Jeff Dixon

Guest Blog: Walt Disney - Don't Give Up!!! Keep Working, Trying and Dreaming.

Lessons on perseverance from the life of Walt Disney.

Lessons on perseverance from the life of Walt Disney.

Disney Archaeology time...Here we go digging!
There once was a filmmaker who fell on such hard times that he was kicked out of his apartment.

Having no place to go, he lived in his office and slept at night in a chair. He did this everyday and then would continue working on projects. To bathe he would travel to a pubic bath and shower facility. Faced with this kind of living situation it would have been easy to give up and become a lost story of someone who never made it.

Yet his story is so well known that it is easy to forget some of the darker moments.

Of course, since you are reading this article, you already know we are talking about none other than Walt Disney.

An often forgotten page of his life was during the days of making the Alice comedies.

In 1923 things looked extremely bleak for Walt and his young studio.

Things got so bad that his landlady did kick him out of his apartment. (He was "asked to leave.")

The rent to live there had been $3 and Walt could no longer afford it.

He moved into the studio and slept in a sofa chair in his drawing room. He stayed there for quite some time trying to save money, squeeze out every penny he could to pour into production, and he struggled to survive.

Once a week he would take a bath at Union Station, which was located near the cities hospital district. He would walk from the studio, past the hospitals, and enter the station. It cost him a dime for soap, one towel, and a hot bath.
He lived this way, without complaint, and kept on working to make his dreams come true.

After years of struggle, hard times, and being on the brink of losing it all...the story becomes the stuff of legend.

Walt Disney not only survived but is remembered to this day.

If you glance at the paragraphs above it should be simple to see one of the main reasons he made it. It is the difference often between success and failure. It is what many people miss out on as they live life.

The reason he made it is that he just wouldn't quit.
If there was a failure or a setback he didn't stop working ,trying, or dreaming.

He did his best to push past the defeat, learn from the failure, and strive not to make the same mistake again. But he kept trying and kept chasing his dreams because he knew that one day, some day, what he was chasing would happen.

My fear in life for many is that we too often quit one minute before the game changes.

We quit knocking on doors one door short of an answer.
We quit trying one day before we would find the solution.
As a result many people live their lives by describing them as, "I almost...." "I could have..." or "I nearly...."

I am not sure what is going on in your world but I do know this...don't give up.

You may be one heartbeat away from a breathtaking dream coming true.

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.

Guest Blog: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln

Disney History: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln and the challenges of preparing for the 1964 World’s Fair.

Disney History: Walt Disney and Great Moment's with Mr. Lincoln and the challenges of preparing for the 1964 World’s Fair.

Walt Disney loved America. He loved the idea that you could dream, work hard, and make those dreams come true. The history of his life reveals a man who believed in his dreams, chased them with a passion, worked hard, risked it all (and lost it all)…and never stopped trying. Eventually, his dedication and commitment paid off and the things he created impacted the world and have left a legacy that continues to this day.

When Walt was working and designing attractions for the 1964 World’s Fair, the state of Illinois sponsored the featured attraction, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. By now, most know the attraction featured a life sized audio animatronic Abraham Lincoln that would speak to the audience, creating a moment to inspire and ignite patriotism. The attraction would eventually move to Disneyland and become inspiration for the even bigger stage show, The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

If we travel back in time to when this attraction was being prepared for The World’s Fair, what many people forget is that the technology was so new that it was being perfected right up until the last possible moment. The time had come for the show to be unveiled but the work was still being completed and many, many, many glitches were being fixed and improved.

The state of Illinois had spend a great deal of money to develop this attraction. Walt Disney had spent money as well, in addition he brought the expertise, the manpower, the man hours, and his reputation was riding on the success of Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. Two days before the show was opened at the World’s Fair, The Lincoln Theater was full. There were 500 invited guests from Illinois. There were members of the press on hand to report and give their review of this premier attraction. The governor of Illinois introduced what everyone was about to see. There was a buzz of excitement charging through the room.

But…there was a problem.

The show did not work. There was a malfunction, a glitch if you will, and the show would not perform as planned. So now the crisis was compounded by all the eyes watching and waiting in the theater. Should Walt let the show run? Did he allow people to see the show explaining that they would be seeing something that was not quite ready? or…..would he cancel it?

The pressure to let the show go on was tremendous.

So under all of that pressure, Walt did the only thing he could do.

He stepped out on the stage and addressed the crowd. He explained what the problem was, why the show was delayed…and then told them there would be no show for them this evening.

Walt Disney cancelled the show.

He promised it would be fixed. And of course, it was. The fix took a week and then…and only then…the show went on as it had been created. **

Walt Disney had done something that reminds us all of an important lesson about doing things well, leading others, and bringing a quality of excellence to work and life itself. Walt was willing to suffer the embarrassment and criticism for the moment because he knew what he was doing was worth it. The short term pain he went through was necessary for the long term gain that he achieved.

Walt Disney would not sacrifice the quality of the show. His name, his reputation, his creativity, his company, his vision, his dream, and his dedication to excellence were all on the line…and he would not take a shortcut to short-circuit the process.

In life, in our culture, there are many who are willing to take shortcuts, the easy road, or the less than the best pathway to get what they want. Usually it is for immediate gratification or short term gain. Sadly, most people have such a “live for the moment” view of life that they don’t understand there is a difference between “living for the moment” and “living in the moment.”

If Walt chose to “live for the moment” he would have offered his best excuses (and people probably would have understood) and let them see whatever portion of the show worked best. He could have saved some dignity and a little pride. If he would have been “living for the moment” his entire focus would have been on how to not look like a complete disaster that night. He chose something better.

