to embrace our inner child to lead a truly fulfilling life. 

I think those who are interested in Walt Disney, and his positive contributions to our society, are searching for these answers or have already discovered them, as I have in my life.  Those who choose to excoriate him for his accomplishments and contributions fear what they do not understand and cannot embrace, and they are angered by those who have or want to achieve that enlightenment.

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at
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