NOTE: This was originally posted on October 2, 2009. However, my good friend and Disney Pal (and Disney Historian Supreme) Jim Korkis, made a convincing argument for me to change the name of the site. I had originally gone with “Disney Legacy Institute”, which did launch on October 1st. I had also talked about “Disney History Institute”, but I thought that might be a bit “stuffy”. Jim brought me around. SO, welcome to the Disney History Institute. And thank you Jim!
I would like to welcome you to the Disney History Institute–where all of your Disney History Dreams Come True! The “official” launch was yesterday, (October 1, 2009), which was basically accomplished by putting the site online and just a smattering of initial information. Seems as if October 1st is a rather distinguished day in Disney history, especially now with the Walt Disney Family Foundation Museum opening yesterday. Many will recall another celebration on October 1st, back in 1971, when the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World opened. Thus, I think the Disney Legacy Institute is in good company.
What you will find here at the Institute is a wide range of historical writing and images on Walt Disney’s creative legacy. The primary focus will be Walt himself, as well as those creative individuals that worked with him–so yes, mostly you are going to be experiencing a lot of pre-1967 material here. However, I would be the first to admit that Walt’s legacy goes well beyond the boundaries of his passing in 1966. As such, you will also see an occasional excursion into the 1970s, 1980s, and perhaps even 1990s. Each trip, will however, relate somehow to Walt Disney and how his legacy is being carried on–and maybe carried on in a way Walt never imagined. After all, we all know that Epcot Center was not Walt’s idea for his EPCOT. Yet, I have made the case before that I believe had Walt lived long enough, he would have done something like Epcot Center on the WDW property–a sort of permanent World’s Fair. Other jaunts into later years will also be about the Disney “old timers”–the people that worked with Walt and what they did “after Walt”. I would also like to take note of the work of those that perhaps never actually worked for Walt, but are carrying on his dream nonetheless (and there are legions!).
What you will not see here, is all the latest news (or any news) from the Company (theme parks, animation, or otherwise). No articles on Hannah Montana, Marvel Comics, or any other far-flung operation of Corporate Disney. No reviews of current Disney _______ (fill in the blank), although I reserve the right to offer up an opinion on historically significant topics of the times. My hope would be not to offer a simple review, which is really available everywhere on the blogosphere, but rather to present something more in depth (say an interview with the author of a book), or perhaps the historical back story to a current Disney animated film.
While I will be the first to admit that the Disney Company is carrying on the dream in many ways, what exists now in The Walt Disney Company is vastly different than what Walt created. In many ways, Walt was a force of nature. I don’t think we will ever see the likes of his accomplishments again…ever! Furthermore, I don’t think we will ever see an individual as influential on American popular culture as Walt has been. Because of these beliefs, I have devoted over half of my life to writing, researching, and delving into the fascinating history of Walter Elias Disney. During that journey I amassed a historical archives on Walt, that many say is second only to the one on the Burbank Studio lot. And now, I have a way to share it like never before–with the tools that go far beyond my wildest dreams. So sit back, and enjoy yourself here at the Institute.