Walter E. Disney

How he achieved success against all odds

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Walt Disney; voice actor, entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, film producer, and creator of one of the top vacation destinations of the world, Walt Disney World. In addition, Disney got there with only an eighth grade education. Disney overcame hardships and difficulties to create the fantasies that still live on today.
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Early Life

Walter E. Disney was born on December 5, 1901. Disney lived most of his early childhood in Marceline Missouri, where he began his love of art. In 1911, Disney and his family moved to Kansas. He attended McKinley High School, and took night courses at an art institute. Disney dropped out of High School at age 16 to join the army, but instead was rejected by the army, joined the Red Cross, and traveled to France to drive an ambulance. Walt had nearly no foundation of learning, and didn't even have anything more than an eighth grade education. Most of Disney's brothers have run away by now, for they were fed up with their relationship with their father.

Walt Disney's First Cartoons

Walt Disney returned from France in 1919, when he first started creating cartoons. His brother Roy got him a job at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, and from there he began his work at the Kansas City Ad Company. He began to experiment with the camera and cut out animation. Walter decided he would make his own animation company based upon his experimental cartoons, Laugh-O-Grams. Walt convinced a Kansas theater to show his cartoons, and they were a huge success. So huge of a success in fact, that he decided to build his own film studio. Sadly, Walter eventually faced bankruptcy, and was forced to close down his studio. But that wasn't enough to stop Disney.

Disney's Most Sensational Creation: Mickey Mouse

After Disney's bankruptcy, he and his brother pooled their money and moved to Hollywood to seek success with their cartoons. One of their original employees from the studio wen along with them. From there, Disney Brothers Studio was born. Their first deal was with a New York distributor named Margaret Winkler. They later found that Winkler had stolen the rights to one of the Disney Brothers new characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Disney had yet another hardship to overcome; and he did. Just after he found out about the stolen character rights, he came out with his new and most legendary creation, that still lives on today- Mickey Mouse. The first two Mickey Mouse films were silent, and failed to find distribution. But then, when Walt created Steamboat Willie, complete with sound, It was an immediate hit.

Disney's Meteoric Rise

Not soon after the creation of Mickey, many of his friends were brought to the movie screen (1929). These friends include Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto. In 1937, Disney Brothers Studios created their first full length movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Even in the midst of depression, it created an astounding $1.5 million. That was the start of a series of awarded and movies that are still enjoyed by families today. Along with all of this success, there were slight setbacks along the way, such as a strike that took years to recover from. But yet again, Disney persevered.


After Disney's fast success, he created a theme park in California called Disneyland. Disneyland cost $17 million, and was opened on July 17, 1955. After a long day of mishaps, Disney persevered and the park opened as a vacation destination where kids could explore and meet their favorite Disney characters. Not long after Disney land was opened, many more global locations were being opened because of the success.

A Tragic End

Walt Disney was just in the beginning of his greatest creation ever, Disney World, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died a tragic death at age 65 on December 15, 1966. His brother Roy completed what was to be called Disney World in honor of Walter E. Disney's accomplishments and impact on children of then and today.

Works Cited A&E Networks Television. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

"9 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Obstacles - K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources." K12 Learning Liftoff Free Parenting Education and Homeschooling Resources. 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

"Overcoming Obstacles: Hard Work and Persistence Paid Off For Walt Disney - K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources." K12 Learning Liftoff Free Parenting Education and Homeschooling Resources. 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.