The First International Move: Tokyo
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” This is a quote from Walt Disney, a man that prided himself on innovation, creativity, and curiosity. In 1923, Walt Disney founded the Disney Brothers Studio with his older brother Roy, in California. Walt Disney had a vision, he imagined a place where children and parents could both go and create new memories, together. The more he dreamed of this magical park, the more elaborate it became. Although, World War II put those dreams on hold, Walt continued to come up with new ideas and creations for his park. Finally in 1953, Walt and Roy bought a 160-acre lot in Anaheim, California for the first Disneyland (Just Disney).
Construction for Disneyland began on July 21, 1954 and had a meager twelve months before it was scheduled to open. The magical little park turned into a seventeen million dollar Magic Kingdom and was ready to open on July 17, 1955. Six thousand invitations were mailed in honor of the grand opening, but by mid-afternoon over twenty-eight thousand ticket holders stormed the park, unfortunately, most of these tickets were counterfeit. Opening day was complete chaos, with temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and, due to a plumbers strike, few water fountains operated in the vicinity. They ran out of food and water due to the unexpected number of counterfeited tickets and the tar was so hot that women’s heels were getting stuck in the black goo. Besides the devastating opening day, the park’s luck eventually turned. By 1965, ten years later, fifty million visitors had visited Disneyland. Disney’s philosophy was to create universal timeless family entertainment, Walt knew the importance of family interaction, because of this, the company was focused on fostering an experience that families could enjoy together. As Walt said himself, “You’re dead if you aim only for kids, adults are only kids grown up, anyway” (Just Disney).
Disney also took a different approach to their management style, it was ran as a flat, non hierarchical organization, where everyone, including Walt, used their first names and no one had titles. Walt was driven to achieve creativity and quality so he emphasized teamwork, communication, and cooperation. He even pushed himself and his staff so hard that he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1931. In 1966, Walt died from lung cancer, however, many workers were fiercely committed to Walt and the company and they established their second location in Orlando, Florida in October 1971. Walt died prior to the Florida park opening, but Roy continued leading Disney until 1971 when he was laid to rest. The legacy continued after the Disney brothers were gone, their original team still remained, all of which were trained by the Disney brothers themselves (Just Disney).
A quote from Walt before he passed away was, “Disneyland will never...