|The perpetual light which represents Walt Disney in his apartment window.|
Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California is the original. This is the only park where Walt was able to see his dreams come to fruition and it is clear his legacy is embraced and celebrated in every nook and cranny. I had the rare opportunity to take the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour which included being able to go inside his apartment. I don’t think it would come as a huge shock that Walt Disney is someone I greatly admire. This chance to learn more about his journey to becoming the “Walt Disney” and to visit the rooms where he spent so much time was intriguing, inspiring and gave me pause to think about why I admire what he’s created to the extent that I do.
Walt’s dreams first took shape on one of his Daddy Days when he took his daughters out for some fun. While sitting on a bench, watching his girls ride the carousel in the park, he decided there ought to be some sort of entertainment or attraction where parents and children could have fun together. This was the seed of inspiration that launched his imagination into what soon became Disneyland Park. It was Walt’s sense of family and being together that drove his dreams. The idea of family sharing good times, strengthening those bonds in a carefree environment, is what makes us strong and guides our lives in a productive direction. Walt has famously said, “Let us always remember it started with a mouse.” I respectfully disagree, Mr. Disney. I believe it was your belief in the institution of family, people who are joined together by love, that has made the name Disney so beloved by so many.
I am grateful for the limitless imagination and innovation of Walt Disney. I am grateful to the many people who helped him along the way, and I am grateful to all the people who perpetuate his dreams and philosophies. And not the least of which, I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to help families come together whether it is at Disneyland, Disney World, on a Disney Cruise or a Disney trip abroad because I know and believe that if it has the Disney name on it, it is the ultimate experience that celebrates family. And that is the simple reason why I am passionate about all things Disney.