8 Walt Disney Facts That Will Shock You

8 Walt Disney Facts That Will Shock You

Walter Disney & Disneyland

Visionary, creative and international celebrity by the time he was 30, Walter Disney raised the bar when it comes to animation and theme parks. Born in Chicago in 1901, he grew up on his family farm in Missouri and had a typical working-class start to life. Avoiding the trap of a regular 9 to 5 day job, Walter Disney followed his dreams to become an artist and brought fairytales to life. Sadly passing away in 1966 from lung cancer, there is still much that we don’t know about Walt Disney’s life. Even if you consider yourself a true Disneyland fan, you might be surprised when you discover these 8 Walt Disney facts. From intimidating his team in the office to carrying the guilt of his mother’s death and leaking this into his animations, get ready to learn 8 Walt Disney facts about this real-life Peter Pan. (1)

 8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

1: Walter Disney Blames Himself For His Mother’s Death

In many ways, Walter Disney was misunderstood and a bit of a dark soul, and through his animation movies, he was able to share his deep and often complex emotions with the world. When he started to make money, Walt Disney bought his parents a new house and would make sure that everything that needed to be repaired was looked after. However, when the workmen failed to correctly fix a repair on his parent’s property one day, his mother sadly passed due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The grieving son blamed himself for his mother’s death and this is why many characters in Walt Disney movies have also lost their mother, or do so during the first part of the movies. From Jasmine in Alladin, Pocahontas and even Ariel from The Littler Mermaid, many characters don’t have a mother. Perhaps the incredible animator wanted to vent his loss through his art, or maybe he hoped to make this tragic event more bearable for children who go through the same pain. The fact is, we will never know! (2)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

2: Mickey Mouse Wasn’t His Original Name

That’s right, Mickey Mouse actually had a different name, and it was only when Walter Disney’s wife revealed to him that she didn’t like the character’s name, that it was changed to Mickey. Mortimer, the name originally given to this adorable mouse didn’t sit right with Lillian and she eventually managed to persuade her husband to work on a different name, and so Mickey Mouse was born. Could you imagine Mortimer Mouse! He sounds pretty sinister right! Well, if you have ever watched Steamboat Willie, you might have noticed that Mickey’s arch-enemy is called Mortimer. (1)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

3: He Was A Propaganda Puppet Master

During World War II, the Walt Disney studio and its highly talented team of animators were hired to boost troop morale across the US. Using their army of loveable animated characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Walt Disney created military training films and US propaganda. According to a 1943 newspaper, up to 90% of the Disney studio’s work was for government agencies. In fact, Donald Duck played a huge part in encouraging and educating Americans to do their part for the war effort. (3)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

4: Walt Disney Was a Workaholic

In order to create a name for himself, Walter Disney worked relentlessly to achieve his goals in life. A workaholic and visionary, it was only in the last 10 years of his life that his hard work really started to pay off and he was able to relax financially. A risk-taker throughout his life, Walter was forced to mortgage his family’s farm in order to build a new studio and create animations such as Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi, all of which were financial failures. It wasn’t until World War II that the studio received enough cash to keep creating animation pictures. Known to have obsessive-compulsive behaviour, Walter Disney would spend up to 18 hours a day working, yet managed to have enough energy left to raise his family and be a good husband to Lillian. (4)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

5: Man Is In The Forest

A chilling line from the hit 1942 movie Bambi, ‘Man is in the forest’, was apparently used frequently in the Walt Disney studio to alert the team that Walter Disney was in the building. His presence alone was said to be powerful and quite intimidating. Walt Disney was reported to cough loudly on entering the studio to make sure his team knew he was there and were ready to show him their new ideas. (1)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

6: Steamboat Willie Was Made For Less Than $1,000

The first animation to really launch Walt Disney’s reputation as an animator to watch, cost him less than $1,000 to make. Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse was made in 1928, was remarkably cheap to make, when you compare it to Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs which cost the studio $1,300,000. If Snow White had flopped, it would have crippled the studio. (5)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

7: Donald Duck Was Mickey Mouse’s Alter Ego

According to an interview with Walter Disney in 1959, Donald Duck was originally created to help show frustration and anger at situations that Mickey Mouse was involved in. Donald Duck would allow Mickey to uphold his calm and polite demeanour, while Donald Duck demonstrated the more typical response to the dilemma Mickey faced. As Walter himself claims that the cartoons were primarily made for an adult audience, by showing these realistic emotions, the characters became more relatable. This idea lends itself to how many Disney employees thought of Walter himself. Claiming he was troubled and tried to fight the demons inside while appearing to be a calm, polite and a respected businessman during interviews and publicity stunts. (6) (1)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

8: Disneyland Cost $17 Million To Open In 1955

According to a newspaper report on the 14th August 1955, Disneyland or ‘160 acres of happiness’, cost Walt Disney $17 million to open. With four separate areas, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland, this incredible theme park was built with the future generations in mind. Tomorrowland, according to Walt Disney, symbolises the future scientific achievements of the next generations. Walter hoped to visit the park in the future with his young grandson and relive the experience from a new point of view. A real-life Peter Pan, Walter had created a place to once again experience the joy of childhood and let your imagination run wild. (7)

8 Walt Disney facts that will shock you

Walt Disney Facts

Could you imagine a childhood without watching Disney movies, singing along to Snow White, crying at Dumbo and dressing up as your favourite Disney prince or princess? Disney will forever be a cherished part of childhood and something that connects people from around the world. With 11 theme parks around the world including Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort and Hony Kong Disneyland, there are plenty of parks to explore and feel closer to the man behind the mouse.

Whether you admire his drive and ambition, you revel in his creativity or you marvel at Walt Disney’s life, there is no doubt that he will continue to live on in our hearts as the man that brought dreams and fairytales to the big screen. As Walt Disney said ‘ All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’

Don’t forget to check out our awesome Walt Disney Quotes also !


1: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/B07F3SVK2K/ref=atv_dl_rdr?autoplay=1


3: https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/ww2-disney

4: https://observer.com/2006/11/animating-a-dull-life-scary-workaholic-genius/

5: https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=47029352&fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjExNjg1OTM3LCJpYXQiOjE2MDE4MDgzNzYsImV4cCI6MTYwMTg5NDc3Nn0.JvNlcFWN_1YE2GUI563VX7JPmtOz1qBX5ubf5Ql7I7M

6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94ucLkGoI1E


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