View Full Version : Article: "What would Walt Disney do?"

06-15-2011, 11:07 AM
I was tickled by this article...


What would Walt Disney do?
Posted: June 14, 2011 - 4:10pm
By Mike Hall

Shawnee County commissioners were faced recently with a situation that frustrated Walt Disney when he was developing the original Disneyland. Disney solved his problem in a much different way than the commissioners.

You may have wondered about that little news item about the county being asked to spend an extra $37,440 for landscaping around the new Shawnee County Health Agency Clinic at 2025 S.E. California.

After all, the county had to make some extremely painful decisions this year to cut some $2 million out of its budget. In such a year, wouldn’t a few handfuls of grass seed get us by until the budget situation improved?

Nope. Rich Davis, facilities director for the county, told commissioners the city’s building code requires the landscaping before the county can move into the building.

In fact, the city’s building code is specific as to what kinds of plantings are required.

So, the commissioners approved the expenditure.

The discussion reminded me of an incident described in a book about Walt Disney’s life. Walt was the creative one — the idea man — and his brother Roy watched the business side. Roy was often challenged with raising money for Walt’s grandiose ideas — the first sound-synchronized animated cartoon, the first color cartoon, the first full-length animated movie, etc.

Needless to say, some bankers were reluctant to finance something as innovative as Walt’s fantastic ideas.

As planning for Disneyland moved forward, the price tag kept going up. Roy kept trying to impose a cap on the cost, but Walt kept going over it. Roy was repeatedly dispatched to New York to find more financing.

Finally, Roy put his foot down. There simply was no more money to be had. Walt was going to have to do what he could with the money Roy had already raised.

The opening day for Disneyland had been publicized. There was no way to delay it. But no money had been provided for landscaping.

Someone on the Disney staff came up with a solution. Little signs were made up imprinted with Latin words. The signs were stuck in the ground in front of weeds, giving the public the impression they were something more special than they really were.

All Disney’s theme parks today are lavishly landscaped, and the company employs thousands of people to maintain the vegetation. The little signs bought Walt the time he needed to bring in the first money for high-quality landscaping.

The book didn’t explain, though, whether Walt ran afoul of any Anaheim, Calif., building code. Maybe the code wasn’t as extensive as Topeka’s present day building code. Or maybe Walt Disney was a more intimidating force than the Shawnee County Commission.

06-15-2011, 12:35 PM
Thanks for posting that. I had never heard the story about the weeds and the little signs in Latin. Too funny...also very clever. :laughing:

OKW Lover
06-15-2011, 12:48 PM
I had heard that story before. I always thought that's why you still see so many little signs by various plants as you walk around the parks.

dizzy dizney71
06-15-2011, 03:25 PM
Gotta love it when people think creatively!