Success Stories:

Walt Disney

The Kid who “Lacked Imagination”

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Known for his creativity, animation, and theme park innovations, Walt Disney is a name that conjures childhood memories, the happiest place on earth, and a mouse in red pants and white gloves.  


The success of Disney is well known and farreaching, but once upon a time, he was an unknown name with a dream. In 1919 Disney worked for the Kansas City Star only to get fired. The reasoning? He “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”  


He went on and found Laugh-O-Gram, an animation studio in Kansas City with his older brother, Roy. The company went bankrupt very soon. So, with $40 in his pocket and a dream the refused to die, Disney headed to Hollywood. He first tried acting, which provided to be a dismal failure. However, he looked around and realized there were no animation studios in the entirety of California. So, he got to work.  


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was his first major success. However, this feeling was short-lived; his producer stole Oswald’s legal rights from him. He walked away. On the train ride back from that dreadful meeting, he crafted the idea for Mickey Mouse. The now-iconic Mickey Mouse was initially rejected 300 times before Disney was able to claw his way to stardom again. After several more setbacks, he suffered from a nervous breakdown. The result? The idea for a full-length animation feature called: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a huge success. His road remained ever bumpy. After the worker strikes of WWII, Disney was $4 million in debt and needed a gamble to survive, so he turned to TV. Mickey Mouse Club, along with other shows were successes and gave him enough capital for the biggest and craziest venture of his career: Disneyland.  


Disney, as he has proven again and again, refused to concede defeat. Disney will forever evoke childhood nostalgia for millions, if not billions of people. 

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”