30 Inspiring Facts About Walt Disney For Kids

Walt Disney, considered to be the pioneer of the animation industry, is a name every person is familiar with thanks to his contribution to the world of cartoons. Introduce your children to some Walt Disney facts for kids and let them know about the man behind their favorite characters like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney was an American entrepreneur who became one of the greatest film producers. The classic Disney characters are not only the favorite of children but also adults. Delve into this article as we provide you with some interesting facts about Walt Disney that will surprise your kid.

In This Article

Walt Disney Biography For Children

Early life

Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 1, 1901. Soon after his birth, his parents – Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney – moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where they lived the countryside life as a family.

Walt Disney was the fourth son of his parents. He had three elder brothers, Herbert, Raymond, and Roy, and a younger sibling, Ruth. Disney developed a liking for drawing while living in Marceline.

After his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1911, he delivered newspapers for more than six years as an adolescent. It was at this time that he fell in love with movies.

protip_icon Trivia
It is said that once in a school play, Walt Disney performed as Peter Pan.

Beginning of a career in drawing

In 1917, his family moved to Chicago. Fueled by passion since an early age, Disney joined McKinley High School and became the cartoonist for the school newspaper. He also attended evening classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1919, he joined Pesmen Rubin Commercial Art Studio as an apprentice artist and kicked off his formal professional journey. However, in the following year, Disney was laid off due to dipping revenues at Pesmen Rubin.

Thereafter, he joined Kansas City Slide Company, where he learned animation. In 1920, he started his own firm called Newman Laugh-O-grams, which went bankrupt in 1923. He soon moved to Hollywood to become a director.

Birth of Mickey Mouse and Disney’s success

Birth of Mickey Mouse

Image: Shutterstock

  • Disney bagged a contract with New York Film Distributor Margaret J. Winkler for six Alice comedies. He formed a studio along with his brother Roy and called it the ’’Disney Brothers Studio,’’ which later came to be known as ’’The Walt Disney Company.’’
  • During the early years at ’’Disney Brothers Studio,’’ Disney created the popular character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. However, much to his dismay, Universal Studios gained control of the Oswald Trademark, causing him to lose the rights to the character as well as most members of his animation team.
  • But that wasn’t going to deter him. Disney soon bounced back with Mickey Mouse. The character was designed by cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and was inspired by a pet mouse that the duo had adopted during their time at Laugh-O-Gram Studio. While Iwerks is said to have developed the physical appearance of Mickey, Disney is said to have lent him the soul.
  • Later, he created iconic cartoon characters such as Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto. Disney also made the first animated film with sound called Steamboat Willie, the cartoon Silly Symphonies, and the first animated color film called the Flowers and Trees.
  • In recent years, Disney movies such as Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Buzz Lightyear have been recognized as groundbreaking animated films. In addition to these popular movies, Disney has also created notable franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, and Frozen.
protip_icon Quick fact
Pluto, the dog, had the original name of Rover. It was later changed to Pluto to make it unique.
Donald Duck is a Walt Disney character

Image: Shutterstock

  • In 1932, the artist began working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was released in 1937 and became the biggest blockbuster hit. He then created a slew of popular films such as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, along with the first big live-action film titled Treasure Island. Disney also joined the world of television in the 1950s with shows such as Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, the Davy Crockett series, and The Mickey Mouse Club.
  • He opened Disneyland in 1955. The $17 million theme park is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Ruchi, a blogger, recounts her memorable celebration of her daughter Ivanka’s 3rd birthday at Disney land Paris. She shares, “The special attraction for us was Cafe Mickey! A birthday that could not have started better! Ivanka got personal attention from all the characters and it was the most epic birthday dinner ever! We welcomed her birthday in Paris at the IST in Cafe Mickey. One of the best decisions. Now, getting a reservation is really tricky there! I hope you get it! fingers crossed. Best part no need to waste time to stand in queues for the character meet at the main street (i)!”

Death and legacy

Disney had been a smoker since his early days. In 1966, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was treated with cobalt therapy. However, his health deteriorated, and he succumbed to circulatory collapse caused by cancer on December 15, 1966.

