It’s hard to believe that Disney’s been animating for nearly a century. This week, 92 years ago, Walt Disney made the trip to California with his brother Roy to start what would later be called Walt Disney Pictures. It’s hard to imagine America today without it. Yesterday, Disney created and tweeted a 92-second video featuring 92 years-worth of Disney films to mark the occasion. (See the video below.)
Disney and his creations managed to penetrate nearly every aspect of American pop-culture from fashion to entertainment to travel. I think every writer and artist dreams of “making it big,” but thinking your musings will have an everlasting stamp on pop-culture, that borders on delusional.
But Disney did it.
It’s hard to imagine a world without him. No trick-or-treaters dressed as Disney Princesses. No Disney World. No Mickey Mouse. It makes me depressed just thinking about it.
So what was Disney’s greatest gift to modern America? Was it licensed merchandising, theme parks, or the feature-length animated film? I think it is something bigger than all three of these things.
Without Walt Disney, I wouldn’t be a writer today. Not only has he inspired me to dream big, he is the reason I—and many others—love fairytales. Without him, I might never have learned to love the stories of Snow White and Cinderella. Without him, I might never have opened the pages to Grimm’s Fairytales and discovered The Three Army Surgeons and The Girl With No Hands. Without him, I would have never wondered where these stories came from and I would have never written The Fairytale Keeper series. I don’t know that most people can say Walt Disney changed the course of their lives like I can, but surely he brought some sense of whimsy and joy to all our lives. In my opinion, that is his biggest contribution—making millions of people happy and proving they too could follow their dreams.
So for this, I say we raise our venti macchiatos to an American legend. Thank you, Walt Disney, for bringing magic to our lives and daring us to dream.
Below is the 92-second animation tweeted by Disney earlier this week. Beneath that, is a six-minute documentary on the evolution of Mickey Mouse and Disney animation. Enjoy and share!