But there is one other date in December that plays a particularly important role in the Disney company, and it's not really anywhere near as happy as the rest of the dates. And so, sadly, here is today's Disney History:
1966: Walter Elias Disney passes away at St. Joseph's Hospital of acute circulatory collapse (caused by lung cancer) just ten days after his 65th birthday. When the news of Walt's death reaches Disneyland in Anaheim, consideration is given to closing the park for the day, but instead it is kept open (as Walt would have wanted), but the flags on Main Street USA are lowered to half-mast. Also, that evening, Disneyland's Fantasy on Parade, a special presentation for the holiday season, steps off for the first time. An unusually cold night for Anaheim, a somber Disneyland experiences a light snow.
Yes, today in Disney History, the man that started it all, Walt Disney, died. If you remember yesterday's history I mentioned how the night before his death, Walt would have a visit from his brother Roy on what would become Walt's "Last Good Day." Walt would spend the evening planning out Disney World, and specifically Epcot, on the ceiling tiles above him. And at the end of the night he would gaze for the last time at the studio, where Roy ordered all lights be left on through the night.
A number of months ago I read "How to Be Like Walt." If you've been reading my blog long enough you'll know that that's now one of my all time favorite books, and one of the reasons this is is because when Walt's death is described, I legitimately cried. That portion of the book, and the ending, showcase the amazing man Walt Disney was. And I think the part that really got to me was the snow at Disneyland that evening. It was kind of like Walt was looking down on Disneyland that evening, just as he's been looking down on everyone since then.
The truth is, Walt Disney has impacted each and every one of us, whether we realize it or not. But throughout it all he kept true to himself and continued to be ambitious and follow his dreams, no matter what other people said. It's one of the reasons he's my primary role model, and it's why I can't wait to work for the Disney company someday.
We'll always miss you Walt.
Have a magical day!
(Note: This blog post was written on December 16 due to finals.)