Walt knew that “living in the moment” meant that he would take the heat, the criticism, and the responsibility for doing what was right and delivering what he promised…which was a great show and attraction. “Living in the moment” means that we take and squeeze every bit of life we can out of each moment, never forgetting that it is a moment that we need to use wisely…because this moment leads us to the next…and then next…and the next.

His wisdom, his patience, his leadership all were on display…because” living in the moment” wasn’t that comfortable, but when the show finally opened, living in that moment made it all worthwhile. Sometimes the moments we “live in” can be tough ,uncomfortable, and even embarrassing…but never trade the lessons that can be learned “in the moment” for the short term convenience of “living for the moment.”

The difference is huge…and the decisions you make will determine the kind of impact you will have in the world.

** The historical accounts of this event come from a variety of sources, Walt Disney-An American Original by Bob Thomas & Disney U by Doug Lipp. There are other accounts of this preview recorded in other places but both of these sources are excellent and worth checking out. The commentary and life application are the work of Jeff Dixon, author of The Key to the Kingdom series and The Disney Driven Life and The Disney Code.

Guest Blog: Walt Disney Valued People

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!

Disney History - An account of an interaction between Walt Disney and a woman who drove up to the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in a horse-drawn carriage.

Disney History - An account of an interaction between Walt Disney and a woman who drove up to the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in a horse-drawn carriage.

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

Guest Blog - Hunt chameleons, not eggs, this Easter

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Find Pascal, the chameleon from Disney’s Tangled, in the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Since it is Easter – here is another Disney Easter Egg Hunt – another chance to find hidden surprises within the world of Disney. This particular Easter Egg Hunt is one you can take for yourself the next time you visit Walt Disney World. Believe it or not, the details in WDW are so amazing that you can even make a trip to the restroom an adventure – especially if you visit the Tangled themed restroom area in the Magic Kingdom.

This is actually a chameleon hunt and he appears first in the movie Tangled, but has more frequent appearances in the Tangled themed follow-up films and series. As we meet Rapunzel her one true friend is her silent, color-changing sidekick, Pascal. Although just a small chameleon, he plays a big role in Rapunzel's life. Confidante, coach and cheerleader, Pascal is a driving force behind Rapunzel's decision to leave her lonely tower. This supportive and encouraging companion's true colors held a key to solving an amazing mystery.

When you visit the Tangled themed bathrooms there is a sign that alerts you that there is something to look for…and if you look closely, you will begin to find Pascal hidden throughout the carefully and creatively themed area. Included in this post are a few pictures…if you really want clues, here are a few…but not all you need to find them all

Egg Hunt or Pascal Hunt spoiler alert follows….
Find the “Look for friends of Pascal in the scenery” sign and turn your eyes to the bridge on your left. You’ll see something looking right back at you on the rock!

Look in the other side of the water, notice the rock with an indentation…there you’ll discover a set of eyes that blend in perfectly to the moss surroundings.

Look at the sign again. Straight across from you, you’ll see a boulder…on the right side is a boulder-colored Pascal hiding from everyone.

Find Momento Mori, look carefully and search until you find three flower boxes. Someone’s hiding underneath the second one.

Take a look at one of the light posts and you guessed it – Pascal is there.

On this Easter weekend, remember that each of us need friends who stick beside us, encourage us, help us, and motivate us to be more. We all need them in our lives and whether you realize it or not, you just might be the very person to make that kind of difference in the lives of others. Sometimes it is subtle, and you can bless and encourage others without being flashy, maybe even blending into the background…but never underestimate the value that you have in the lives of others and take the time to thank those who bless you!

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.

Click here for a list of places to see or meet Rapunzel from Tangled

Guest Blog: Disney and Notre Dame

It is with great sadness that we watched as so many did, the Cathedral of Notre Dame burn in Paris, France. This iconic structure was a part of the fabric and lore of the city and the loss is tremendous. In the aftermath of this loss, our hearts and prayers are with the people of France, who have lost a part of their culture and a landmark that was a hub of activity within the city.

Even in the world of Disney, this great cathedral was a part of the storylines of many films.

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Disney and Notre Dame Cathedral

Of course, we remember The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To stay consistent to the architecture and details of Notre Dame, animators spent several weeks in and around the actual cathedral. This building in the picture serves as a home to the main protagonist, Quasimodo. He viewed the cathedral as a home as he rings and cares for its bells, each of which he has bestowed a name. In return, the cathedral shelters and protects him

The cathedral also is seen in the Aristocrats, as Edgar Balthazar drives past Notre Dame while taking the cats into the countryside. In Ratatouille, we see the cathedral on two occasions. More recently it was seen in Cars 2, as a street musician performs music in front of the cathedral after Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell's arrival in Paris. In the live action film, Beauty and the Beast, the Notre Dame Cathedral appears as a background in the backstory of the lead characters as they are being developed.

Sometimes it is easy to take for granted those places that become the backdrop for the stories that create the memories that define our lives. For the people and city of Paris this is a great loss - it is also a loss for citizens of the world. Never take for granted the places and more importantly the people that help create the moments that define our lives. In the days ahead remember to pray for Paris as they have lost a piece of their history as well as a place that was so much a part of the heartbeat of the city.

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.

Did you know? The Hunchback of Notre Dame was featured in two live shows in Disney parks? The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was presented at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1996 to 2002 and The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Festival of Fools ran at Disneyland from 1996 to 1998.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure was a live show presented from 1996 to 2002 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Photo by Steve Johnson.

Disney is donating $5 million towards the work to restore Notre Dame Cathedral. Disney CEO Bob Iger released this statement, '“ Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architechture and for its enduring place in human history.”