Others May Not Believe in Your Dream

Walt Disney had the idea to build Disneyland, but almost no one believed in it. Walt was in the animation film making business, he had no experience with amusement parks.

Walt asked the opinion of amusement park owners, and they all said Disneyland would fail. They said, “You can’t have just one entrance. Nobody would climb stairs to get to a train station. Building custom rides would be too expensive. You have to have carnival games and barkers. Don’t waste your money on things that don’t generate revenue, like theming”. The amusement park owners recommended that Walt stay with what he knows and not risk getting into the amusement business.

Walt Disney’s wife asked him “Why would you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty!” Walt answered, “That’s the point, mine wouldn’t be.”

Walt tried to convince his friend, Art Linkletter, who was the host of Disneyland’s opening day telecast, to buy up the land surrounding Disneyland, because he believed it would soon increase in value, but Art turned it down, he thought that Walt was crazy. Art later regretted his decision.

Even Roy Disney, Walt’s brother and business partner, thought the park would fail. He called Disneyland another one of Walt’s ‘screwy ideas’, and it was only when Walt threatened to go with another investor that Roy agreed to partially back the project. Walt even had to borrow money against his own life insurance to get more funds for his park. The leases for Disneyland were written only til 1959, Roy didn’t think that it would last longer than four years. (To Roy’s credit, though, after Walt’s death in 1966, Roy was the driving force behind building Walt Disney World.)

The people closest to Walt didn’t believe in his dream, or at the very least had doubts about it. Just think about that, if no one believes in your dream, it’s very hard to keep saying, “I think it will work”.

But Walt believed in it so much that he went ahead anyway. He had a gut feeling that Disneyland would work, even though nothing like it had been done before, and few people thought he could succeed at it. Not every dream will work out, Walt Disney also had some failures, but in order to make your dream work, you have to really believe in it.

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