Walt Disney Biography, Continued
<center></center>A pioneer in the field of television programming, Disney began television production in 1954, and was <img class=”alignright” src=”http://www.justdisney.com/walt_disney/menu_imgs/biography.jpg” alt=”Walt Disney Biography” usemap=”#biographyMap15″ ismap=”ismap” width=”115″ height=”115″ align=”BOTTOM” border=”0″ />among the first to present full-color programming with his <i>Wonderful World of Color</i> in 1961. <i>The Mickey Mouse Club</i> was a popular favorite in the 1950s.
But that was only the beginning. In 1965, Walt Disney turned his attention toward the problem of improving the quality of urban life in America. He personally directed the design of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). It was planned as a living showcase for the creativity of American industry. Disney said this about EPCOT:
<dl><dd><i>I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that is more important to people everywhere than finding the solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin? Well, we’re convinced we must start with 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 community that will become a prototype for the future.
</i></dd></dl>Thus, Disney directed the purchase of 43 square miles of virgin land–twice the size of Manhattan Island–in the center of the state of Florida. Here, he master planned a whole new “Disney world” of entertainment to include a new amusement theme park, motel-hotel resort vacation center, and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. After more than seven years of master planning and preparation, including 52 months of actual construction, the Walt Disney World Resort, including the Magic Kingdom Park, opened to the public as scheduled on October 1, 1971. EPCOT Center opened October 1, 1982, and on May 1, 1989, the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park opened.
A few years prior to his death on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney took a deep interest in the establishment of California Institute of the Arts, a college-level professional school of all the creative and performing arts. CalArts, Walt once said, “It’s the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can help provide a place to develop the talent of the future, I think I will have accomplished something.”
The California Institute of the Arts was founded in 1961 with the combination of two schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute. The campus is located in the city of Valencia, 32 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Walt Disney conceived the new school as a place where all the performing and creative arts would be taught under one roof in a “community of the arts” as a completely new approach to professional arts training.
Walt Disney is a legend; a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideals which his name represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney did more to touch the hearts, minds, and emotions of millions of Americans than any other person in the past century. Through his work he brought joy, happiness, and a universal means of communication to the people of every nation. He brought us closer to the future, while telling us of the past, it is certain, that there will never be such as great a man, as Walt Disney.
Photos on this page © Disney
Written by Brad A.