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Freaky Fridays: Walt Disney Week

Walt and Lillian Disney had a special relationship. She chose to keep the home fires burning while he chased his latest and greatest dream. While she often had misgivings about some of his riskier projects, she would be his biggest supporter through it all. That doesn’t mean that she tolerated all of his eccentricities or the baggage that came from his Hollywood career. She required that he leave his stress at the office and shunned most of the trappings of Hollywood life.

One particular annoyance of hers were the raggedy hats he used to wear. In fact, she once tried to get rid of a particularly raggedy one by throwing it into a ring after they attended a bullfight on vacation. Walt thought fast and snagged it before it was lost forever.

Lillian had nearly forgotten about the hat by the next Valentine’s Day when she was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a very unique vase. Walt had the hat bronzed, its brim formed into a heart. A very special gift indeed.

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Theme Park Thursdays: Walt Disney Week

Walt Disney’s most favorite place in the world was his Magic Kingdom- DISNEYLAND. He loved showing it off to his guests, exploring every nook and cranny and dreaming up ways to improve it.

As the only Disney theme park fully designed and personally built by Walt Disney himself, it holds a special place in history. It is the physical manifestation of Mr. Disney’s dreams and hopes- his magical gift to the world.
For those of us who enjoy the entertainment that Walt Disney’s company still provides to billions the world over, we probably owe DISNEYLAND our gratitude; the magical park out in Anaheim brought Walt Disney Productions the strength and stability to grow into the massive entertainment company it has become.

On many occasions, Walt Disney was seen around DISNEYLAND just staring off into the distance. Park staff knew better than to disturb him when they saw him deep in thought; it was during these times that he was dreaming up new ways to expand his beloved DISNEYLAND.

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Toontown Tuesdays: Walt Disney Week

Walt Disney oversaw the creation of countless legendary characters and films. It was one of his first characters, however, that always held a special place in his heart- Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney on a long train ride back from losing his first hit character. Mickey’s popularity exploded, saving the Disneys from financial ruin and establishing their studio that grew into the multi-billion dollar enterprise it is today.

Walt Disney sensed that Mickey would be something special from the very beginning. He was fiercely protective of him and that showed itself when Walt auditioned voice actors for the role of Mickey’s voice. He kept interrupting them, asking them to try a higher pitch, showing them how he envisioned Mickey should sound. Frustrated at the delays and cost of the auditions, Roy Disney stepped in and suggested that Walt just provide the voice himself. Walt became the voice of Mickey Mouse up until studio business forced him to hand off the important role to studio employee Jimmy McDonald in 1948. 

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Music Mondays: Walt Disney Week

Walt Disney’s favorite song was Feed the Birds from the film Mary Poppins. After a busy week at the studio he would often meet with Richard and Robert Sherman and at the conclusion of their meeting he would typically ask them to “play it”, which meant he wanted them to sing the song for him.

Despite Walt’s fondness for Feed the Birds, Richard Sherman has often said that the song he most associates with Mr. Disney is There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. He believes the song captures Walt’s optimism for the future, which is what he and his brother had in mind when they wrote it.

Years later when Marvel Films was looking for a song to capture the same optimism for the Stark Expo featured in Iron Man 2, they enlisted the Sherman Brothers to write it. Make Way For Tomorrow Today was the result- an upbeat song that holds out hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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