Walt Disney's 100th Birthday
December  5, 1901 - Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Suburbia, California:  
Ten freeway minutes away from Disneyland


It is early morn in December and the sun is rising.  

On this day, a hundred years ago, the visionary and master storyteller, Walt Disney, was born. He told his stories through narrative, architecture, music, attractions, and technology, and they have stuck with me as vividly as when they were first told. 

His stories always teach (and reteach) me something -- like the lessons that beauty is only skin deep, and ugly goes to the bone (Snow White's step-mother); being a bookworm is a good thing (like Belle), abhor corruption; life is to be enjoyed; and love and appreciate our homeland. 

Most of all, his stories continue to affirm my personal belief that good always triumphs.

If you take the time to look for it, you'll find a plaque at the base of the flag pole at Main Street, Disneyland with these words of welcome from Mr. Disney:

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome.
Disneyland is your land.  
Here age relives fond memories of the past 
and here youth may savor the challenge 
and promise of the future.
Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, 
the dreams and the hard facts tht have created America
 with the hope that it will be the source of 
joy and inspiration to all the world."
~ Walter Elias Disney, July 17, 1955

In 1967, at age 15, I was "youth" visiting Mr. Disney's park for the first time with my family. Now, in 2001, at age 50, I am "age" that relives fond memories of the past,  these days, amused and delighted at how often how "youth" -- my joyful inner child -- keeps popping up whenever I am in the park.  It is indeed a magical place.

My favorite shot of Walt Disney 
and his partner, Mickey

Today, I will remember Mr. Disney and contemplate his fabulous legacy and his generous gifts to me. After work, DH and I have an appointment with Mr. Disney's memory; we'll honor him and pay our respects by going to his kingdom that celebrates optimism, joy, and imagination -- Disneyland Park.

December 5, 2001's Park Hours: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM 

"A Christmas Fantasy" Parade - 6:00 PM 

Sleeping Beauty Castle 
Believe... In Holiday Magic Fireworks - 7:20 PM 

Walter Elias Disney profoundly influenced my life.  As my personal tribute to this great soul, I write this journal entry with the following reflections of his gifts to me: 

  • Mr. Disney taught me to follow my dreams, no matter how far out. I wished upon stars, and backed up those wishes with hard work, perseverance, ingenuity, family cohesiveness and good ol' fashioned fun, just as Mr. Disney did. He taught me not to flinch, not back down, in spite of the naysayers. He taught me to go full-steam.

    "Somehow I can't believe there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true," Disney said. "This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy, and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably." 

    Whistling while I worked and with Mr. Disney's inspiration, I broke through glass ceilings, hopefully passing on his inspiration to the next generation through my efforts.

  • Mr. Disney taught me, by example, to be a calculated risk taker, to surround myself with competent people and advisors who excel in areas I do not. He took personal risks to achieve his dreams, including mortgaging his car and his house.  I mortgaged my life for eight years, not taking a salary in order to create the best in my field, by pouring profits into upgrades, innovations, and thinking out and building remodeling projects with exacting details and aesthetics.  

    Whenever I felt afraid, I'd whistle a happy tune... 
    Like Mr. Disney's, every risk has paid off. 

  • Mr. Disney thought not of money, except as a way to fund his many projects.  He cared about his public. Caring about our clients has, I believe, been a key factor to our success.  For me, money has been a means to an end: Happy, well-served clients. 

    I am less interested in profit margins or accounting, and more interested in giving our personal best to our clients. I listen to our clients and co-workers and make changes accordingly. Contrary to so-called business wisdom, I pay myself last.  

    He taught me that when you put the emphasis on giving instead of getting, the money follows and the means to a positive end is always provided...

    "Create a legacy that makes people smile...".

  • Mr. Disney thought of families, and in turn, I've striven to create a service of inclusion, rather than exclusion, a work place where we work like a family and  where people of all ages would be welcome.

  • Mr. Disney's # 1 priority was that everyone, no matter what, was well-treated. He personally trained the first employees to act in a certain way to the guests.  Emulating him, I've dedicated many hours to training, coaching and advising each co-worker, and our business continues to grow, even through these tough economic times. 

  • Like Mr. Disney, I too encourage our co-workers to reach deep and pull out the best of themselves. I have pushed hard, but only as hard as I have pushed myself; I don't believe in patronizing. Just as Mr. Disney drove his co-workers to excellence, there have been those who just didn't "get" it, resenting the push to excellence and the commitment to progress -- to move "onward, and upward" and not rest on laurels.  They'd leave in a huff, deprecating our efforts, just the way those who were not in synchrony with Mr. Disney bad-mouthed him.  

    Those dedicated to American ideals of hard work, loyalty, and excellence have remained, thriving in being the best that they can be. They've caught on to the vision, and today, we have the best team of co-workers. 

Today, I will visit the Partners' statue in the Hub (click here for a great shot of it), grateful that I consider myself as Walt Disney's partner in life and in death. 

He lives on in my heart.

OC Register: Walt DisneY:  100 Dreams Come True

Mishmash:  For more energy without caffeine, from The View:  "L-carnitine,  Coenzyme Q-10, Colustrum (growth factors, immune stimulants), Lacto-ferrin  preventer of illness, 2, 2 times a day, for one week,  Vitamin E & C: sweeps out toxins."

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2001