Today marks a remarkable milestone for all of us who have been enchanted by the magic of Disney. It’s the 100th anniversary of the day Walt and Roy Disney officially started The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio on October 16, 2023.
Now, this company that began with a dream, a mouse, and two extraordinary brothers has become so much more than an animation studio for so many people — myself included. Every time I drive under the Walt Disney World arch, I think, “Look what you started, Walt. Thank you.”
As I’m writing this post, I’m listening to my daughters since “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” from Frozen, and I’m struck by the fact that, although different generations latch onto different Disney properties, the magic never really changes.
For me — a “Disney Renaissance” kid — “Beauty and the Beast” and “A Whole New World” still give me chills, and it’s been incredible to watch my girls fall in love with Belle, Jasmine, and so many other characters from my own childhood.
Over the past century, Disney has undergone a remarkable evolution. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 to this year’s Wish, the studio’s animation legacy is still the foundation of the brand.
When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to be a Disney animator — then I realized I’m better with words than a paintbrush. Speaking of dreams, if Lucasfilm ever needs a new digital content director…
Walt’s imagination was boundless, and extended to theme parks, where he envisioned a place where families could escape together — parents and children alike — into a world of fantasy. I’m fortunate to visit the Parks often. Watching my daughters experience the same magic I did as a child — and still do today, really — is truly one of my favorite parts of parenthood.
One of my core memories as a little girl at Disney World is Chip and Dale each grabbing one of my pigtails and running me through Adventureland near The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
One a recent visit, my oldest daughter created her own core character memory when she turned Buzz Lightyear on “Spanish mode” by pushing his buttons.
It was a full circle moment for me as a mom when I realized she would be telling that story to her own children someday, just like I’ve told her about the world’s most precocious chipmunks. I saw a meme that said, “Some girls are just born with Disney in their veins,” and I can’t deny that’s true for all three of us.
Disney’s influence on culture is immeasurable. It’s not just a company. It’s a global phenomenon. It has touched hearts, ignited imaginations, and brought smiles to faces around the world. Disney is more than movies, theme parks, and cruises— it’s a part of our lives, shaping our memories and dreams.
I sometimes wonder what Walt would think if he could see Disney today. I think the additions of Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm to the company’s portfolio would allow him to dream even bigger, and I often wish he could step into another world at Galaxy’s Edge, even though he never got the opportunity to watch Star Wars.
The company has evolved, but one can’t help but believe that Walt’s innovative spirit would be proud. His legacy is not just in the past; it’s an inspiration for the future. Disney will continue to evolve, create, and enchant new generations.
Today, more than ever, I’m grateful for the dreams of two brothers, for the characters who’ve become our friends, and for every happily ever after in which Disney has played a part. Today, we celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary, a century of magic that has enriched our lives in countless ways. Happy anniversary, Disney, and thank you, Walt.