Walt Disney is one of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time and a pioneer of the American animation industry. He was the founding father of Walt Disney Pictures which is recognized as one of the biggest film studios in Hollywood.

Disney won 22 Oscars and holds the record for receiving the most academy awards and nominations in history. The empire that Disney built continues to deliver happiness to children around the globe even after over 50 years of his passing.

All in all, Disney have produced over 500 films including Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937), Bambi (1942), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), and Frozen (2013).

Below you’ll find 80 Walt Disney quotes that capture the values and principles of the legendary movie maker. If you enjoy this quote article, then please share with other filmmakers. And don’t forget to bookmark the page so you know where to come next time you need inspiration from the masters of cinema.

Walt Disney Quotes on Film

Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.

I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.

I don’t make pictures just to make money. I make money to make more pictures.

We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.

I never called my work an ‘art’. It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment. At first the cartoon medium was just a novelty, but it never really began to hit until we had more than tricks… until we developed personalities. We had to get beyond getting a laugh. They may roll in the aisles, but that doesn’t mean you have a great picture. You have pathos in the thing.

I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with ‘expressing’ myself with obscure creative impressions.

Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.

Walt Disney Quotes

Fantasy and reality often overlap.

Because the eye is the most sensitive and dependable of our sense organs, the motion picture offers the widest, direct avenue to our emotions. Whereas the still picture can suggest only a fragment of fact or fiction, the cartoon-in-motion is without limit in communicating ideas, events, and human relations.

Disney Quotes on Animation

Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.

We have created characters and animated them in the dimension of depth, revealing through them to our perturbed world that the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us.

I take great pride in the artistic development of cartoons. Our characters are made to go through emotions.

In learning the art of storytelling by animation, I have discovered that language has an anatomy.

Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.

Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.

In our animation we must show only the actions and reactions of a character, but we must picture also with the action… the feeling of those characters.

I think a good study of music would be indispensable to the animators – a realization on their part of how primitive music is, how natural it is for people to want to go to music – a study of rhythm, the dance – the various rhythms enter into our lives every day.

I think you have to know these fellows definitely before you can draw them. When you start to caricature a person,you can’t do it without knowing the person. Take Laurel and Hardy for example; everybody can see Laurel doing certain things because they know Laurel.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in Fantasia (1940). © The Walt Disney Company

Walt on His Famous Characters

All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable. I try to build a full personality for each of our cartoon characters – to make them personalities.

Until a character becomes a personality it cannot be believed. Without personality, the character may do funny or interesting things, but unless people are able to identify themselves with the character, its actions will seem unreal. And without personality, a story cannot ring true to the audience.

I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.

When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it’s because he’s so human; and that is the secret of his popularity.

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

Quotes on Laughter and Comedy

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.

The proper comedy for the screen is visual. Films try to get too many laughs out of the dialogue. We use pantomime not wisecracks. Portrayal of human sensations by inanimate objects such as steam shovels and rocking-chairs never fail to provoke laughter. Human distress exemplified by animals is sure-fire. A bird that jumps after swallowing a grasshopper is a natural. Surprise is always provocative.

Laughter is America’s most important export.

There’s nothing funnier than the human animal.

For every laugh, there should be a tear.

Disney Quotes on Teamwork

Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. Usually it implies some risk – especially in new undertakings. Courage to initiate something and to keep it going, pioneering and adventurous spirit to blaze new ways, often, in our land of opportunity.

All you’ve got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you’ll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.

Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.

We allow no geniuses around our Studio.

Whatever we accomplish is due to the combined effort. I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator; I have always had men working for me whose skills were greater than my own. I am an idea man.

walt on film set
Walt Disney on set

Walt on the Film Industry

Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.

I am not influenced by the techniques or fashions of any other motion picture company.

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.

When we consider a project, we really study it—not just the surface idea, but everything about it. And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. And we work hard to do the best possible job.

I have never been interested in personal gain or profit. This business and this studio have been my entire life. I wanted to retain my individuality. I was afraid of being hampered by studio policies. I knew if someone else got control, I would be restrained.

It’s no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment.

Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.

[observation, 1940] ‘Fantasia’ merely makes our other pictures look immature and suggests for the first time what the future of this medium may well turn out to be. What I see way off there is too nebulous to describe. But it looks big and glittering. That’s what I like about this business, the certainty that there is something bigger and more exciting just around the bend – and the uncertainty of everything else.

I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether he be six or sixty. Call the child innocence.

We don’t actually make films for children, but we make films that children can enjoy along with the parents.

You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway. I don’t believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn’t treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.

I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.

Instead of considering TV a rival, when I saw it, I said, “I can use that; I want to be a part of it”. The growth of television as a medium of mass communication among people around the earth cannot be halted, nor much longer delayed.

I don’t like to repeat successes. I like to go on to other things.

Ideas come from curiosity.

Money doesn’t excite me, my ideas excite me.

Disney Motivational Quotes

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing

When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.

Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.

When you go to bat as many times as I do, you’re bound to get a good average.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

To the youngsters of today, I say, “Believe in the future, the world is getting better, there is still plenty of opportunity.” Why, would you believe it, when I was a kid I thought it was already too late for me to make good at anything?

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

Dreams, ideas, and plans not only are an escape, they give me purpose, a reason to hang on.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work – then try to trump it.

I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.

When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artists to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn.

The era we are living in today is a dream coming true.

Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.

… And just like that, after a long wait, a day like any else, I decided to triumph, to look for the opportunities, not to wait. I decided to see every problem as the opportunity to find a solution. I decided to see every desert as the opportunity to find an oasis. I decided to see every night as a mystery to solve. I decided to see every day as a new opportunity to be happy. That day I found that my only enemies were my own weaknesses, That day I lost the fear of losing and I started to fear not winning, I discovered that I was not the best and maybe never have been. I stopped caring about who was the winner and who was the loser. Now I care only about knowing more than yesterday. I learned that the hard thing is to stop climbing to the top, instead of not reaching it. I learned that the best triumph that I can have is to have the right of calling someone ‘my friend’ I discovered that love is more than a feeling of being in love, ‘love is a philosophy of life.’ That day I stopped being a reflection of the few triumphs in my past, and I started to be my own tenuous light of the present; I learned that it does not matter if you are alight… if you are not going to illuminate another’s road. That day I decided to change so many things… That day I learned that dreams only exist to be made to come true. Since that day I don’t sleep to rest… Now, I dream just for dreams.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Walt Disney Quotes
walt disney quotes 1956
Walt Disney in 1956 photographed by Yousuf Karsh © The Karsh Foundation

Walt Disney Wisdom and Life Lessons

The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.

A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.

The more you are in a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.

I always look on the optimistic side of life but I am realistic enough to know the life is a complex matter.

Most of my life I have done what I wanted to do. I have had fun on the job.

The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.

When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.

I believe in being an innovator.

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.

Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy, and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.

First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.

Recommended Walt Disney Books

Disclaimer: Filmmaking Quotes is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. All links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for any purchases you make. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but this commission keeps Filmmaking Quotes running.

The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921–1968, 2016
The Official Walt Disney Quote Book, 2023
The Story of Disney 100 Years of Wonder, 2023

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