"When your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star your dreams come true." Walt Disney is by far one of the influential people of the twentieth century. Try to imagine a world without Walt Disney's magic, his movies, or even his theme parks. He has signal handedly shaped the entertainment industry in to what we know today. He pioneered the fields of animation, movies, and entertainment. Walt Disney was our bridge from the past to the future. Walt had a very early interest in drawing and art.

When he was seven years old, he sold small sketches and drawings to nearby neighbors. Instead of doing his homework, he doodled pictures of animals and nature. He attended McKinley High School in Chicago. There he divided his attention between drawing and photography. At night he attended the academy of fine arts to better his drawing abilities. At his teacher's invitation, he would tell his classmates stories while illustrating on the chalkboard.

At the age of sixteen he began driving an ambulance for the American Red Cross. After a year of driving for the Red Cross, Walt decided to pursue a career in commercial arts, which soon led to his experiments in animation (Walt Disney, Biography, 2002). He began producing short animated films for local businesses. During this period he combined live performers with cartoon figures, made most popular in the movie Mary Poppins.

Soon after that he returned to straight cartoon format, he produced twenty-six cartoons in the Oswald the Rabbit cartoon series. After his twenty-sixth cartoon in that series he lost his rights to the Oswald character in a New York contract dispute. He knew he needed a dynamic new character. Referring to a series of sketches he settled on a cartoon mouse as his next star. Originally the mouse's name was Mortimer, but thankfully his wife suggested the name Mickey. Soon after that he had finished two Mickey Mouse cartoons.

However prior to their release he saw his first talkie and realized that the future of films was in sound (Walt's Story, 2002). Immediately he went to work on a third Mickey Mouse cartoon called Steamboat Willie incorporating sound and therefore revolutionizing the film and cartoon industry. After its success sound was added to the first set of Mickey Mouse cartoons and they were released. Within three years it was said that Mickey Mouse was the most widely recognized figure in the world.

Disney himself was now being acclaimed as one of the two top geniuses in filmmaking. Famed Russian director Sergei Eisenstein pronounced Mickey Mouse to be America's most original cultural contribution. In 1932 he was the first in animated cartooning to use the Technicolor process. Walt Disney held the patent for Technicolor for two years allowing him to make the only color cartoons.

In 1937 he premiered his first full-length animated musical feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Ro the & Lohr, 1953, p. 149). The film is considered one of the greatest feats and impressionable monuments of the motion industry. In the 1960's his emphasis shifted to live action films, particularly the field of nature documentaries such as his true-life adventure series. Overall his animations have remained timeless and his movies leave a lasting impression on everyone who watches them. Many claim that Disney's most important accomplishment was his Disneyland theme park in California.

However till the day he died Disney insisted that Disneyland was not an amusement park, he claimed that it was his own private amusement area. Being his own "private amusement park" he insisted on it being very clean and organized. Disneyland has entertained millions of people including presidents, kings and queens, and royalty from all over the globe. However he still had his eye on the future. He had a dream of creating Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) He imagined EPCOT to be a living showcase for the creativity of American industry. Unfortunately there was not enough virgin land in California so he directed the purchase of forty-three square miles of land in the center of Florida.

Here he personally directed and designed his EPCOT. However the other Disney executives did not feel that this park would stand on its own. So he quite masterfully designed a whole new (Disney World). Today the Walt Disney Resort in Florida includes the Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Center, and Disney's MGM Studios Theme Park and several hotel resort centers (De Meglio, 1987). The fantastic success of Disneyland and later Walt Disney World stood as final testimony to Disney's courage. Disney single handedly shaped the theme park industry into what it is today.

Disney is also a pioneer when it comes to educating. In his early years he made many educational films about nature. Also his love of history influenced him to produce several historical films. Not only did he educate threw his "educational" movies but also threw his more popular animated musicals. All Disney cartoons and movies have very strong moral values attached to them. These movies teach children the difference between right and wrong.

However they do it in fun and exciting ways, often threw music. No doubt Disney is one of today's most popular teachers. Every time a child watches a Disney movie They cant help but learn a moral lesson (Langer, 1999). Walt Disney is a legend; a folklore of the twentieth century his worldwide popularity is based upon the ideals which his name represents, animation, optimism, creation, and self made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney did more to touch the hearts, minds, and emotions of millions of Americans than any other person in this past century.

Through his work he brought joy, happiness, and a universal means of communications to the people of every nation. He brought us closer to the future while teaching us the past. It is certain that there will never as great a man as Walt Disney. "I only hope that we don't loose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse.".