Being Disney wasn't always a walk in the park
In the early 1950s a young surgeon was called to a cruise ship’s infirmary to tend to an ill passenger.
When the doctor stepped into the examining room there waiting sat an illustrious businessman complaining of indigestion. Recognizing the world-famous patient the doctor asked, “What on earth put a man like you into such a state?”
Answered the patient, “Doc, that’s easy to answer. Every day I run into one headache after another on my construction project, and to top it off, I’m running up massive debt on it and worry if this venture is ever going to pay off.”
The patient was Walt Disney. He was referring to the construction of Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
The young doctor was Dr. Nicholas DeVito, my dad, substituting as the cruise ship physician for a friend on that voyage.
Dad told us this story only a handful of times during his life.
My takeaways: 1) even Mickey Mouse suffered bad days, and 2) big dreams take big money.
But thanks for dreaming big, Mr. Disney. Needless to say, your legendary brand of magic paid off.
What was also magic on that day is that you had dad there to tend to you with a little antacid and a large dose of encouragement and faith that dreamers with good plans and intentions ultimately succeed.
Dad dispensed that kind of wisdom to me too on a few occasions when I questioned the probability of attaining certain dreams.
Mr. Disney may not have realized how fortunate he was to cross paths with dad that day to get a little of his legendary good medicine.
But I do.