Saturday, June 18, 2011

All our Dreams can Come True...a Tribute to Walt Disney

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them" This is a quote from Walt Disney, a man with unfailing determination and vision.

I used to look down my nose at the vast Disney empire with its amusement parks, cutesy fuzzy animals, and too formulaic movies. I was especially annoyed when he took my favorite children's stories of all time, A.A. Milne's, Winnie the Pooh and "Disneyfied" them. In the original, the characters have depth and the humor is sweet but sophisticated. Not so in Disney's version.

As I have grown older and wiser, I have to admit that good, old Walt was quite a guy. There was a lot more to him than a keen sense of what would sell to the masses. He truly was a visionary and had the single mindedness and perseverance to bring his dreams to fruition. 

He knew exactly what he was about.... what "Disney" was about, and knew how to lead others along with him without falling into the traps that most of us do along the way: self doubt, distraction, running down side paths and forgetting the main focus. 
"Disneyland is the star, everything else is in the supporting role." This quote may not sound earth shatteringly brilliant but it gives great insight into how he built his empire. He knew that if money becomes the focus, the dream will be lost."Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money."

I think that is why so many great companies falter when they get bought out by huge corporations. Remember how cool Snapple used to be? "Made from the best stuff on earth." It was quirky and cool. Now it seems to be just another bottled beverage lost in a crowded field since it was bought by Dr Pepper. They should have taken a few lessons from Walt Disney.

My favorite Disney movie is "Meet the Robinsons." I love it because it is quirky and different and doesn't follow a formula. I watched it thinking it was just a light hearted romp until the very end and they hit us with that quote from (guess who?)..... Walt. Suddenly, the movie became more than mindless entertainment. It was a testimony to a great man.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Walt Disney

May I remain curious and always moving forward.

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