While he is long gone, Disney has left behind a legacy that is grand and inspiring. He has produced 81 feature films during his life, including hits such as The Jungle Book and The Happiest Millionaire. Although his vision of the futuristic city of EPCOT did not see the light of day, the project was brought to fruition on a much grander scale as ’’The Walt Disney World”. Walt Disney World is a famous theme park in Florida, USA. It consists of several sections, including the popular Magic Kingdom with themed lands such as Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland. Popular attractions include Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Star Tours, Soarin’, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

In 2009, Disney’s daughter Diane and her son Walter E.D.Miller designed the Walt Disney Family Museum, which displays thousands of the artist’s memorabilia and awards.

Reason for popularity

Despite a difficult life and several failures, Disney displayed a never-say-die attitude. He continued to push through the odds and emerged victorious at the end.

The legend worked odd jobs as a teen to fulfill his desire to become a cartoonist and filmmaker. Despite his own venture witnessing bankruptcy, he kept at it. He was a visionary unlike any other and achieved blooming success based on his sheer hard work and intelligence.

Disney was a family man who took his brothers, colleagues, and friends ahead in the journey. He is credited and looked up to for his skills, attitude, and perseverance even today.

30 Walt Disney Facts For Children

Keep reading as we give you some fun facts about Walt Disney.

1. Walter Elias Disney holds the record for most individual Oscar awards. He won 22 Oscars and was nominated for 59.

2. Until 1947, Disney lent his voice to Mickey Mouse. Later, Jimmy MacDonald took over.

3. The famous filmmaker had a fascination with trains. His passion for trains is reflected at Disneyland, where you will find a railroad inside.

4. The first full-length animated film that Walt Disney released was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. It’s still considered one of the greatest feats in cinematic history.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937

Image: Shutterstock

5. In 1964, Walt Disney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.

6. You’ll find a star for Walter Disney in the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, the first animated character to receive a star was Mickey Mouse.

7. After Mickey, the other Disney characters who got a star are The Muppets in 2012, Tinker Bell in 2010, Winnie the Pooh in 2006, Donald Duck in 2004, Kermit the Frog in 2002, and Snow White in 1987.

8. Originally, the name of Mickey Mouse was Mortimer. It was Lillian Disney, Walter’s wife, who persuaded him to change the name of the character to Mickey, which seemed much catchier.

9. It was between 1932 and 1969 that he won most of his Oscars for the category of “best animated short.”

10. In the 1950s, Walt Disney bet nearly everything he had, from his furniture to house and stock holdings, to purchase the 185-acre property for the Disneyland park.

11. Walter Disney had a secret apartment in Disneyland. The intent of the apartment was to watch his dreams come to fruition. You’ll find it above the Main Street USA fire station. The small apartment features a tiny living space, bathroom, fold-out beds, and a window to watch the park.

protip_icon Did you know?
The Disney film Pocahontas was based on the life of Pocahontas, a Native American woman and a popular historical figure.

12. After the success of Disneyland, Walt decided to build an even bigger Disney theme park near Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1966 and couldn’t see his dream come to life. The amusement park opened in 1971.
Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida was opened in 1971

Image: IStock

13. Before his death, the last Disney movie Walter oversaw was The Jungle Book.

14. To show his love for arts, Walter, and his brother formed the California Institute of the Arts in 1961. It was a merger between two existing schools for music and art in Los Angeles. By 1970, the CarlArts college was open for dance, theater, film, design, and art.

15. After his death, a significant percentage of his estate was left to the college to help build the campus.

16. Walter had a very informal nature and disliked being called by his last name, Disney. This translated to Disneyland too, where the name tags of employees only consisted of their first name.

17. Walter came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse on a train ride across the United States.

18. Walter was a high school dropout. At the age of 16, Walter quit school to join the army. Unfortunately, he was underage and hence rejected. Without giving up hope, he went on to find a job at the Red Cross as an ambulance driver.

19. Before Walt Disney, Walter started Laugh-o-Gram in 1920 to produce animated cartoons based on fairy tales.

20. Walter’s love for entertainment started at a young age. He was all about performing and costumes as a teenager.

21. He always put family first and was fully devoted to them. He had two daughters Sharon and Diane, who he drove to school until they learned how to drive.

