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
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.
"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
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 --
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
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...".
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
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.
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"Life is a Gift."
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.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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