Tribute to Walt
I’ve been more fortunate than most kids in the simple fact that I lived within minutes of Walt’s dream. I remember my first time going through those gates with my family and seeing that castle at the end of Main Street, USA. I can still here the sounds of the penny arcade. I can still see the people everywhere smiling, laughing. I can still smell the sweet shop and the hot dogs on the corner.
Fast forward 6 years. I’m 11 and I’m at the end of Main Street USA looking at Cinderella’s castle. It’s about 8:45 in the morning. My best friend and I are on our first day of summer vacation. We’re standing behind a rope, which is the only thing between us and a full day of excitement. The rope drops and we’re off! Screaming at the top of our lungs – “Pirates!!!”, and racing for our favorite ride.
Fast forward again, 12 years. I’m in Crystal Palace, just off Main Street USA. Eeyore is at our table tapping my girlfriend on her shoulder. She turns to see him holding a small box in his hands. Eeyore slowly opens the box and she begins to cry. She turns back to me and I’m down on one knee, asking her to spend the rest of her life with me. She says yes…
Today, I’m 31 years old. I’m still that kid I was on that hot summer day I walked into the park for the first time. Even now when I walk through those gates with my family, I get misty eyed. There are so many memories for me here. So many good times. The best part is that I get to see the Disney as Walt intended it, through my children’s eyes, all over again.
I’ve studied the man that made all these dreams come true, for myself and so many others. So much in fact, that I feel like I knew him. He was an inspiration to those around him and he continues to be an inspiration to this very day. He’s been a role model for me in both life and in business, but most of all, he helped me to stay a kid.
Thanks Walt. For everything.
“Or heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” – Walt Disney