The Legacy and Stories of Walt Disney

First created in 1926, Winnie the Pooh is a classic children’s story starring the lovable Pooh Bear living with his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. Disney began releasing productions involving Winnie the Pooh starting in 1966 after gaining usage rights in 1961. (Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Stocum)

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved anything and everything that had to do with Disney. I loved to read books and stories like Mary Poppins and Peter Pan, which were old fairy tales turned into Disney classics. I watched Disney movies and enveloped myself in the world of Disney fairytales and princesses.

Whenever I watch a Disney movie, I get excited thinking about all the fun times my family and I have had at Disneyland and Disney World. As I continue to grow older, I will always love Disney, and remember how Walt Disney impacted the lives of children and adults everywhere including myself.

When I was a little kid, around 5 or 6, my favorite Disney movie was The Little Mermaid, because of the fun music and the colorful outfits worn by the mermaids. Everything I got had to be Little Mermaid themed, from comforters to pajamas. I loved the story of how Ariel would leave her whole life and family behind to be with her true love. Even now, when I watch the movie, I still find myself singing along to ‘Under The Sea’, dancing with the characters, and thinking about how much I used to love the movie.

Later when I was around 10 or 11, I became obsessed with The Lion King 1 ½ , which was a movie about the original story of The Lion King retold from the perspective of Timon and Pumba. Timon was a meerkat, kicked out of his colony due to his clumsiness and Pumba was a warthog who wandered the Savannah looking for a home. I remember my brother and I being in fits of laughter from Pumbaa and Timon’s attempts to be good advisors to Simba, which always ended in chaos. Whenever I watch that movie, I think about all the Pumbaa impressions my dad did to make my brother and I laugh.

Although I have seen many, many Disney movies, my favorite Disney related activity has been and always will be going to Disney World.

When his children were young, Walt Disney would take them to merry-go-rounds. While his children rode the merry-go-round, Disney imagined a place where both adults and children could enjoy rides together. On July 17, 1955 Disney’s wish became a reality. He opened Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California after just one year of construction. He hoped families and people of all ages could enjoy the park and be reminded of their childhood days. Tickets were just $1 for adults and 50¢ for children, with a small fee for each ride.

When my parents were younger, they would drive down to Florida from the north and spend the day at Disney World with their families. Their experiences were a little different, just based on the fact that my mom went with just her mom, and my dad went with both his parents and his three siblings. Popular rides at the time included Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, and the Mad Tea Party all of which are still up and running today.

I love to talk to my parents about what Disney World was like when they visited and talk about how different it is now, but how it still has that same magical feeling everytime we go back.

Throughout my childhood, my family and I would take trips to California to visit my grandma, but a lot of times we would take a day trip to Disneyland. Even today, I remember how I feel going on my first roller coaster and exploring the different themed areas in the park. Nowadays, my family and I don’t travel to California, due to busy schedules, so I really appreciate the trips from years ago and cherish those memories.

After the completion of Disneyland, Walt Disney began to design a new park in Florida. In the 60s, the park was commonly referred to as “The Florida Project”;  now, the formal name for the park is Walt Disney World. Sadly, Walt Disney passed away in 1966, and Walt’s brother Roy Disney took over the company and began construction of Walt Disney World.

On October 1, 1971, the Magic Kingdom was opened which was the first of many parks at Walt Disney World. As of right now, there are four open and operating parks including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Nowadays, over 52 million people visit the park each year making it the world’s most visited vacation theme park.

Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places in the world. I have so many memories there, like celebrating birthdays with my family and riding roller coasters with my cousins at night. Being able to go to the parks often makes me extremely grateful, because I realize that it is very expensive to go. Going to Disney World has made me much more grateful, such as saying thank you for everything and being more humble and modest.

Today, the Walt Disney Company has filmed and produced over 588 movies, including live-action, animation, documentary, and a hybrid of animation and live-action such as Mary Poppins. They have opened over 25 different resorts and 7 different parks spanning from Hawaii to Japan.  Although Walt Disney has passed on, his legacy still lives on through his late brother, wife, and nephew and their achievements after Disney’s death. Even years after his death, Walt Disney continues to be an inspiration to many and still reminds me that no matter how old anybody is, we are all still children in our hearts.

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