Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Walter ‘Walt’ Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Illinois. As a minor, Disney loved to draw and paint and sell his pictures.

In college, Disney took drawing and photography classes and was a cartoonist for the school paper.

Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney, started Walt Disney Productions. Here was introduced a character named Mickey Mouse, a.k.a. ‘the mouse who started it all’. Mickey had starred in a short movie before Walt Disney Productions, but there he was called Steamboat Willie. Disney decided to bring him back under a new title.

Soon, other characters were introduced. Mickey got a wife, Minnie Mouse, and together they got a dog, Pluto. Donald Duck and his girlfriend, Daisy Duck, along with Donald’s triplet nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Goofy came along, a slow, humorous neighbor. And then, of course, Chip and Dale, the lovable twin chipmunks.

Walt Disney’s movie-making career took off. His first color film was ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.

Walt Disney married a woman named Lillian Bounds. He had two daughters, Diane and Sharon. One day, while watching his children play at an amusement park, he was struck by how, while the children were playing, the parents looked so bored and seemed to just want to go home. A spark flitted through his mind. That spark was Disneyland.

A lot of amusement/theme parks, such as Republic of the Children, Children’s Fairyland, and Knott’s Berry Farm, helped shape Disneyland.

Disneyland was finally opened in the peak of summer in 1955.

In 2001, Disneyland became only half of Disneyland Resort. Disney California Adventure joined in September.

Walt Disney died in 1966 of lung cancer, but the characters he created, the movies he produced, and the theme parks he built still live on to enchant audiences of all ages.

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