Once upon a time… 5 December 1901 : Walt Disney was born

Imagine a world without Mickey, without Minnie, without Donald. A world without the animation masterpieces of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Peter Pan or 101 Dalmatians. A world without Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins. A world without Disneyland.

And consequently, it would also be a world without Toy Story, without Frozen, without… Disneyland Paris! Unthinkable!

Fortunately, history is not being made again, and all of these creations – among others – did exist. Thanks to the genius of one man: Walt Disney.

The birth of Walt Disney

walt disney child

He was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, but it was mainly in the small town of Marceline, Missouri, where his family settled in 1906, that he opened up to the world.

Out in the wild, with his parents’ farm animals and especially Skinny, a little piglet he bottle-fed and became his most faithful companion.

To technology, with the still very recent railway, which passed through the city and of which his uncle Mike was one of the mechanics.

To literature, thanks to his mother, Flora, who gave him a taste for it, in particular by reading him tales at night before falling asleep.

To music, through the musical reunions of his father, Elias, at old Taylor’s.

To drawing, under the impetus of Doctor Sherwood, who had spotted his talent and had commissioned him to paint his horse.

Without forgetting, of course, the cinema, which he discovered around this time with his sister Ruth.

Enriched by all these great experiences, he was able to draw on this heritage to better project himself towards the future by propelling a then-new form of expression – animation -, and by creating a one-of-a-kind theme park named Disneyland, where all generations could share incredible adventures.

Walt disney, his art

Walt Disney in front of his studio

Through his art, and in particular films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, or Alice in Wonderland, he revisited the masterpieces of European literature by giving them a whole new dimension.

With Bambi and the True-Life Adventures series, he uniquely represented the wonders of nature and was one of the first to commit to their preservation.

With The Three Caballeros, the People and Places documentary series and the “it’s a small world” attraction imagined in 1964 for Unicef at the New York’s World Fair, he celebrated the diversity of cultures and thus committed to a more open and tolerant world.

And with shows like Man in Space, he brought science to everyone and shaped the contours of a future full of promise.

Walt Disney with Mickey at Disneyland in a car.

Today, his dreams continue to grow and inspire, dreams that come to life and never stop blossoming at Disneyland Paris…

Disney and me, it's a long love story. I fell into it as a child and never got out. From movies to theme parks, through the history of the Walt Disney Company, to comic books, everything fascinates me.