Don’t lose sight

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in the park they built together. Disneyland, California, April 2003

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in the park they built together.
Disneyland, California, April 2003

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”
Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s success is legendary, and the tough road he took to get there is well documented. He died in 1966, soon after his 65th birthday, an age that sounds far too young to me now.  I had recently had my tenth birthday when he died, and I remember feeling sad when I heard of his passing.  Though at that time I had never been inside a Disney park, or seen more than one or two of his movies, I can remember thinking that he had changed history as surely as any politician or statesman.

Our family has always been fond of Disney, and we have spent many happy hours enjoying the parks and movies that bear his name, so it’s not surprising that we find him inspirational.  But surely even the most anti-Disney curmudgeon out there would have to admit that it’s rather amazing that such a huge empire came from a little cartoon mouse.

Mickey had an early name change (he started out as Mortimer Mouse) and several cosmetic alterations over the years.  His first feature film, Steamboat Willie, was rejected by nearly every film executive in the industry, leaving Disney deeply in debt until he found success by allowing just one theater to run it at a very low price.  Mickey was a smash hit, and the world — especially the world of children — would never be the same.

Big things almost always start small, which can be good news or bad news, depending on which direction things go in the beginning.  Are there any small things in your life that later became great assets, or more unhappily, tremendous liabilities?  Are the small steps you take each day leading you in the right direction?

If it seems that you are not accomplishing as much as you wish, remember the plucky little cartoon mouse with the dubious beginnings, and channel his cheerful, never-give-up attitude. It’s doubtful that you will ever build the kind of game-changing industry that Disney did.  But I’m sure he would be the first to agree: if you set your sights high and refuse to let discouragement get you down, you CAN live happily ever after.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. mike c

    Yea well definitely a visionary. The documentary i watched on how they got the land in Florida- hiding the fact they were from Disney enterprises and getting the land dirt cheap gives another view. A shrewd business person. Apparently his vision for Epcot center is much different from what came to be.
    I also remember the high pressure sales event we were trapped in for several hours when we were browbeaten for not accepting their gift of a “time share” there. The sales person actually told me off for ,”wasting his time.” I should have walked out. I also remember the 45 dollar a day parting for Alanui Disney resort -in Hawaii. Definitely a money making affair. It’s the American way- in action. I did not park there-but parked a couple of blocks away and walked in. as i wanted to see the new buildings. Not a good place to visit if you are poor. Disney sucks.

    • Yes, I should have put a disclaimer on there. I’m growing increasingly disenchanted with Disney myself. I don’t think Walt Disney himself ever intended it to become what it has become. Matt and I went to one of those “time share” visits, mainly out of curiosity, because I wanted to see the new hotel and decide whether I’d like to rent someone else’s time share there. They didn’t browbeat or otherwise mess with us. But you’re right, it’s all about money. Normally I never go to such things and when I do– that time at Disney might have been my first time, in fact– I tell them from the get-go that they are not going to sell me anything. Usually salespeople can tell they’re wasting their time with me.

  2. mike c

    I guess i am a Disney curmudgeon.

    • I am rapidly becoming one. Just think of me as part of the Rebel Resistance (now that Disney also owns the Star Wars franchise).

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