“Actually, if you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is glowing this red, white, and blue stripe.”
An innovator and leader in the cartoon and animated movies world, Walt Disney had humble beginnings and showed a spirit of entrepreneurship and enterprise that can only be described as American.
Which isn’t a surprise. He was American, and proud of it. Unfortunately, looking at the Walt Disney company today, it’s really hard to see Walt in what they produce, and even harder to believe that he would be happy with their latest policies and films.
Jeremy Boreing of the Daily Wire recently gave a town hall meeting that was broadcast on YouTube and directed to anyone willing to listen. Among many things, Boreing touched on the Disney company’s failings over the past few months and years and made the observation that: “The magic has left the kingdom.”
But what was “the magic” to begin with? What was Walt’s vision for his cartoons and movies? What drove him to delve into this work and create a happy place for children and families to learn, laugh, and find quality entertainment? And what has happened to the company in recent years?
“The important thing is the family.”
Before he was a household name, Walt Disney ran paper routes for his father, drove an ambulance in France during World War I, and took art and cartooning classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Walt relied heavily on his family and found a great amount of encouragement in their (sometimes reluctant) support. After moving to California, Walt and his brother Roy opened their own movie studios and, in addition to being very close brothers, became life-long business partners.
Additionally, Walt was known as a family man. He married his wife when they were very young and eventually they had two daughters, Diane and Sharon, whom he doted on. His family never knew him to bring work home with him and he never failed to dedicate real time to them whenever possible.
Starting with his earliest forays into animation, Walt’s love for imagination and whimsy and good, old fashioned fun can be seen. He seemed to want his company to provide wholesome, value-centered entertainment that both children and adults could enjoy – it was the simple pleasures that were most important.
“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought – sometimes it isn’t much, either.”
For Walt, there was value in innocent, real fun. Even though he did films and cartoons for the government, he found real pleasure (and success) in the distraction of funny cartoons and classic fairy tales. During the Great Depression, he released The Three Little Pigs cartoon that almost became an anthem of those affected by the harsh financial burdens of the time. Worried adults and children who needed a distraction were all able to escape, laugh a bit, and determine that they also weren’t afraid of the big bad wolf.
“Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
Walt Disney was a family man, American, and entrepreneur. He was an artist, a father, dream-maker, business man, and husband. In 1963, The Freedom Foundation awarded Walt with the George Washington Award for his work in promoting the “American way of life,” and later, President Lyndon Johnson awarded Walt the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This was a man who loved his country and his family, who wanted to build a better world, and inspire children to relish their childhoods while dreaming of their future.
“I believe that this spiritual and intellectual freedom which we Americans enjoy is our greatest cultural blessing. Therefore, it seems to me, that the first duty of culture is to defend freedom and resist all tyranny.”
So what happened at Disney World?
From what we can tell, Walt’s intentions were pure. He had a simple mission and a ton of drive, and a lot of loving support from his family. Families were the core of his dozens upon dozens of projects and the driving force behind his theme parks. So what happened at Disney?
Not that long ago, a video of an exec meeting at Disney was leaked which showcased the “not-so-secret gay agenda” of those in charge. Those words shocked parents, especially those on the conservative end of the spectrum who had been led to believe their whole lives that Disney was a company for children, wholesome entertainment, and good storytelling – not a soapbox for the pushing and promotion of sexual preferences.
On the surface, this might be easy to brush off; “they simply want to be more inclusive.” But when you take a half second to really think about it, it becomes a really dark sentiment – one that implies children of all ages should be in on what happens in bedrooms behind closed doors between adults. And that’s creepy. More importantly, that’s wrong.
Fairy tales are built on the premise of good and evil existing in this world. Typically, good wins. The prince defeats the dragon, the scoundrel amends his ways and does the right thing, the boy, in pursuit of justice, pulls the sword from the stone, the puppet learns to be honest and good-hearted, the humble scullery maid wins the heart of the prince, and Scrooge McDuck is a little less miserly with his money.
As parents, it’s important to not only know the difference between good and evil, but to make sure your children do too. So, it may break your heart to cancel your Disney+ membership and never go to the parks again. But in the end, your children will not be subject to whatever random and inappropriate information this large corporation wants to thrust upon them, their innocence will not be snatched away, and a clear understanding of what is good and what is evil will be instilled in them.
Hopefully, the Disney execs will also get the message.