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Disney: A Worldwide Icon

There are few names that would be recognized anywhere in the world. Disney is one of these names. Even decades after his death, Walt Disney’s company has an empire that spans the entire world of entertainment. Singers like Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake started with Disney. Disney owns major entertainment powerhouses like Marvel and Star Wars. And of course, there are there original creations that have endured for a long time, like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and their many amazing animated movies based from children’s stories and fairy tales.

The Man Who Started It All

Walt Disney was born on the fifth of December in 1901, in the city of Chicago to Elias and Flora Disney. Aside from him, his family had three other boys and a girl. Though he was born in Chicago, he was raised on a Missouri farm, where he showed an interest in drawing. Even when he was little, he would sell his sketches to neighbors. In high school, he looked for ways to mingle two things he loved – drawing and photography, doing both for his school paper. After school, he would take night classes at the Academy of Fine Arts.

When America entered the First World War, Walt fully intended to enlist, but he was turned down for being too young – only 16 years of age. Instead, he joined the Red Cross to help in any way he could. During the war, he spent a year as an ambulance driver and chauffeur for Red Cross personnel. Where most ambulances had camouflage, Disney’s was covered all over with artwork.

Once the war was over, Walt returned to his work – looking for new ways to combine live action and animation. He created his first animated works in 1920 and began to see ways he could combine it with film. By 1923, he figured he was ready for Hollywood and headed for California with only $40, some art supplies, and a completed film. Fortunately, Walt’s brother Roy was already living there, and was eager and willing to help however he could. Together they began to produce movies out of the back of a real estate office near Roy’s home.

Mickey Mouse first debuted in 1928 in a silent cartoon – right when sound movies were becoming popular. So, Mickey’s real debut in a popular manner was the 1928 short “Steamboat Willie”. Walt was quick to follow technical innovation to enhance his work wherever he could find it. It wasn’t long before he was using Technicolor technology in his pictures. By 1937, he was using the multiplane camera technique.

It was that same year that the first of the Disney princesses came to the silver screen: Snow White, the first feature length animated musical every made. It was cost nearly $1.5 million to make, which was a staggering amount during the Great Depression. Nonetheless, the movie was a hit, and many more were to follow in the decades to come.

The Disney Empire

The work of Walt Disney has become so much more than just movies. Even before he passed on in 1966, he had established the world-famous Disney park, Disneyland and laid the ground work for Disneyworld and Epcot Center. The characters from his movies had books, lunchboxes, and clothing devoted to them. There are even Disney fragrances, made for young people, based off the iconic Disney princesses or other Disney characters.

Mickey Mouse, for instance, is a scent boys could wear. It’s light and refreshing, with bright fruity notes of lemon, lime, and other touches of citrus. Its feminine counterpart, Minnie Mouse, is also fruity, but it has more delicate floral notes interspersed with sweet spices to make it more something a girl would like to wear.

Of course, for the girls, there are also a line of princess fragrances, from Snow White all the way to Tangled’s Rapunzel. Cinderella, based off the classic Disney Princess, is a mix of floral and fruity, sweet and fresh like the character herself. Belle, on the other hand, has more citrus notes among the floral tones, given it a certain tartness, again somewhat like the character in the movie.

No matter what they make, Disney strives to be the best at what they do, from films to fragrances. Continually breaking new ground by acquiring such names as Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, and giving them new life, it seems like there will be even greater things to come from Disney in the future.

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