Have you ever wondered what the net worth of Walt Disney is? Well, as the creator of the Disney universe, he definitely has quite the tale. What many don’t know is that Walt Disney struggled immensely before becoming one of the most influential people in history. In this post, we show you how this entrepreneurial hero overcame massive set back and how Walt Disney amassed a net worth of one billion dollars.
Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 4, he and his family moved to Missouri where he spent most of his growing. Disney grew an interest in the arts at a very early age. Outside of working for his father’s newspaper company, Disney spent several hours drawing before and after school. His love really grew strong for art when he was hired to paint the horse of his neighborhood doctor. Slowly, but surely, Disney began to make a name for himself.
At the age of 18, Disney finally landed his first job as a commercial illustrator. While it seemed like everything was going to plan, World War 1 put a brief halt on Disney’s plans as he desired to assist his country. He never let his love for art die, however, regardless of his temporary occupations. For instance, when he served for the Red Cross, he continued to make illustrations for the local military newspaper.
Walt Disney’s Career
Soon after returning home, Disney decided it was time for him to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of larger artistic opportunities. There, he continued to study animation. Outside of this, Disney simultaneously took on several comic and illustrative gigs for different comic companies. In 1923, Disney took his talents to Hollywood. Here, he made his first big break in selling his first cartoon, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Alongside his brother, Walt Disney began his own cartoon studio. They were soon contracted by popular New York film distributor, Charles Mintz. Here, Mintz and Disney battled with conflicting interests and ideas. Mintz loved Alice in Wonderland, but Disney insisted on pursuing new ideas. After several hard years, Mintz parted ways with Disney in 1928. In their breakup, Mintz legally seized half of Disney’s studio and copyrights. In an attempt to recreate one of his lost famous characters, came the birth of Mickey Mouse. With more than half of his staff out of the picture and on the brink of bankruptcy, it was time for Disney to climb back up to the top.
Walt Disney Builds an Empire
Steamboat Willie was Disney’s first release after parting ways with Mintz at the close of 1928. Disney achieved massive commercial success following this release with the main character, Mickey Mouse, soon becoming a worldwide name. This helped catapult Walt Disney’s name in the entertainment industry. As Disney once said, “It all started with a mouse.”
Following the creation of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney dominated the next few decades with several new blockbuster characters in shorts, and later feature films. Disney truly revolutionized the industry with his release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. At the time, nobody believed this storyline on paper would work on the scale of his past projects. On top of this, Disney and his animation team were experimenting with many new animation techniques they had invented. The worldwide success following what was originally an experimental concept exemplified how insanely talented Disney really was.
The Birth of Disneyland
Walt Disney scaled the Disney universe as vast as he could. With the introduction of successful iconic characters year after year, Disney soon had the financial means to take its vision to the next level. He believed audiences wanted to interact with his work in a much more personal way than simply watching a film. In 1950, Walt Disney set his eyes on opening the world’s very first animation-based amusement park in Anaheim, California. Disney hired a team of “Imagineers” to design a creative wonderland welcome to kids and adults alike. A true “heaven on earth,” if you will.
His eventual partnership with ABC studios at the time was beneficial for both parties as he drove viewer counts higher, while the studio assisted him in funding his park. After several years of development, Disneyland finally opened its doors to the public on Sunday, July 17, 1955. An astonishing 200,000 visitors showed up on the first day! This number quickly scaled to 3 million by the end of the same year, playing a huge role in growing Walt Disney’s net worth.
Walt Disney Net Worth 2021
As of 2021, Walt Disney would have had a net worth of 1 billion dollars adjusted for inflation. This is primarily made up of his ownership stake in Walt Disney Productions and all Disneyland-related operations. It is worth noting that while Walt Disney created a very large net worth for himself, he always stayed true to his conservationist ideals and was an environmental philanthropist.
- Pursue what you love: From a young age, Disney never stopped pursuing his love for art. This led him to open up avenues of opportunity that might not have been accessible otherwise. If we can figure out what it is that we love, we can then spend more time developing and nurturing our skills in that area. When we do the things that we love, the work is effortless so it really is a win-win situation.
- Use struggle as motivation: At a time where Disney lost half of his empire and most of his artistic creations, he had to channel this struggle as motivation to continue. What’s more, the birth of Mickey Mouse proceeded this incredibly painful time for Disney. Imagine if Walt Disney had given up here, we would’ve never had Mickey Mouse!
- Never stop growing: Disney understood the importance of scaling and expansion. Even after seeing huge success with Mickey, he never stopped creating and imagining. Many times when we get a taste of success, it makes us comfortable and starts to slow down our growth. This is where we as entrepreneurs have to fixate our minds on the future and how we can grow the brand or empire we want to bring into this world.