Happy 120th Birthday, Walt Disney

November 23, 2021

On this day, December 5, back in 1901, Walt Disney was born. The creative genius behind Mickey Mouse, Disney World, and a slew of award-winning animated films, Walt Disney was a typical Midwestern boy growing up in the early twentieth century. But he had goals and dreams that would transform entertainment … and the world in general. 

American film producer and animator Walt Disney in 1958. (Photo by Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

As many of these colorized pics show, Walt Disney was an artist first and a business mogul second. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look at the formative years of Walt Disney and how he was able to build an entertainment empire. 

A Typical Childhood

Walt Disney as a baby. (biography.com)

When Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901, his family lived in Chicago, Illinois. Walt’s mother, Flora Call, had once worked as a schoolteacher but was, by this time, raising her five children. Walt was the fourth born child in the Disney family. His father, Elias Disney, found work as a carpenter and building contractor and occasionally worked as a farmer. The family moved a few times in Walt’s childhood, from Chicago to a small town in Missouri to Kansas City then back to Chicago. It was in that small town, Marceline, Missouri, that a young Walt Disney began demonstrating his artistic talent.