DAPPER GUYS FROM HISTORY: WALT DISNEY

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We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things” – Walt Disney

Disney. Perhaps the greatest name in the entire world of entertainment.  No name even comes close to rivaling the name of Disney.

Disney represents the best in humanity.  When you hear the name Disney your mind quickly goes to good places.  Safe places.  Disney unites the peoples of the world.  Disney modeled diversity before diversity was even diversity.

The name Disney speaks of excellence.  The best movie.  The best cartoon.  The best theme park.  The best customer service.  The best experience.  The cleanest theme parks!

Disney parks are places where we all go to get away from the hustle and bustle and pain of our lives.  It’s a giant timeout for all of us.  And Mr. Disney designed it that way.  Remember that tag line… “Disneyland, the happiest place on earth”?   And, so it is, in many ways.  Or, how about the name of the inner sanctum of the park… The Magic Kingdom.  Who doesn’t want to visit that place from time to time?

The Disney Institute tells the story of how passionate Mr. Disney was about the cleanliness of the park. He wanted his park to be the single cleanest place you ever would visit.  To that end they labored and in 1955 even brought in a research team from Stanford University to study waste management and propose ideas.  The results were amazing and the concepts created are still active today.

The team passed-out wrapped candy to every person entering the park for several days.  They then studied how far people typically walked before throwing the trash on the ground. The answer was 28 paces.  Today, every trash can at a Disney park is exactly 27 paces from the next.

And Mr. Disney didn’t want his customers smelling or seeing the trash – remember, this is the happiest place on earth!  So, they invented cans with tops on them, and a metal door that properly contained the waste.  The cans are still in use today.

A happy place indeed.  But, the process wasn’t all fairy tales and goose bumps for Mr. Disney. Far from it.

As a young man building a career in the entertainment business back in Kansas City, Mr. Disney and his brother had created some very successful characters that were taking the world by storm.  But, a few powerful and evil-minded people stole the concept and the characters and left Disney with absolutely nothing to show for all of his hard work.  A crushing blow.  A blow that might send one over the edge, or cause one to pursue a new venture entirely.

Or, it might launch you forward.  Adversity might propel you to greatness!

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”   – Walt Disney

For the Disney brothers, it simply poured fuel on the fire of their passion.  This difficult time for Disney led to the creation of an all new character, a certain mouse by the name of Mickey.  And, it wasn’t long until all the rest began to spring-up – Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, etc.

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”  – Walt Disney

The opening of the park in 1955 was no picnic either.  There was problem after problem in design, planning, building and opening.  There were even counterfeiters selling tickets across Los Angeles.

So, like our own lives, things weren’t always so magical.  Even Disney knew hard times.  But, they stayed the course, in typical Disney style.  Probably whistling while they worked.

Dapper men are similar to Mr. Disney in many ways.  Excellence in all things. Always.

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