Thank You, Disney
Please close your eyes and think back to your childhood for a moment.
Remember all the things that made you happy. Many of them relate to Disney, don’t they?
Your favorite cartoons and some of your treasured childhood toys were from Disney.
For a century now, all Americans have shared that commonality. Each of us grew up with Disney stories and characters.
We developed a strong bond with them as kids, and that connection remains in place for many of us as adults.
We are a multi-generational society of Disney kids who have become Disney adults. And today feels like the perfect day to show our gratitude.
Thank you, Disney, for all the joy you’ve brought each of us over the past hundred years.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about a few of the ways Disney has affected our lives.
Our Disney bond starts with the characters, the familiar faces we’ve known all our lives.
When we’re small children, our interactions with the outside world are brief.
We live an insular, heavily protected existence as we grow, learn, and mature.
The way that we expand our horizons often comes from early relationships with Disney characters.
From the beginning, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were there for us, our all-knowing friends whose grand adventures entertained and educated us.
We watched patient Mickey and optimistic Minnie overlook the flaws of temperamental Donald and superficial Daisy.
While the four of them suffered repeated pitfalls, their struggles only bound them to us on a deeper level. We rooted for them.
Along the way, Disney taught us that life comes with challenges that even angelic characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse must face.
Their tribulations showed us never to give up, as a happy ending is always just around the corner, even for the seemingly cursed Donald.
Over time, we’ve met many other forms of Disney characters.
They’re Princesses, Avengers, Jedi, and kind-hearted dogs trapped in the Cone of Shame.
Each of them moves us in their own unique ways, revealing a boundless world that exists beyond what we can see from within the walls of childhood.
Thank you, Disney, for expanding our boundaries and showing us a realm of infinite possibilities.
Our society thrives on stories. Parents, teachers, and mentors pass down the wisdom of our culture through tales as old as time.
Throughout the course of civilization, storytellers like William Shakespeare, Homer, and the Brothers Grimm crafted yarns that made them immortal.
Walt Disney appreciated the significance of the fable and banked his entire career on this sort of universal mythos. That’s why he’s immortal now, too.
You don’t need to have gone to film school or studied the works of Joseph Campbell to appreciate the Disneyfied meaning of the hero’s journey.
Disney stories have engrained themselves in the fabric of modern society.
You’ll find stories of friendship like The Fox and the Hound, Toy Story, and Monsters, Inc.
When you’re in the mood for romance, you can watch Beauty and the Beast, Elemental, or Cinderella.
If you’d like to watch a fairytale come to life, Disney offers Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, and Sleeping Beauty.
Disney stories encapsulate millennia of human relationships in small, easily consumable bites.
With Disney, love comes in all forms, whether it’s the acceptance in Dumbo, the familial ties in Frozen, or the bond between animals and humans in Bolt.
Disney’s tales show us worlds outside our own, like The Lion King, Moana, Mulan, and Encanto.
They reveal differing perspectives about previously established events like Maleficent and Cruella.
Most of all, Disney stories give comfort, making us think about the intricacies of life while still providing a warm hug in the end.
Thank you, Disney, for always telling us stories that stimulate our imagination and move us emotionally.
Sometimes, we all feel a little blue, and even on our best days, we’re always up for a bit more enjoyment.
Disney nurtures our desire for entertainment through its stories and characters as well as experiences.
The first film I ever watched in a theater was a Disney one, an obscure but upbeat Don Knotts/Tim Conway comedy, The Apple Dumpling Gang.
The movie that I watched the most as a child, the one that remains my favorite Disney animated title, is The Sword in the Stone.
I’m sure that you vividly recall the first Disney film you saw on the big screen, and I’m guessing you’ve watched your favorite animated story countless times.
What’s remarkable about Disney is how well it maintains novelty and freshness.
We aren’t simply re-living the past with our fandom. Instead, Disney creates new memories for every era.
As an example, listen to this crowd reaction to one of the climactic moments from Avengers: Endgame:
You vividly recall moments like that from Disney films, don’t you?
The remarkable part is that Disney somehow creates them every year and for every generation.
Thank you, Disney, for bringing such joy into our lives.
As of 2021, less than 90,000 people on this planet were at least 100 years old. It’s the rarest feat of our existence.
Disney has now joined this list, and I cannot help but admire what that statement embodies.
How many hopelessly stubborn people do you know?
At some point in their lives, they simply decided how the world should work and stopped listening to any arguments to the contrary.
Sadly, they stopped growing, learning, and maturing. It’s something that happens as we grow older and more set in our ways.
Contrast that to Disney’s philosophy. The company leads by example in showing children the world in which we live and how to make it even better.
Disney stories demonstrate acceptance, wisdom, trust, and tolerance. They show people from all walks of life doing their best to improve themselves.
Disney has indicated that it will always evolve and strive to modernize and enhance its stories, even beloved classics.
The company has added a new Key, a core philosophy, for its employees. Disney has taken an oath in writing that it cares about Inclusion.
Thank you, Disney, for your leadership in showing us all the path to a better tomorrow.
Disney adults have become quite the curiosity in society.
Some of us favor realism and lose our childhood senses of whimsy and imagination as we grow older.
Others are lucky enough to maintain that childish exuberance throughout their lives, especially when it comes to Disney.
When we interact with Disney content, we fully believe that Wishes can come true. It’s why this show will always hold a place in my heart:
Disney is leaning into this behavior with its new movie, Wish. It plays into one of Disney’s most famous concepts, wishing on stars.
But when I laud Disney for its wishes, that’s not what I mean.
Instead, I’m grateful to the company for what it has achieved in brightening the lives of sick children over the years.
Disney turned that dream into a reality and has since fulfilled more children’s wishes than anyone else. We’re talking about more than 150,000 wishes fulfilled!!!
I’d warmly encourage you to take a few minutes of your day to read how much Disney has done in association with Make-A-Wish.
Even now, Disney is using its centennial celebration to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Thank you, Disney, for literally making wishes come true.
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