Disney is particularly noted as a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created some of the world's most well-known fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, for whom Disney himself provided the original voice. During his lifetime he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history.
Animated TV Shows
- Mickey Mouse Club – Mickey Mouse
- Fantasia – Mickey Mouse
- Fun and Fancy Free – Mickey Mouse
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
By 1927, Charles Mintz had married Margaret Winkler and assumed control of her business. He then ordered a new, all-animated series to be put into production for distribution through Universal Pictures. The new series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was an almost instant success, and the character, Oswald – drawn and created by Iwerks – became a popular figure. The Disney studio expanded and Walt re-hired Harman, Rudolph Ising, Carman Maxwell, and Friz Freleng from Kansas City.
Disney went to New York in February 1928 to negotiate a higher fee per short and was shocked when Mintz told him that not only did he want to reduce the fee he paid Disney per short but also that he had most of his main animators, including Harman, Ising, Maxwell, and Freleng—but not Iwerks, who refused to leave Disney—under contract and would start his own studio if Disney did not accept the reduced production budgets. Universal, not Disney, owned the Oswald trademark, and could make the films without Walt. Disney declined Mintz's offer and as a result lost most of his animation staff whereupon he found himself on his own again.
It subsequently took his company 78 years to get back the rights to the Oswald character when in 2006 the Walt Disney Company reacquired the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC Universal, through a trade for longtime ABC sports commentator Al Michaels.
After losing the rights to Oswald, Disney felt the need to develop a new character to replace him, which was based on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in his Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City.Ub Iwerks reworked the sketches made by Disney to make the character easier to animate although Mickey's voice and personality were provided by Disney himself until 1947.
In the words of one Disney employee, "Ub designed Mickey's physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul." Besides Oswald and Mickey, a similar mouse-character is seen in the Alice Comedies, which featured "Ike the Mouse". Moreover, the first Flip the Frog cartoon called Fiddlesticks showed a Mickey Mouse look-alike playing fiddle. The initial films were animated by Iwerks with his name prominently featured on the title cards. Originally named "Mortimer", the mouse was later renamed "Mickey" by Lillian Disney, who thought that the name Mortimer did not sound appealing. Mortimer eventually became the name of Mickey's rival for Minnie – taller than his renowned adversary and speaking with a Brooklyn accent.
The first animated short to feature Mickey, Plane Crazy was a silent film like all of Disney's previous works. After failing to find a distributor for the short and its follow-up, The Gallopin' Gaucho, Disney created a Mickey cartoon with sound called Steamboat Willie. A businessman named Pat Powers provided Disney with both distribution and Cinephone, a sound-synchronization process. Steamboat Willie became an instant success,and Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, and all future Mickey cartoons were released with soundtracks. After the release of Steamboat Willie, Disney successfully used sound in all of his subsequent cartoons, and Cinephone also became the new distributor for Disney's early sound cartoons.Mickey soon eclipsed Felix the Cat as the world's most popular cartoon characterand by 1930, despite their having sound, cartoons featuring Felix had faded from the screen after failing to gain attention. Mickey's popularity would subsequently skyrocket in the early 1930s.
Fameous People that he met
- "I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained."
- "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."
- "I've never believed in doing sequels. I didn't want to waste the time I have doing a sequel; I'd rather be using that time doing something new and different."
- "Never forget that it all started with a mouse."
- "A prayer, it seems to me, implies a promise as well as a request, at the highest level. Prayer not only is supplication for strength and guidance, but also becomes an affirmation of life and thus a reverent praise of God."
- “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better. I worry about many things, but not about water over the dam.”
- "All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."
- "Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can concieve."
- "I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator. I have always had men working for me whose skills were greater than my own, I am an idea man."
- I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”
- "When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it's because he's so human; and that is the secret of his popularity."
- "One of the greatest satisfactions in our work here at the studio is the warm relationship that exists within our cartoon family. Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, and the whole gang have always been a lot of fun to work with."
