Why Walt Disney? He Championed Great Ideas, No Matter What
Another explanation why Walt Disney is my hero.
After his studios were closed for the day, Walt would often walk the halls and snoop around the work spaces of his animators, and eventually, his imagineers. He’d shamelessly shuffle through drawings and plans and add his own notes in the margins. He even inspected the trash cans and would often pull out crumpled sketches and other discarded ideas. Animators would find these taped to their desks or work stations with notes from Walt like: ‘This is good – keep going!’ Walt never liked to let a great idea go to waste and taught his studio to keep at it until all options had been exhausted and a solution found.
Yesterday morning my son and I started our day with one our favourite rides at EPCOT: Soarin’! It’s an amazing attraction that takes guests on a hang gliding tour of some of the most breathtaking sites around the world, including the ice bergs in the Arctic and the pyramids in Egypt. It’s definitely one of the most popular attractions at EPCOT, and yet it almost didn’t get built.
Once the initial concept and plans were in place for Soarin’, the Disney Team were facing the possibility of shelving the entire idea. They couldn’t figure out a way to build the ride apparatus in such a way thst it would enable them to move enough guests through the attraction at a time. The numbers of guests who visit the Disney theme parks are staggering and any attraction unable to process enough guests per hour, per day, just aren’t worth the investment. So for a time, it looked like Soarin’ wasn’t destined for production.
Mark Sumner was one of the Imagineers involved with creating Soarin’ and after the studios’ decision to halt any further work on the project, Sumner went to visit his parents for dinner. While he was at their house, he ended up looking at some of his old toys, one of which was an old Erector set.
Mark suddenly had a solution for how Soarin’ could work and he built a model of it, using his old Erector set. The solution was so perfect that the machine used in both Disney World and Disneyland is built exactly the same! … using slightly stronger materials of course … (You can check it out here.)
Walt was known for saying:
Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done, and done right.
Isn’t it amazing that 50+ years later, his company is doing that very thing? Even if it takes believing in an old Erector set? I do!
Parks Visited: EPCOT and Magic Kingdom
Restaurants Enjoyed: Coral Reef and Crystal Palace
Rides Enjoyed: Living With The Land, Soarin’, Journey Through Imagination, Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth, Pirates of the Caribbean, Its A Small World
Best Souvenir Purchased: Gianni’s annual gift to me of Disney Christmas ornaments included the redhead from the Pirates attraction
Times I Cried For Joy: 2
How I Know Gianni Is A Good Son: he rode It’s A Small World with me without making fun of it … too much
Times We Cried With Laughter: 2 – Gianni was teaching me how to yoyo 🤣