22. Today, the Walt Disney logo is instantly recognizable. But do you know its origin? The logo is Walter’s signature. However, to make it stand out, he had his employees make their own versions of the signature, and thus, the logo originated from one of those renditions.

The Walt Disney logo was developed from Walter’s signature

Image: IStock

23. In 1968, the U.S Postal Service released a commemorative Walt Disney stamp. The image on the stamp was based on a portrait that one of Disney’s animators drew. The cost of the stamp was six cents, and roughly 120 stamps were printed.

24. Walter started drawing from a very young age. His Aunt Margaret helped him with his hobby by buying him art supplies. Most of his inspiration was the surroundings of where he lived – a farm in Missouri.

25. The employees at Walt Disney’s theme parks have certain weird rules. Some include never pointing with a single finger when giving directions and no posting on social media about their jobs.

26. For two years, Walter was the only animator who could make color animated films because of his Technicolor patent.

27. Disneyland received over one million visitors in the first two months after it opened.

28. In Walter’s newly purchased home in Los Angeles in 1949, he built a fully functioning railroad in his backyard. He named the miniature steam locomotive Lilly Belle after his wife.

29. The staging of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1960 Winter Olympics in California was overseen by Walter.

30. In the movie Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora has only 18 lines in the entire movie. It makes her one of the most silent princesses in Disney.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was Walt Disney’s biggest accomplishment?

The biggest accomplishment of Walt Disney is co-founding the Walt Disney Company, the largest entertainment company in the world today. He is also credited with revolutionizing the animation industry in the US through innovations.

2. Why is Walt Disney so special?

Walter Elias Disney is an innovator, dreamer, and exceptional leader. He is special because he exemplified numerous characteristics like vision, creativity, and ambition. He had an eye for detail and came up with ideas ahead of his time.

3. How can kids explore and appreciate Walt Disney’s legacy today?

Walt Disney’s legacy lives through Disney movies, cartoons, and Disneyland. From Disney books to Disney museums and Disney merchandise, children can explore everything created by the Disney company and appreciate the genius of Walt Disney. You can also encourage your children to create Disney-inspired art.

4. What positive effects does Disney have on children?

Disney produces stories that teach children valuable life lessons in friendship, honesty, perseverance, and bravery. These stories include elements from numerous cultures, exposing children to a wide range of cultures, inspiring creative thinking and aiding in developing a child’s imagination. These stories are an excellent source of entertainment for children who find joy in all things Disney.

Walt Disney is the legacy of Walter Elias Disney’s hard work and determination. He created a mesmerizing animated world that has entertained children and adults for years. His cartoon characters and amusement parks etched a history that will continue to tell the generations of his passion for cartooning. From his early day struggles to his popularity and fame, these interesting Walt Disney facts for kids are a great way to acquaint your child with this ordinary man’s extraordinary works. Share these fascinating Walt Disney facts with your children now.

Infographic: Fun Facts About Walt Disney To Share With Children

Disney has been an integral part of many childhood memories for ages. So, this vacation, before you take your children to Disneyland, tell them some interesting facts about Walt Disney, the founder of Disney. Look at the infographic below for fun facts about Walt Disney to share with your children.

fascinating walt disney facts for your children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Walt Disney was not known for Mickey Mouse initially, but Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Apart from the notable cartoon characters, Walt Disney is also famous for opening the world’s most traveled destination, Disneyland.
  • His signature inspired the Walt Disney logo. Read on for more such facts.

Step into the magical world of Walt Disney with this captivating video, as we uncover five fascinating facts about the visionary behind beloved characters and iconic animations.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Walt Disney Timeline;The Walt Disney Family Museum
2. Mickey Mouse turns 90;National Museum of American History
3. The Birth of a Mouse;The Walt Disney Family Museum
4. CalArts – Institute – History;California Institute of the Arts
5. Walt Disney’s Laugh-O-grams, 1921-1923;San Francisco Silent Film Festival

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