Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Would Walt Think?!?

By Sam Vlas

Last Thursday, I went to Downtown Disney to see the premier of Big Hero 6, Disney’s newest animated feature film. I enjoyed it greatly because it showed Disney still hasn’t lost its spark yet. Then I realized something: it has been almost 50 years since Walt Disney passed away. So much has happened. Continue after the page break for some food for thought...


It has been almost 50 years since Walt Disney left this world. In those 50 years a lot has happened to “his” company. We saw some important people coming and going. We saw a second Disney Golden Age, but also the Dark Ages. We saw expansion overseas. We saw the acquisition of such allies as Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm. We saw ventures in Broadway theatre, video games and even the travel industry. I couldn’t help but think, on that faithful night in Downtown Disney: what would Walt have thought of all this?


No one will ever know what Walt would think. I’m going to do my best to express what I think Walt would have thought. Walt believed in technological innovation, he believed in people, he believed in change… all things that have taken place in the Walt Disney Company over the last 50 years. I honestly believe that Walt would have been proud of the Company that is today. The family movies still entertain potentially billions of people around the world. The theme parks are bigger and better than ever. People show their “Disney Side” everywhere they can. It is interesting to know that all things Disney that we see today can be traced back to a single person. I’ve never known Walt, never will, but from accounts of many people that worked for and with him, I’m almost positive that he is watching down on everything that is going on in the Company.
 John Lasseter, practically the CCO of the Walt Disney Company, is in my eyes a Walt-figure: a central, all-involved, charismatic, creative and passionate figure within the company. He has proven the same capabilities that Walt had during his time. With him, many people have shown that creativity in the Company is still the number one priority. That makes me hopeful and optimistic about the future. There are many capable people that carry on the legacy set in the very beginning by Walt and his people.

What do you think? What does the future of the Company hold? And more importantly: what do you think Walt would think? Let us know in the comments below...


  1. I think Walt would be angry at what Disney has become; yes he would have loved the technology, but at what cost? I mean the cost to go see that tech is out of control. When I was there last, tickets for one park were $109.00 per person. How can the average family of 4 lets say afford that? plus more money for fast passes. It is all catering to the rich! It has taken all the fun of being a kid out of the mix. This is not what Walt intended Disneyland & Disneyworld to be I'm sure. The Disney theme is playing in the back round, "When you wish upon a star." Your dreams come true. I think it's everyone's dream to visit Disneyland or Walt Disney world, but all the wishing in the world can't get you ahead of the monster the Disney company has become. I have been a fan of Walt Disney all my life, and wanted to Draw cartoons for Disney, but that again is another dream that never came true. I think this last trip to Disney world was really my last trip, I just can't afford it any more.

    1. I agree whol heartedly !! Walt came from humble beginnings, and he WANTED Disneyland to be a place where parents could (affordably) bring their children and have a great time !!! Most of the US is still suffering from an economic depression, and you're right, $109.00 can buy a shopping cart of food - when you have to make a choice. :( Walt would NEVER deny a child because they couldn't afford it.

    2. Look at the price of any world class concert or Broadway show. The ticket price is very comparable in cost however you get much more bang for your buck at Walt Disney World. Those shows at best are 3 hours long. The Magic Kingdom (one of four major theme parks at Walt Disney World) was open today from 9 am to 10 pm. Thats 13 hours you could be in the park which is the average time the park is open.That is less than $10.00 per hour. Included in that time was 5 parades rivaled by none, a projection show on Cinderella Castle that is projected from three different points over 300 feet away in high definition and mapped down to less than an inch, A fireworks display that is one of the largest in the nation and the largest daily display in the nation,plus all the rides as well as characters, not to mention all of the shows,musicians,actors and cast members that provide the best entertainment anywhere in the world. I would say that the price is very fair and one of the best values anywhere. Look at how much you would spend on a normal family vacation and I am willing to bet that a vacation at Walt Disney World is comparable in price and a much better value. I think that Walt would be proud that the company has found ways to provide the best entertainment anywhere in the world at such a price that is more than fair.


  3. This is a great topic Keith. I think there are a lot of things that Walt would have enjoyed in terms of how the company progressed. Certainly there are some things that would have never happened. For example, I think he would have made sure that he put some distance between the Disney Company and Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. I think he would have pushed for faster development times in terms of attractions at Disneyland (to think that we really haven't had a new E-ticket attraction since Indiana Jones), Star Tours 2.0 doesn't count. Or that the People Mover tracks are still there and are rendered useless....those would either be utilized or removed. I'm not so sure about the overseas expansions. Gosh, there's a lot to consider...I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts...

  4. Something I find very interesting and that no one seems to mention or admit, is that Walt didn't believe in repeating what he had done in the movies. There would not have been sequels. So Toy Story, Cars, Pirates of the Crib., and all the others, would have only had one part. Also Walt's reason for starting the parks was so that there was a place for families to go. Yes there is expense in keeping rides and the parks up and running, but you have to admit, when the cost outpaces inflation and keeps going up, there are families that can't make it, and I believe that would break his heart. Also, I believe if Walt was alive today, EPCOT would be the way that he wanted it to be.

  5. I think Walt would be amazed at what his company has become today, but he would also be quite angry at some of the corporate methods it has adopted (I'm referring to the H1-B fiasco from last year). I don't think he would have agreed to/allowed that if he were still alive. Sure he was all about change and innovation, but not at the expense of people and their livelihoods!! He would have pressed hard, instead, for intra-company training for said employees to provide them the means to keep innovating for the company. That's what the Walt Disney Company should have done in the first place!!