Here is a little Disney Archaeology...our deep dig today takes us back in time. The place is the Walt Disney Studios. It is in the early 1960’s. The place is a beehive of activity and the studio is on the cutting edge of creating entertainment for television, film, and of course…theme parks.
In a story first recalled by animator Floyd Norman, there was an incident that took place on this particular morning.
A horse drawn carriage arrived at the gates of the studio. (Yes, you read that correctly…a horse drawn carriage) This horse drawn carriage was driven by a little white haired lady. Sitting on the perch of her seat on the carriage she leaned down and promptly told the security officer at the gate, “I am here to see Mr. Disney!”
“Do you have an appointment?” The officer asked looking at his registry for the day.
“No, I don’t. But I need to see him.”
“You can’t see him without an appointment,” the guard said. “He is a very busy man.”
Crossing her arms and rising up just little bit taller in her seat she declared, “I am not leaving until I see him!”
The guard placed a call to the administration office and eventually word reached Walt that there as a nutty and very stubborn woman at the gate who was demanding to see him. So Walt did what he thought was best. He walked out to the main gate to meet her.
As he stepped outside the gate he leaned against the carriage, talked about the horse pulling it, he smiled, he laughed, and engaged this strange woman in lighthearted conversation. He learned that she had written a movie script. That was the reason that she needed to see him, she wanted to give it to him, because she knew it was the perfect film for the Disney Studios to make.
Walt gladly accepted the script with the promise, “I will definitely read it.”
The woman left satisfied and Walt kept his promise and read the script.
Now, in writing this account of Disney’s life I would love to twist the story and tell you the script Walt was given that day became the biggest money maker in the history of the film industry, or that it became a classic Disney film, or that you will remember the movie that was made….I can’t do it. The reality is that the script wasn’t really that great and it was never made into a movie.
That of course, is not the point.
The point is that the executive of the studio left his office, came to the main gate, talked about horses, and made a promise (and kept it) to a crazy woman who demanded to see him. That was something that Walt understood. (I am not saying he understood crazy…keep reading) He understood the importance of people. He put a value on people. He treated everyone the same. It was said that it didn’t matter if it was a king, a president, or a ticket taker, he would always give them the same attention. He was humble enough not to always be talking about Walt Disney. He cared enough and valued people to put others first.
And that is a life lesson that would radically change many of our lives and ultimately change the world. Learning to put others first. Sometimes that is a value or a quality that is lost in our society and culture today. But it only takes a few people to remember what is most important..real people, like you and I, and if we are willing to put others first…learn to care…we really can change the world and make a difference!
About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.
Speaking of horse drawn carriages….
Did you know that there are lots of great horse experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida? There are free visits to the Disney horse barns to inexpensive wagon rides to trail rides and a variety more elaborate experiences. Click here to learn about Disney World for Horse Lovers