The Partners Statue on Main Street seems to impart the idea of Walt Disney that’s been built up in my head, that he was a perpetual optimist. No matter what I read or see or hear of the man, there he is, believing for a better world and reaching for progress. He wasn’t perfect. As his daughter, Diane, so eloquently said, “what made him human is what makes you human.” Even so, sometimes it’s hard to comprehend being the same species as someone like Walt Disney.
I recently came across an article titled Disneyland is Good For You that features a great deal of insight from Disney Legend, John Hench. In the article, Hench blows minds every few lines or so with casual brilliance, talking about how much thought goes into an experience like Disneyland to make it what it is. A bit that really stuck out to me, though, was when John wondered if people would really appreciate perfect details like real leather straps on a stagecoach. According to Hench, Walt’s response was, “If they don’t appreciate it, if you do something and people don’t respond to it, it’s because you are a poor communicator. But if you really reach them and touch them, they will respond…because people are okay.
People are okay.
I don’t know that you’d find those words coming from my lips without qualification of some type or another. Maybe “some people are okay” or “people are okay sometimes“. But to leave it at “people are okay”??? Uh uh. Have you seen what’s going on in Ukraine? Don’t even get me started about Twitter. Walt must’ve known something I have yet to learn or maybe there was a lesson I’ve had that he chose not to accept. Either way, I think we can all agree that in July of 1955 when he said “To all who come to this happy place, welcome” he really meant it. It’s evident that the sculptor knew it. As much as Walt’s reaching forward he’s also welcoming in every single person who comes to his happy place and assuring them that they’re okay. They might not believe it. But Walt sure did.