By April 8, 2013 Read More →

Walt Disney Quotes

imageHe taught us to dream big.  He resented the limitation of his own imagination.  His life’s work was a labor of love and his simple formula was this: dream, diversify, and never miss an angle.

He was the late, great Walt Disney.

His business was happiness. He brought tears and smiles to kids, young and old, around the world.

He was a dreamer and a doer.  If you’ve ever wished upon a star, and hoped your dreams would come true, then you missed Walt’s message.  You have to make your dreams happen.  You bring your dreams to life through imagination and work … no matter how impossible they might seem.

Actually, Walt had a very specific recipe for making dreams come true.  His recipe was the four C’s: Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy.  He said that the greatest of these is Confidence.  Without confidence, you won’t get past the challenges and critics that stand before you.

We can learn a lot from Walt Disney’s timeless words of wisdom.  Here they are at your fingertips.  Please enjoy my collection of Walt Disney quotes.

To make the most of the list, find three quotes that you can use today, and share them with a friend.

Top 10 Walt Disney Quotes

  1. “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
  2. “I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.”
  3. “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
  4. “In bad times and in good, I have never lost my sense of zest for life.”
  5. “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
  6. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
  7. “The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be.”
  8. “Whatever you do, do it well.”
  9. “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it better.”
  10. “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

Animation

  • “All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of  fantasy and fable.”
  • “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.”
  • “Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.”
  • “Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”
  • “At first the cartoon medium was just a novelty, but it never really began to hit until we had more than tricks… until we developed personalities. We had to get beyond getting a laugh. They may roll in the aisles, but that doesn’t mean you have a great picture. You have pathos in the thing.”
  • “I take great pride in the artistic development of cartoons. Our characters are made to go through emotions.”
  • “I think a good study of music would be indispensable to the animators — a realization on their part of how primitive music is, how natural it is for people to want to go to music — a study of rhythm, the dance — the various rhythms enter into our lives every day.”
  • “I think you have to know these fellows definitely before you can draw them. When you start to caricature a person,you can’t do it without knowing the person. Take Laurel and Hardy for example; everybody can see Laurel doing certain things because they know Laurel.”
  • “In our animation we must show only the actions and reactions of a character, but we must picture also with the action. . . the feeling of those characters.”
  • “Until a character becomes a personality it cannot be believed. Without personality, the character may do funny or interesting things, but unless people are able to identify themselves with the character, its actions will seem unreal. And without personality, a story cannot ring true to the audience.”

Be Yourself

  • Childishness? I think it’s the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor. I mean, there’s a certain something that you retain. It’s the equivalent of not getting so stuffy that you can’t laugh at others.”
  • “I am corny, you know? But I think there are just about 140 million people in this country who are just as corny as I am.”
  • “I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator; I have always had men working for me whose skills were greater than my own. I am an idea man.”
  • “I wanted to retain my individuality. I was afraid of being hampered by studio policies. I knew if someone else got control, I would be restrained.”
  • “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”
  • “Our 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.”
  • “When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artist to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn.”

Business

  • “Born of necessity, the little fellow, Mickey Mouse, literally freed us of immediate worry. He provided the means for expanding our organization to its present dimensions and for extending the medium cartoon animation towards new entertainment levels. He spelled production liberation for us.”
  • “I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.”
  • “I don’t make pictures just to make money. I make money to make more pictures.”
  • “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”
  • “I have never been interested in personal gain or profit. This business and this studio have been my entire life.”
  • “I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds.”
  • “I know different ways of looking at things. I have my stockholders, and I feel a very keen responsibility to the shareholders, but I feel that the main responsibility I have to them is to have the stock appreciate. And you only have it appreciate by reinvesting as much as you can back in the business. And that’s what we’ve done… and that has been my philosophy on running the business.”
  • “I never called my work an ‘art’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.”
  • “Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.”
  • “My greatest reward is that I have been able to build this wonderful organization.”
  • “No matter what the provocation, I never fire a man who is honestly trying to deliver a job. Few workers who become established at the Disney Studio ever leave voluntarily or otherwise, and many have been on the payroll all their working lives.”
  • “We allow no geniuses around our Studio.”
  • “We grew to our present size almost against ourselves. It was not a deliberately planned commercial venture in the sense that I sat down and said that we were going to make ourselves into a huge financial octopus. We evolved by necessity. We did not sit down and say to ourselves, ‘How can we make a big pile of dough?’ It just happened.”