- "But like every family, we have a trouble child: Donald Duck".
- Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
- The King of Arendelle strongly sounds like and resembles him.
- In the fifth grade, Walt memorized the Gettysburg Address (for fun) and surprised everyone by arriving at school dressed as Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. His costume consisted of his father's old coat and a homemade beard. He even pasted a putty wart to his cheek. His teacher was delighted. Little wonder that years later, when his studio created the first fully functioning audio-animatronic human figure for the 1964 New York World's Fair, it was Abraham Lincoln!
- Disney had very simple tastes in food. According to his daughter Diane, "He liked fried potatoes, hamburgers, western omelets, hotcakes, canned peas, hash, stew, roast beef sandwiches. He doesn't go for vegetables, but loves chicken livers or macaroni and cheese." Lillian Disney would complain, "Why should I plan a meal when all Disney really wants is a can of chili or a can of spaghetti?" 
- Although a baptized Christian, Walt Disney was not a frequent visitor to churches. Religious people would occasionally ask him to make religious films but Walt declined. However a number of his Silly Symphonies featured figures from the Bible. Including: *Hell's Bells (first released November 11, 1929), featuring Satan.
- Father Noah's Ark (April 8, 1933), featuring Noah, Ham, Japheth, Shem and their respective wives.
- The Goddess of Spring (November 3, 1934). Featuring Persephone and a version of her uncle/husband Hades/ Pluto identified here with Satan.
- Noah's Ark (November 10, 1959) . Featuring Noah, Ham, Japheth, Shem and their respective wives. Not officially released as a Silly Symphony but very similar to them.
- In 1940, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation recruited Disney as an Official Informant. He was later designated as a Special Agent in Charge contact.
- Walt could be seen around 1950s Disneyland doing menial chores, like getting strollers for people, tinkering under the hood of a car on Main Street U.S.A., fishing in Rivers of America, or piloting the Mark Twain Riverboat.
- In the fall of 1963, while seeking the site for Disney's new "Florida Project", Walt and Roy Disney first flew over a coastal area of Florida, and then the forest and swamps near Orlando which were selected as the site to become Walt Disney World. Shortly later, their plane landed in New Orleans on the way back to California. There the Disney brothers learned of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. He had been assassinated earlier that same afternoon in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
- One of the audio animatronic pirates on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride introduced in 1967 has Walt Disney's face. It was taken from the same life cast mold that was used to make the statue of Disney that adorns the central square. Sadly, that same life cast mold was never used, to date, to create an AA of Walt himself.
- According to Richard Sherman, Walt would ask him how his progress on a week was then ask him to play the song Feed the Birds, his favorite song from Mary Poppins. After Walt passed away in 1966, Richard still plays the song for Walt to this day.
- Walt would be 112 years old today if he had survived his battle with lung cancer; his visions of improvements in human health would have kept him alive had they existed the year of his passing.
- In the Michael Crichton novel and Steven Spielberg film Jurassic Park, the character of John Hammond was inspired by Walt; some of John's lines in the movie were based on things that Walt even said about his own theme parks. Also, Disneyland and the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction are both mentioned in the movie.
- Tom Hanks potrayed Walt in the 2013 live-action film, Saving Mr. Banks.
- Walt Disney had a cameo in the newest Mickey Mouse cartoon, Tokyo Go.
- Walt Disney's name can be seen in Nickelodeon's The Fairly OddParents episode Escape from Unwish Island. It appeares that Walt had fairy godparent(s) of his own. He is also given a loving tribute in the form of the character Walt Kidney.
- When he was working on The Happiest Millionaire, one day he was walking by the Sherman Brothers' office; they were practicing one of the songs for the movie and he thought he heard the acronym "S.O.B.", so he walked into the office and asked them what that acronym was. They had "uh oh" expressions on their faces.
- The final film projects that he was involve with before he died was the Jungle Book, the Winnie the Pooh franchise and the Aristocats. He even approved them himself before his traffic death from lung cancer.