Walter Knott Was Discouraged at the Opening of Disneyland

Walt Disney and Walter Knott, founder of Knott’s Berry Farm, were cordial associates. Walt Disney sought Walter Knott’s advice when building Disneyland, because Walter was already operating Knott’s Berry Farm, which at the time consisted of the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, Ghost Town, some shops and a few small attractions.

Walter Knott and his wife Cordelia were invited to the grand opening of Disneyland in 1955. Knott’s Berry Farm is about eight miles from Disneyland. When Walter saw how big Disneyland was, he drove home feeling discouraged when thinking about his own little park. He probably felt that no one would visit Knott’s Berry Farm after they saw how big and extensive¬†Disneyland was.

But when he arrived home, he found his Chicken Dinner Restaurant packed with customers. It turned out that Knott’s Berry Farm actually benefited from it’s proximity to Disneyland, because people would go to have Knott’s famous chicken dinners after spending their day at Disneyland. So sometimes, something that you think is bad may actually turn out to be good.

Even Walt Disney Had Discouraging Moments

Harper Goff, an artist who designed Disneyland’s Main Street, Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise boats, recounted a story when Walt Disney was discouraged during Disneyland’s construction. The construction site was just ‘dirt, drains and ditches’ and Walt said “I have half of the money spent, and I have nothing to show for it”, and Harper Goff saw tears in Walt’s eyes, which struck Harper because Walt was not a fearful person. It’s easy to get discouraged, because no dream is guaranteed to work, but somehow Walt Disney fought the discouraging feelings and made it through to build Disneyland.