Walter Elias Disney loved children and loved entertainment. He had a happy vision of excited families enjoying positive and interesting stories filled with unforgettable characters. Disney especially enjoyed turning animals into talking creatures that children loved. His favorite invention was, of course, a mouse.
Early in his life, Disney was fascinated by amusement parks and always visited them whenever possible. He made sure to attend every traveling fair and circus that arrived in his area.
But as Disney experienced these festivals of fun, his disappointment grew. Soon he made a list of the negatives associated with the parks and fairs.
- The amusement parks and fairs were often dirty.
- The parks and fairs were characterized by hidden costs that caught families by surprise.
- Many of the games and attractions were rigged to cheat the customers.
- Many of the people working in the parks and fairs had questionable character and were not trustworthy.
- Children were not always safe (which deeply concerned Disney).
One day while Disney was sitting on a bench watching his daughters ride a carousel in a local amusement park, he noticed again the dirty conditions and the disreputable people running the rides and came to a decision. Disney decided to create an amusement park that would eliminate these problems and be a safe and enjoyable experience for families. He decided to invent DISNEYLAND.
His original plan was to build a small attraction at Walt Disney Studios and call it “Mickey Mouse Land”, but soon his vision exploded. He imagined avenues with shops and restaurants. He mentally pictured separate “lands” that would offer appropriate attractions. He envisioned a “jungle land”, a “frontier land”, a “colonial American land” and a “future world land”. He had always been enraptured by the stunningly romantic Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, built by “mad king” Ludwig II in the nineteenth century, so he had his designers draw a plan for a castle based on Ludwig’s monument that would sit in the center of the park.
As Disney’s ideas expanded the budget for the project also expanded. Soon Disney realized that he could not afford to build his wonderful park. Although Disneyland had captured his heart, he made a critical decision. As much as he wanted to build his dream, HE WOULD NOT BORROW MONEY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Because Disney refused the debt that could have destroyed his studio, he retained full ownership of the Disneyland project. The cost would have forced him to accept partnerships with banks and investors that would have pushed him out of leadership and possibly made Disneyland like the other amusement parks Disney hated.
Disney’s discipline and patience were rewarded when ABC television offered Disney a weekly TV show. Disney accepted the offer and used the profits from the program to finance Disneyland. Disney was able to build a park that would be everything he hoped.
Always remember that debt can bring you into bondage. Debt can cost you control of your dreams and your life. Avoid the quick, easy money and instead, find a way to earn the money to fulfill your vision.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”