Children

  • “Adults are interested if you don’t play down to the little 2 or 3 year olds or talk down. I don’t believe in talking down to children. I don’t believe in talking down to any certain segment. I like to kind of just talk in a general way to the audience. Children are always reaching.”
  • “Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature.”
  • “Crowded classrooms and half-day sessions are a tragic waste of our greatest national resource – the minds of our children.”
  • “Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it.”
  • “I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether he be six or sixty.  Call the child innocence.”
  • “I don’t believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn’t treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.”
  • “In my work, I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous sometimes, is still reaching for the stars.”
  • “Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.”
  • “My business is making people, especially children, happy. I have dedicated much of my time to a study of the problems of children.”
  • “I have long felt that the way to keep children out of trouble is to keep them interested in things.”
  • “It’s a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.”
  • “Over at our place, we’re sure of just one thing: everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don’t think of grown-ups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.”
  • “That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won’t do that. I’ll temper a story, yes. But I won’t play down, and I won’t patronize.”

Continuous Learning

  • “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me.”
  • “All you’ve got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you’ll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.”
  • “Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk.”
  • “I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.”
  • “I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.”
  • “Never get bored or cynical. Yesterday is a thing of the past.”
  • “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
  • “We keep moving forward opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
  • “Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”
  • “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Courage

  • “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
  • “Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk — especially in new undertakings. Courage to initiate something and to keep it going, pioneering and adventurous spirit to blaze new ways, often, in our land of opportunity.”
  • “Faith I have, in myself, in humanity, in the worthwhileness of the pursuits in entertainment for the masses.  But wide awake, not blind faith, moves me.”
  • “Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.”
  • “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
  • “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”

Design and Development

  • “Everyone has to contribute, or they become laborers.”
  • “I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with ‘expressing’ myself with obscure creative impressions.”
  • “I definitely feel that we cannot do the fantastic things based on the real, unless we first know the real.”
  • “I don’t know if it’s art, but I know I like it.”
  • “No one person can take credit for the success of a motion picture. It’s strictly a team effort. From the time the story is written to the time the final release print comes off the printer, hundreds of people are involved — each one doing a job — each job contributing to the final product.”
  • “The ideal set-up would be the story man, the director, and the layout man, as well as musician, operating as a sort of story unit. They all should be keenly interested in the picture. No one in person should donate to an extent where he would keep the others from entering into the production and freely expressing themselves.”
  • “The story man must see clearly in his own mind how every piece of business will be put over. He should feel every expression, every reaction. He get far enough from his story to take a second look at it. . . to see whether there is any dead phase. . . to see whether the personalities are going to be interesting and appealing to the audience. He should also try to see that the things that his characters are doing are of an interesting nature.”
  • “We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”
  • “We seem to know when to ‘tap the heart.’ Others have hit the intellect. We can hit them in all emotional way. Those who appeal to the intellect only appeal to a very limited group. The real thing behind this is: we are in the motion picture business, only we are drawing them instead of photographing them.”
  • “When we consider a project, we really study it–not just the surface idea, but everything about it. And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. And we work hard to do the best possible job.”
  • “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”
  • “You know, the only way I’ve found to make these pictures is with animators. You can’t seem to do it with accountants and bookkeepers.”
  • “Your dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

Disneyland

  • “Disneyland is a work of love.”
  • “Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America.”
  • “Disneyland is like a piece of clay: If there is something I don’t like, I’m not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp.”
  • “Disneyland is not just another amusement park. It’s unique, and I want it kept that way. Besides, you don’t work for a dollar – you work to create and have fun.”
  • “Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning, together with every variety of recreation and fun designed to appeal to everyone.”
  • “I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park. I want to feel they’re in another world.”
  • “I first saw the site for Disneyland back in 1953. In those days it was all flat land – no rivers, no mountains, no castles or rocket ships – just orange groves, and a few acres of walnut trees.”
  • “I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.”
  • “I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place — a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it.”
  • “To all that come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
  • “We did it [Disneyland], in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster – closed and forgotten within the first year.”
  • “When we opened Disneyland, a lot of people got the impressions that it was a get-rich-quick thing, but they didn’t realize that behind Disneyland was this great organization that I built here at the Studio, and they all got into it and we were doing it because we loved to do it.”

Dreams, Ideas, and Imagination

  • “Art was always a means to an end with me. You get an idea, and you just can’t wait. Once you’ve started, then you’re in there with the punches flying. There’s plenty of trouble, but you can handle it. You can’t back out. It gets you down once in a while, but it’s exciting. Our whole business is exciting.”
  • “Cinderella believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him.”
  • “Disneyland is something that will never be finished. It’s something that I can keep developing. It will be a live, breathing thing that will need change. A picture is a thing, once you wrap it up and turn it over to Technicolor, you’re through. Snow White is a dead issue with me. But I can change the park, because it’s alive.”
  • “Disneyland is the star, everything else is in the supporting role.”
  • “Disneyland will never be completed.  It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination in the world.”
  • “Dreams, ideas, and plans not only are an escape, they give me purpose, a reason to hang on.”
  • “Fantasy and reality often overlap.”
  • “First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dream.”
  • “Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.”
  • “I believe in being an innovator.”
  • “I resent the limitations of my own imagination.”
  • “When we do fantasy, we must not lose sight of reality.”

Fame and Fortune

  • “Being a celebrity doesn’t even seem to keep the fleas off our dogs — and if being a celebrity won’t give me an advantage over a couple of fleas, then I guess there can’t be much in being a celebrity after all.”
  • “Fancy being remembered around the world for the invention of a mouse!”
  • “I have no use for people who throw there weight around as celebrities, or for those who fawn over you just because you are famous.”
  • “If anybody gets highbrow around the studio—out he goes.”
  • “Money—or rather the lack of it to carry out my ideas—may worry me, but it does not excite me.”
  • “My biggest problem? Well, I’d say it’s been my biggest problem all my life. MONEY. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true. From the very start it was a problem.”
  • “You reach a point where you don’t work for money.”
  • “You’ll be a poorer person all your life if you don’t know some of the great stories and great poems.”

Family

  • “A man should never neglect his family for business.”
  • “The important thing is the family. If you can keep the family together — and that’s the backbone of our whole business, catering to families — that’s what we hope to do.”
  • “We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.”

Fun

  • “For every laugh, there should be a tear.”
  • “I have a great love of animals and laughter.”
  • “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”
  • “If I can’t find a theme, I can’t make a film anyone else will feel. I can’t laugh at intellectual humor. I’m just corny enough to like to have a story hit me over the heart…”
  • “In my view, wholesome pleasure, sport, and recreation are as vital to this nation as productive work and should have a large share in the national budget.”
  • “My fun is working on a project and solving the problems.”
  • “The fun is in always building something. After it’s built, you play with it awhile and then you’re through. You see, we never do the same thing twice around here. We’re always opening up new doors.”
  • “We like to have a point of view in our stories, not an obvious moral, but a worthwhile theme. … All we are trying to do is give the public good entertainment. That is all they want.”

Greatness

  • “Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work — then try to trump it.”
  • “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
  • “I believe in being a motivator.”
  • “I don’t believe there’s a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin — how do we start answering this great challenge? Well, we’re convinced we must start answering the public need. And the need is not just for curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a special kind of new community that will always be in a state of becoming. It will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future, where people actually live a life they can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
  • “I just make what I like – warm and human stories, ones about historic characters and events, and about animals. If there is a secret, I guess it’s that I never make the pictures too childish, but always try to get in a little satire of adult foibles.”
  • “I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversify and never miss an angle.”
  • “In most instances, the driving force behind the action is the mood, the personality, the attitude of the character – or all three. Therefore, the mind is the pilot. We think of things before the body does them.”
  • “I’m doing this because I want to do it better.”
  • “It seems to me shallow and arrogant for any man in these times to claim he is completely self-made, that he owes all his success to his own unaided efforts. Many hands and hearts and minds generally contribute to anyone’s notable achievements.”
  • “Part of the Disney success is our ability to create a believable world of dreams that appeals to all age groups. The kind of entertainment we create is meant to appeal to every member of the family.”
  • “People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working.”
  • “The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.”
  • “To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration, we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish.”
  • “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

If you have a favorite Walt Disney quote that I missed, please share it with me so that I can update my collection.

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9 Comments on "Walt Disney Quotes"

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  1. Catherina Chia says:

    Lovely collection. Tks.

    • JD says:

      Disney’s work was truly a labor of love and it shows.

      The wisdom in his words speak volume for his love for life, and the power of passion.

  2. Thank you so much for this tremendous value in your blog post… I love all the quotes, and I still searching for one, in which he says that first they laugh at you/don´t believe you, then they try to tell you what to do… I just scanned through this list, yet I just want to say thank you for posting this awesomeness

    • JD says:

      Thank you.

      I’m not sure how to find that specific quote, but there are a few quotes with similar spirit:

      “First a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim they themselves discovered it.” — William James

      “New ideas pass through three periods: It can’t be done, It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing, and I knew it was a good idea all along.” — Arthur C. Clarke

  3. Charles says:

    Great collection of quotes. I don’t think there was ever a person more driven and passionate in his field than Walt Disney.

  4. Matt says:

    Walt never said “If you can dream it, you can do it,” that quote originated from Tom Fitzgerald, written for the Horizons pavilion at EPCOT Center.

  5. sara cole says:

    Does anybody know what music Walt Disney listened to?

  6. colette r .. pereira says:

    Thanks walt for all the fun times in your park the time i was their w
    eth my dad and mom when iwas 5 years old again thanks, for the
    memeriors from colette r. pereira. thank you for bulding your park.
    well come back as many times as i can go my family loves to go to the
    park and my dauther brooke always has so much fun. wish that i could
    spent the day with you in the park.

  7. Sarai says:

    wow. what a guy:)