Happy Birthday Mr. Disney


It’s appropriate, I think, that Uncle Walt was born in and died in the month of December. Because in a way, he’s sort of our real-life Santa Claus.

He’s made millions of people smile and laugh, spanning the continents and generations. Some of the best Christmas presents many of us received as kids were those vinyl VHS Disney movie cases (remember those? – can’t they do something similar with DVDs?)?

He didn’t live at the North Pole, but created something better: Disneyland – the happiest place on earth (this is a point of contention with my Floridian wife who maintains that Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is better).

He built an empire that that through the years has produced more toys and action figures than any other toy manufacturer. (Actually, I don’t know if that’s true. Can someone look that up?)

He wasn’t fat and jolly, but he was skinny and kind of grumpy. However, he still made many children – and the children within – very happy.

He didn’t own eight tiny reindeer, but created the seven most memorable dwarves the world has ever known.

Happy birthday, Mr. Disney. And thank you for everything.

Will anyone be seeing Saving Mr. Banks in a few days? What is the greatest legacy Uncle Walt left behind, in your opinion? Favorite quotes? Favorite Disney movies? 

Recommended reading: Walt Disney by Neal Gabler 

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

37 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Mr. Disney

  1. I grew up to weekly Disneland show – I think Sunday nights – it was wonderful. He always talked first and then introduced the cartoon or the movie (Loved Davy Crocket) of the night. A wonderful man.

  2. I’ve always been a lover of classic Disney. I’m actually looking forward to seeing Saving Mr. Banks. I think the thing I loved most about Walt was that he believed in making the impossible possible.

  3. Mom is a HUGE… I mean H.U.G.E. Disney stalker.. I mean FAN. The Hotel Thompson where I live looks like Mickey Mouse has thrown up in every room, inside and outside of the home – snorts. I know mom can’t wait to see Saving Mr. Banks as well. Did you know that for holidays, Walt Disney would give his housekeeper stock in Disney instead of cash. She died a multi-millionaire 🙂 XOXO – Bacon

  4. Wow! I love this! I love Disney… Disneyland is by far the very best place on earth. We are the same age by the way (Disneyland and me). Disney World is a good substitute when you can’t get to Anaheim, but the original is my favorite. I love Beauty and the Beast, and Bambi was the first movie I went to. My dad had to take me out of the theater when his mother was shot because I was hysterical… I still cry when I see it. I can’t wait to see Mr Banks… it will be great. Thanks for this post. DAF

    1. I think The Lion King was for my generation as Bambi was for my parent’s generation. I often wonder what will be the big Disney tear-jerker for our kids… 🙂

      1. We saw the stage production of Lion King at the Pantages theater in L.A. for our daughter’s 19th birthday, it was incredible, if you haven’t seen it, make a point to go, I cried through the entire production.

        1. Loved it. But I’ve got to say, Beauty and the Beast took the cake as far as Broadway shows go. Talk about tears and beauty.

  5. My memories of all the older Disney movies are of watching them with my kids in the late 90’s, etc. They are teens now. My mom told me years ago that she took me to see Snow White when I was 5 or something which would have been in 1965 or 1966 (I guess it was in the theater again then for some reason??) because I know it came out in 1937!! But I don’t remember going to it. I do remember seeing The Apple Dumpling Gang in the theater with her when it came out in 1975. My favorite Disney movie, though, is Bambi, because I love all the songs in it and I played the mother rabbit in a play of it when I was in 1st grade. I still cry when Bambi’s mom gets killed, and my kids hate that movie because of that.

    1. Disney movies would periodically get re-released into the theaters to keep the memory of them alive, since back then movies didn’t “come out on video” as no one had tape players. Pretty ingenious to re-release them, in my opinion. The re-release I remember seeing in theaters was 101 Dalmatians…

  6. My favorite Disney movie was Robin Hood. For the longest time, I thought he really was a fox! 🙂 When my oldest daughter was born we owned The Little Mermaid on VHS, or “Little Maid” as she was known in our home. Lovely analogy, to compare Uncle Walt to Santa Claus!

  7. Reading through all these Disney memories makes me smile. (:

    I believe my mom took me to a re-release of “Snow White”, long ago. The first video she bought me was “The Jungle Book”, and I can still vaguely remember when she brought home “Aladdin” (still one of my absolute favorites), “Cinderella”, and “The Aristocats”. For most of the rest of our collection, it just feels like we’ve always had them. ^.^

    Speaking of “Robin Hood”, it was actually a while before I saw it from the very beginning; before we bought our own copy of the VHS, all we had was a recording of the movie from an airing on TV, and we’d somehow missed the opening credits!

    1. The opening credits to Robin Hood is the best part! I distinctly remember the day I first saw Aladdin and The Lion King on video for the fist time – great memories!

  8. As a WDW annual pass holder, Walt has left a lasting impact my life (and finances). I’ve only run one half-marathon and one full marathon and both were through Disney World. I’m training for my second 26.2 in January (also through WDW) and I can’t really imagine running such long distances anywhere else than the happiest place on Earth!

    I’m looking forward to Saving Mr. Banks so much!

    1. The first time I visited WDW was in January 2004, and I remember watching the marathon runners from up above in the castle. At least it wasn’t blistering cold!

  9. Favorite movies – The Jungle Book (1967) – The last animated film under Mr. Disney’s guidance. Great voice actors and music! Also, The Parent Trap (1961). I saw it on it’s re-release – my first movie crush – Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills.

      1. What do you make of it? My perspective is almost like the wonder of creation. Inviting a new spirit to the mix. A new wonder to observe, get to know, feel out. Curiosity perhaps. I also feel like all the other characters some how add to the newbie. What is your interpretation?

    1. Good list! For years I’ve been saying, “Why doesn’t Disney make a movie about Disney” and now they have 🙂

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