Walter Elias Disney At a time in American history when jobs were scarce and money was hard to come by, one mouse and his group of animated friends, with their comical antics brought smiles to the faces of children and adults alike. The mouse's name was Mickey, and with his creation came the birth of a multi billion dollar corporate empire, all because of on eman's dream. Walt Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1901, and was brought up on a small farm in a town called Mar celine, Missouri, but later moved to Kansas City. It was in Kansas City that Walt first began experimenting with his artistic capabilities on Saturday mornings when he would go to a local museum and take drawing classes.

The instruction was not exactly great, but it was a beginning. At the age of seventeen, Disney dropped out of school to become an ambulance driver overseas in W. W. I, but returned to America in 1919, when he applied his desire for art to a lucrative career. He became an apprentice as a commercial illustrator, creating advertising cartoons. By 1922, Walt had joined forces with Ub Iw irks, and they began their own commercial advertising firm.

Itdidn't last long however, by 1923, Disney backed out of the business. Although the venture was a failure, Iwirk's talent was one of the main reasons for Disney's later success. (Gale Group) Walt, now living in Hollywood, began production immediately on his first animation, Steamboat Willy, which featured a cheeky little mouse named, "Mortimer," voiced by Walt. The mouse however was later renamed by Disney's wife, Lillian, to," Mickey." The production was the first ever to synchronize audio and visual effects. Walt looked at animation as a new way of telling stories through a medium that had no boundaries. This initial success led Walt to invest his own profits into newer and better productions featuring Mickey's new gang of wacky characters; Goofy, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Minnie.

The productions were an overnight worldwide success, which led Disney and his, at the time, small team to go even further, expanding their studios and payroll, and releasing the first-ever full-length fully-animated feature presentation in 1937 entitled, Snow White. With the country still trying to recover from the economic disasters of the Great Depression, the production of Snow White was completely astonishing, and the fact that it was successful was even more astonishing, to many of Walt's colleagues, including one animator named Bill Peet, a longtime animator and production assistant of Walt's. Peet described Walt as a man of many faces. He could be on the highest of spirits one day and in the lowest of spirits the very next, and you never could tell just which Walt you might run into on any given day.

(Peet, Bill) The success of Snow White, in combination with Walt receiving an honorary academy award in 1939, led to the production of other full-length movies such as, Pinnochio, Fantasia, and the classic tale of Bambi. Disney's studios also took in earnings from smaller, less-notable wildlife films in the late 30's and early 40's. In 1950 however Disney's studios began experimenting with a new medium: live-action video, which they used to produce the movie, Treasure Island, in 1950, the success of which led to the even more successful, and possibly the most beloved live-action Disney film of all time, Mary Poppins (Gale Group). In creating Mary Poppins, Disney's studios used state of the art special effects technology, including blue screen, still a popular method of adjusting and changing backgrounds today.

The film was for the most part a musical, and heavily sentimental, which is probably why it was as successful as it was. Disney was a master at plucking the heartstrings of his audience, young and old. (Hahn, Don) In 1954 Disney received four Academy awards, and in that same year his empire continued to grow with the addition of television show production to the list of media the company used. The first two shows were the Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro. Thirty-nine hours of Zorro episodes and three-hundred-thirty hours of the Mickey Mouse Club we reproduced when Walt died. Since the first two shows aired in the 1950's, the Disney Studios created over 280 more television shows, until Walt's death.

There is still no end in sight due to the annexation to the Disney empire of multiple Disney television networks, the most-popular of which, the Disney Channel, features all-Disney programming twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (Hahn, Don). In 1953, Walt released the idea of building a huge theme park in California to his associates. Among the members of the company the idea was a hit, but financial issues held up production, as Walt states, "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral." However, with the helpful negotiation skills of his supportive older brother Roy armed only with the artwork of a few skilled "Imagineers," and his brother's word, Roy successfully convinced the bankers to give Walt a loan to build his dream park. Construction began immediately (Imagineers, The).

On July 18, 1955, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Disneyland opened its gates for the very first time, and by 1966 was the most popular theme park on the face of the earth with 6. 7 million people visiting it in its first decade of business. Disney's dream of building a park home to all of his characters, came to him one day after watching his own children having fun on rides at a local theme park. Disney once said of his park, "I think most of all what I want Disneyland to be is a happy place... where parents and children can have fun together." That is certainly what it became with classic rides like Space Mountain, and 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea, along with a brand new theme park, California Adventure, which was completed and opened in 2001. (Imagineers, The) Sadly, Disney did not get to see all of the effects that his dreams had on the entire world, for he died a fairly early death on December 15, 1966 at St.

Joseph's Hospital in Los Angeles, California due to circulatory problems. His death was unexpected and very tragic to all who knew him and also to his legions of fans worldwide. (Gale Group) In 1971, in Orlando, Florida, the Disney Corporation's most successful theme park opened to the public. It was called Disney World, and it now consists of six theme parks, three water parks, a gigantic sports complex, and twenty-two hotels and resorts. (Walt Disney World - Parks and More) The park has become so large over the past thirty-one years that it was forced to become its own, self-sufficient city named, Buena Vista, after a lake that is near the park. (Imagineers, The) Much of the Disney Corporation's business now takes place in Orlando and Buena Vista.

The Team Disney Building, opened in 1991, in Orlando houses offices for 1, 200 employees and is 840 feet long, which if turned sideways would be the tallest building in Florida. The office building was designed by the world-renowned and very artistic architect A rata Is ozaki who was hired first-hand by Michael Eisner, the Disney Corporation CEO. In 1992 won a national honor award from the American Institute of Architects, which proved that although it was Disney, it could be sophisticated and upscale. This revolutionized the way the architectural world looked at Disney architecture, and also drew its attention to two other office buildings in California, which had previously gone unrecognized for their ingenious design; the Team Disney Animation Studio, and the Team Disney Building in Burbank, California.

(Dunlop, Beth) Since the time of Walt Disney's death the Disney Corporation has opened two international theme parks, Euro Disney which is located in France, and Disney World Tokyo, which is located in Japan, neither of which were as successful as the Disney Corporation's North American venues. (Gale Group) Walt Disney died in 1966, but he is still a household personality, and his amazing legacy lives on through movies, television, four of the world's largest theme parks, dollar corporation, and one mouse named Mickey, who through all these years has brought a smile to the face of many. Walt Disney changed what it meant to truly have quality fun. He brought parents and children together, through storybooks, around the television, in front of movie screens, and in his own lands of dream and wonder. Even through the Great Depression he managed to entertain the most depressed people there were, but there was one thing that Walt Disney always wanted everyone to remember, "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing-that it was all started by a mouse." Bibliography 1. Peet, Bill.

Bill Peet: An Autobiography. USA: Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company, 1989. 2. Dunlop, Beth. Building a Dream. USA: Harry N.

Abrams, Incorporated, 1996. 3. Hahn, Don. Animation Magic.

USA: Disney Press, 1996. 4. Imagineers, The. Walt Disney Imagine ering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real. USA: Hyperion, 1995.

5. Gale Group. Disney, (Walter Elias) Walt. 2002.

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Walt Disney World - Parks and More. 2002. web February 24, 2002.