Walt Disney lived most of his childhood in Missouri. There he began drawing, painting and selling pictures to neighbors and family friends.
He pursued a career as a newspaper artist where his brother Roy got him a job at an art studio.
Walt made a deal with a local Kansas City theater to screen his cartoons. The cartoons became popular, and Walt was able to start his own studio. By 1923, however, the studio had become burdened with debt. Walt was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Walt and his brother Roy soon pooled their money and moved to Hollywood. There he started Disney Brothers’ Studio.
Fourteen years later he came out with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was their first full-length animated film that premiered in Los Angeles. It produced an unimaginable $1.499 million, in spite of the Depression. He won a total of eight Oscars. Then came Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi and more.
Walt Disney created the Wonderful World of Color. A popular Sunday night show which he used to begin promoting his new theme park idea.
Disney’s $17 million Disneyland theme park opened on July 17, 1955, in Anaheim, California. It became known as a place where children and their families could explore, enjoy rides and meet the Disney characters.
Within a few years of the opening, Walt began plans for a new theme park in Florida. It was still under construction when, in 1966, Walt was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on December 15, 1966, at the age of 65.
After his brother’s death, Roy carried on the plans to finish the Florida theme park. It opened in 1971 under the name Walt Disney World.
Today Walt Disney World Resort employs more than 62,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the country.