Long before I started writing, podcasting, and vlogging about Disney, I saw myself as part of the Disney community. I read blogs and forums. It was my secret passion that I didn’t tell anyone about. I was a punk rock kid from Denver that loved all things Disney. This post, however, isn’t about me. It’s about my long term love-hate relationship with the Disney fan community and the phrase “If Walt was alive…” followed by some nonsense I don’t care to read past.
What I noticed when I was sifting through the news, editorials, and rumors of the Disney company was that the negativity towards the Walt Disney company post Walt’s passing was overwhelming and somewhat sad. Sure there have been questionable decisions and sure there will be ridiculous mistakes made, but during Walt Disney’s time, there were mistakes and questionable decisions as well. The Disney community tends toward believing that Walt Disney was the perfect man. He was amazing at doing business. He was wonderfully talented. He was the best husband and father that ever existed. All of these are half truths because he was also a failed businessman at one point in his life and asked much of his animators, including long hours where they didn’t see their families.
I’ll be the first to admit that I put Walt Disney on a pedestal. I think of him in high regard, but I also have to tell myself that even my hero made bad decisions every once and a while. So when I hear someone say, “If Walt were alive, he would probably say this!” but the fact of the matter is that Walt isn’t around anymore. We have Bob Iger. Tom Staggs will come after him. Michael Eisner came before him. All have or will make mistakes during their tenure as head of the Walt Disney company. Nobody is perfect, not even Walt Disney, who’s films are revered today, but many of them didn’t make back the money spent on them during their time.
Through the research I’ve done for Modern Mouse and from getting to talk with some of the people who worked with Walt Disney and those who worked post Walt Disney’s death, I can give you my educated answer to any question that begins with “If Walt Was Alive..” The answer is this! As long as your whole heart is in it, you’ve got the best people working on it, and you believe it will succeed, that’s all that matters. I think that’s what Walt would say if he was alive.
Hindsight is 20/20 and for us to critique things happening in the present, regardless of how weird or crazy or “Not Disney” the idea is, someone within the Walt Disney company believes in it. Somebody believed in the movie “Home on the Range”. It didn’t work out, but someone else believed in “Frozen” and it struck gold. Walt opened Disneyland believing an underwear store and an attraction called “The Hall of Chemistry” would be thrilling. Later someone believed in Space Mountain and Star Tours. Now someone believes providing Starbucks Coffee is a great thing.
Maybe in your opinion, you aren’t a fan of some of the changes made to Walt Disney’s company, but trying to justify your opinion through Walt’s voice with the phrase “If Walt was alive…” just doesn’t cut it. Maybe things will fail. Maybe they will succeed. We will only know in the years that follow. If it fails, that’s okay, as long as something else succeeds. The Walt Disney company isn’t hurting and it certainly isn’t anywhere near bankruptcy so they must be meeting the demands of someone somewhere. My advice to those who do ask “What would Walt think?” is to believe in good intentions and that this ship will sail safely through the years because the people who work at the Walt Disney company love Walt Disney too and they want to do him proud.
300 Posts! How exciting is that, guys!? Modern Mouse Radio has of course been up and running since 2011, but really only kicked off last fall, when the site got a whole new makeover. First, the name was changed from “Disney Park History” to “Modern Mouse Radio.” Josh and Keith also started the podcast, which, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t get to listen to those two get as excited as they do Imagineering baby animals in the parks, talking to special guests like Disney Legends and fellow Disney fans, and making jokes at each others’ expense each week. Over the past couple years, more people joined the Modern Mouse team: myself, Alexia, and Ryan included, and we’ve all contributed to those 300 posts that the site has now accumulated. Some posts are naturally more popular than others, and here I will share with you the Top 5 most popular posts of all time on the site!
5. World That Never Was: Beastly Kingdom – Did you know that in the original plan for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom was to have 3 types of animal themes: animals currently living in the world (Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Jungle Treks, etc.) and animals of the past (all dinosaur themed things), which we know Animal Kingdom as have today, but did you know if was supposed to also have fantasy characters? Sure the Yeti is sort of an ode to that, but there was actually supposed to be a whole land of fantasy characters which was even supposed to have a……….. Well, I’m not going to give it away here, you have to click the link to read more!
4. Top 5: Ghost Stories From Disney Parks – Booooooooo! The Happiest Place on Earth has its own spooky secrets just like any other place! This post is about some real life “happy haunts” in the Disney Parks, from actual accounts twisted to reveal the true story behind some unexplainable occurrences, to legends and traditions cast members practice daily to keep the ghosts at bay! Hey and it’s also appropriate for this time of year!
3. The World That Never Was: Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Come on guys, why does a non-Disney thing have to be one of the top posts!? Honestly though, it’s pretty interesting to learn the truth behind why J.K. Rowling turned down the opportunity to introduce Harry Potter to the Disney parks, so now instead you have to get over to Universal Studios if you’re a HP fan! Thanks a lot, lady!
2. Top 5: Disney World Spots Sadly Abandoned – The title says “sadly,” but I say “creepily.” Seriously this is some pretty eerie sh-tuff. It’s amazing that Disney would just leave these places they closed down as they once were; music, lights, and all, when they clearly have enough money to just demolish them. Maybe they left them up for the ghosts from our above story to play! (good luck sleeping tonight!)
1. The Wizard of Bras…I Mean Oz…No, I Really Mean Bras – Seriously guys… BRAS interest you the most when it comes to talking about Disney?! What dirty minds you have! Actually, I have to admit, the history of Disney having a lingerie shop on Main St. is a pretty interesting story; one of my favorites. Read it and memorize the story so you can shock your friends!
Thanks for the thousands upon thousands of views you have brought our site! We love that you love our posts and it really just motivates up to keep going! So keep checking back nearly daily for more posts on new weekly podcasts, videos from Keith, Top 5 articles, The Whole Picture articles on Disney movies, Disney Trip Planning blogs, and Disney Food blogs! We are always sharing our reviews, opinions, creativity, humor, and history with you!
What is your all time favorite Modern Mouse Radio post? Leave your answer in the comments below!