Ready to grasp some fast knowledge on a fascinating individual, Fun Facts: Walt Disney Edition is ready to take you on a journey from animation to theme parks, mouse to man.

What can be said that has not already been said about the man, the myth, the legend… Walt Disney. Never has one individual done so much for the entertainment industry. Scores of books litter the shelves, cataloguing his every move. Why this fascination? Perhaps, we see something of ourselves in him. His rags-to-riches tale is the Everyman personified. His influence has been so tightly woven into the fibre of our collective ideology that Disney has become synonymous with the word “dream” or “magic.” In essence, Disney represents a tapestry of endless possibilities.

You will notice that throughout the following, we often refer to Disney as Walt. That is because these factoids are intended to remind us that behind such grand and miraculous accomplishments, stood a man. Just like you, just like me. Let’s begin…

The Story of Peter Pan Was One of Walt’s Favorite

In fact, after seeing Peter Pan perform on stage, young Walt was given the opportunity to play the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up in a school performance.

Walt Began Cultivating His Skills As A Cartoonist As A Young Kid

While on the farm in Missouri, he delighted in drawing cartoon pictures of his neighbor’s horses.

Walt Dropped Out of High School at Age 16 to Join the Army

But he was rejected for being underage. He was able to land a job as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross in France.

Walt’s First Animation Studio Was Called Laugh-O-Gram

It was at Laugh-O-Gram that he began modernising fairy tales based on Aesop’s Fables. Unfortunately, the studio quickly went bankrupt.

Walt Almost Went Into the Vacuum Business

Well, not exactly. In 1923, Walt joined his older brother Roy in L.A. to take up a career in animation. To make ends meet, Roy had been selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door and urged Walt to do the same. He almost did. But before he could, he got a call from a company in New York that wanted him to make shorts for them.

What’s In A Name?

Walt’s animation studio was first called “Disney Brothers Studio.”

Mickey Mouse Was Not Walt’s First Iconic Character

Mickey’s predecessor, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was created while Disney was under contract with Universal Pictures.

Mickey Mouse Was Originally Named Mortimer Mouse

Ugh, can you imagine? Luckily, Walt’s wife said the name Mortimer sounded too pompous, convincing Walt to change the name to Mickey.

Not Good Idea Goes To Waste…

Mortimer was instead given to Mickey’s rival mouse in later shorts.

Believe It Or Not, Walt did Not Draw Mickey Mouse

Okay, that’s a stretch. See, he technically did draw Mickey at first, but it did not last all that long. After 1928, Walt was no longer animating, but rather placing his focus on story development and direction. He depends on Iwerks and other artists to do the drawing.

The Busiest Man In Showbiz

From 1928 until 1947, Walt performed the voice of Mickey Mouse. Talk about big shoes to fill.

Father of the Year

Ever the family man, Walt drove his two daughters to school each and every day.

Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate

Walt was determined to create a feature-length animated Snow White film, despite naysayers in Hollywood and beyond. It’s okay. In the end, Snow White earned more than $8 million during its original release, which would be the equivalent of about $130 million today.

An All-American Walt

Walt produced animated war propaganda films and training videos for the United States military.

Ahead of His Time

Walt was one of the originators of children’s television entertainment, airing kid-friendly programming such as Zorro, Davy Crockett, and the infamous The Mickey Mouse Club.

Walt Received More Academy Awards and Nominations Than Anyone Else

Between 1932 and 1969, he won 22 Academy Awards and was nominated 59 times.

At the 1938 Oscars…

Disney was presented with one normal-size statuette and seven miniature ones that represented Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Walt Bought His Parents A Brand-New Hour

And when his parents needed something fixed, tweaked, or repaired, he sent his own repairmen from the studio over to take care of it.

Walt Held the Patent for Technicolor for Two Years

Making him the only animator allowed to make colour-animated films.

Mickey Wasn’t Walt’s Favorite….

Walt’s favourite character was Goofy.

Walt Had Castle-Sized Dreams

Walt had hopes of someday opening a world-class theme park where children and parents could have fun together. Today, we know it as… Disneyland.

Walt Loved Trains

His attraction began as a child, watching trains pass by near his house. His uncle (who was a train conductor) would blow the whistle as a greeting.

Backyard Shenanigans

Walt built a miniature steam railroad in the backyard of his L.A. home.

Walt Has a Private Apartment in Disneyland

In fact, it’s still there. The fixtures and furnishings remain practically unchanged, including the infamous lamp in the window visible to guests from outside. It is always left on as a way to suggest that Walt is always in the park.

A Leader for All Seasons

Walt was the head of pageantry for the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Walt Was Not a Fan of Golf

After his doctor suggested that he give up polo, Walt tried to take up golf. He found the game so incredibly frustrating that he quit and took up lawn bowling.

Walt’s Was a Sucker for Ballads

According to songwriter Richard Sherman, Walt often stopped by the Sherman brothers’ office at Disney on Friday afternoons and requested a personal performance of “Feed the Birds.”

Walt’s Original Plans for EPCOT Were VERY Different

EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was meant to encourage American industry to strive towards better urban living – something that Walt found particularly interesting.

A Minor Planet Is Named After Disney–4017 Disney

It was discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Karachkina in 1980.

Walt Has a Star Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame…

…along with Mickey Mouse, who was the first animated character to receive one.

A New Namesake!

The character Wall-E was named after Walt himself!

Why Do Disneyland Employees Only Have Their First Name Listed On Their Name Tags?

Because Disney despised being called Mr. Disney.

Walt Had Plans To Build A Ski Resort

The Walt Disney Company ended up deciding to move forward with Disney World instead.

On His Deathbed, Walt Wrote the Name “Kurt Russell” On A Piece of Paper

Even Kurt Russell himself is perplexed regarding the meaning. He was a child actor at the time of Disney’s death, having just recently signed on with Disney Studios.

It’s A Jungle Out There

The last film Walt personally oversaw was The Jungle Book, before his death from lung cancer in 1966.

Despite What Many Believe, Walt Is Not Cryogenically Frozen

He was cremated, and his ashes were buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Who In The World Is Thelma Howard?

Thelma was hired in 1951 as Walt Disney’s housekeeper. As part of her annual Christmas gift, the Disneys gifted her with stock in the company. By the time she died in 1994, she was a multimillionaire. She left nearly $4.5 million to poor and disabled children, and roughly the same amount to her disabled son.