The magic kingdom

By Dudley Wooten - Contributing columnist



I left my seat briefly after writing that little article about the birds out here. The truth is that I hadn’t seen birds before I wrote that, and when I moved 15 yards, I saw a spot just “busy” with birds. It was the woods edge by the pasture.

I first saw three large brown and white birds moving around in the branches at about five feet high. At first, I thought them to be wood thrush, but as I watched, they were lighter brown, more white and bigger. They were brown thrushes. I thought that was a bit unique.

Then I saw a downy woodpecker fly to a tree near me and start working that tree. About then, two bluebirds came my way. How ironic is that? I was just thinking about them and they show up, this must be a “Zippity-Do-Dah” moment. It’s like “Song of the South” all over again.

What are some of the greater Disney moments to you? When I think of great movies, I would think “Song of the South,” “Bambi,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Dumbo” as the top 5 for me.

To me, visiting Disneyland in the 1960s was big. Then, after I had a little family of my own, visiting Disney World was big. Both Jon and Amy worked at Disney World in Florida as summer help.

Amy worked at EPCOT Center in “The World” as a guide in the American part, where she met her husband Chris, as he worked in the British portion.

Jon was a lifeguard at Typhoon Lagoon one summer, and then the next summer in the “Imagineering” department, the second tour.

Another Disney connection would be Cindy Grimshaw (Amy’s cousin). She worked there and married Guizeppi. He was working in the Italian “World” at EPCOT Center.

When we think of the Magic Kingdom, it’s so huge and international that it’s difficult to think of its humble beginnings.

It’s hard to believe that it all started with a poor Kansas City, Mo., boy with a vision based on rodents. He flirted with bankruptcy and lived on beans before Mickey Mouse cartoons made a hit in the late 1920s.

Then came “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937. That was followed by “Bambi,” “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia” and “Dumbo.”

Disneyland in Anaheim was separated into four parts (Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland). This was built in 1955, and it was a joint venture with ABC-TV. In 1954, the TV show, “Disneyland,” premiered, and it paved the way for the amusement park. TV shows such as “Davey Crockett” and “The Mickey Mouse Club” promoted the upcoming park.

In the mid-1960s, Walt Disney began buying land near Orlando in another name: “Project Future.” After about 200 acres were secured and a decade passed, Disney announced EPCOT and Disney World.

You can consider “Mary Poppins,” “Lion King,” Tokyo Disney or Euro Disney to be some of his greatest feats, but it all started with Oswald, the Magic Rabbit, and then with black and white Steamboat Willie in 1928 and a mouse named Mickey.

There are many traits both known and unknown about this farm boy from Marceline, Mo. He lived there from 1906 to 1911, and then moved to Kansas City. Those close to him believe that Marceline influenced “Main Street” and the wholesome “Americana” theme of both theme parks.

Speaking of the parks and their design, Walt had his hand on all the design, but his pet thing was the trees.

“Uncle Walt” had General Electric, RCA and IBM technology throughout the parks, but when it came to laying out the trees along Main Street, Walt personally handled that detail.

So, here we have one of the greatest animators and cartoonists of all time. He can draw and visualize anything to do with plants, animals or structures, and his first love is trees? In 1932, Walt Disney used Technicolor and symphonies to create “Flowers and Trees,” the first cartoon ever to receive an Oscar. Now that’s pretty special.

Walt’s brother, Roy, was also his business partner. Walt had two daughters. He checked into St. Joseph’s Hospital for surgery to relieve some pain from a previous polo injury, but they found lung cancer. This was in 1966, when Disneyland and EPCOT were on the drawing board. Walt Disney physically left us Dec. 15, 1966, but just think of the memories he left each and every one of us. It’s mind boggling to try to list all the magic in his Magic Kingdom.


By Dudley Wooten

Contributing columnist

Dudley Wooten was the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery.

Dudley Wooten was the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery.