“Oh, I might average once a month. Most of my interest in Disneyland is planning and improving it and I do a great deal of that here at the Studio. So I only go down to check on things, to see what ought to be done for the coming year. It’s pretty hard to get around Disneyland when people are there. I mean, they’re friendly, they’re wonderful and I love to meet them, but I can’t stand still long because I’ll – oh, I don’t mind giving autographs, I think it’s wonderful that they do want your autograph. But when I’m at Disneyland, if I stop to sign one autograph, before I can get that signed, there are some more up there and it accumulates quite a crowd and it always makes it awful hard to get away.
“So when I go through Disneyland, I walk fast, and it isn’t much fun. So I go down when Disneyland is closed with my staff and we go through everything. Or I go down when there is a big crowd, a very big crowd, and I walk very fast and watch every part of it and find out where we need to improve our crowd control conditions to make it easier for people to get around and our shade areas and all the problems that we have in the summer when we have the half million plus people a week.
“So that’s mainly my interest in Disneyland has been building that thing, in keeping it alive and keeping it fresh and keeping it successful by doing these things. So most of my fun comes from that end of it.”
A perfect example of this notion is that of merchandise host Willard Davis, who had the pleasure of helping the boss one day in the mid-1960s. Davis recalled: “Walt walked up to my register one day with a plaque he wished to purchase. When I told him how much it would be, he said, ‘Son, that’s not right.’ I told him that was the price with his discount. ‘Discount?’ he asked. ‘You’re an employee and get a discount,’ I answered. He looked puzzled and then replied, ‘You’re right! I am an employee–a damned expensive one!’”
Walt got the plaque and his discount. A half decade later Institute readers, thanks to oral history, got a look at Walt’s sense of humor.