Many, many moons ago, my Papa worked for Eastern Airlines as a lobbyist. Papa was the man between the partnership between the Disney Company & Eastern Airlines. When I was growing up, his offices were inside the Magic Kingdom above what is now the Buzz Lightyear ride. He raced pigeons, had an orange orchard, and knew impressive people – like the Disney family.
Because of him and the Golden Pass he received when he retired, I was able to spend some of the best days of my life at Walt Disney World.
I even got married to the love of my life there.
The last time I went to Disney theme parks with Papa was for his 50th anniversary with Mamom. That was 19 years ago.
Now that I get to visit Disney as an Annual Passholder and attend Disney movie premieres every once in a while, I am always in awe of how things have come full circle.
Visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum was like stepping back into my own history because of what a huge part in my life and the lives of my grandparents that Walt Disney played.
The museum takes you on a journey beginning with the life and times of Walt’s grandparents. It then introduces Walt and his siblings with supporting images of them as babies.
The trajectory of Walt’s life couldn’t have possibly been foretold by anyone. He was raised on a farm where his family noticed he had a significant talent for art. Walt left home for California with $40 to his name and an outfit that didn’t match, believing that the cartoon business was flooded with talent and that there was no way to get in.
Walt never quit. He always believed that tomorrow would take care of him and he was always thinking of the next thing, and the thing after that. Even in the face of failure, Walt didn’t stop believing that he was going to be a success.
I knew going into the museum that it was going to speak to me on a personal level, but I didn’t realize exactly how personal it was going to get.
Everywhere I turned I saw examples of a man who never let anything stop him – not even COMMUNISTS.
The Walt Disney Company was attacked by the Communists in Hollywood and even then he didn’t stop pushing things uphill.
He put out full-length feature films with cutting-edge technology that people said would never exist.
He told stories of hope through hard political times.
He kept going and going and going literally until the day he died.
This man, whose muse was a bench where he often went to sit and think, he created the entire Disney Company as we know it today.
A man who came from little and faced adversity after adversity.
He didn’t even let people telling him his cartoons sucked keep him from creating one of the most well known brands on the planet.
He did that.
The Walt Disney Family Museum had me questioning every second of my own life.
Why do I let things get in the way of my success? Why do I let the words of someone else telling me I’m never going to be successful stand in the way of doing what I know I was born to do? Why do I let one failure set me back weeks, months, years?
I mean really, I let the mere thought of failure keep me from succeeding on a pretty regular basis.
And here is this man who wanted ten kids but could only have one (but adopted another), this man who was told no and that he wasn’t good enough and that his ideas were hare-brained and crazy – this man – this successful, wonderful, thoughtful, amazing businessman, doing things everyone said he couldn’t do and proving them wrong all the way to the grave and beyond.
I don’t even have to tell you what he created, you already know.
What was so different about Walt Disney that he was able to create magic out of trying times?
I don’t even know. What I do know is that going to the Walt Disney Family Museum was exactly what I needed in my life.
This museum isn’t just for Disney fans. It’s for everyone looking for a little inspiration in their lives.
The final room in the museum pays tribute to Walt’s life.
The cartoons drawn by artists from publications across the globe emit such emotion that I found myself silently tearing up and mourning the loss of a human I never met.
Except that I have met him, because the spirit of everything he did in his relatively short life lives on within his legacy.
The museum has an area for exhibits that change out every few months. As of the time of this writing, the exhibit is of the Magical World of Glen Keane who is responsible for favorites such as Ariel, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Beast, Tarzan, Eliot, and more.
If you’re in the San Fransisco area, make sure you don’t miss this moving museum.
Just pack a few tissues. You’re going to need them.