December 11, 2014
Walt Disney's Burial
By Justin Smith
December is both a happy and sad month for the
Disney family. While Walt was born in this month, December 5th of
1901 to be exact, he also died less than two weeks after his 65th
birthday. His brother Roy, who co-founded the company with Walt and
came out of retirement after Walt's death to oversee the company all
the way until the opening of Walt Disney World, also died in
December. Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt, and son of Roy, who
went on to reinvigorate the company his family founded, also died in
Dec. back in 2009. Even Walt's wife died in December of 1997. It's
heartbreaking that anyone has to die so close to the holiday season,
the one-time of the year where everyone sort of mutually agrees to
put their conflicts and differences aside and celebrate life. The
fact the Disney family has had to suffer multiple deaths this time
of year is just tragic and ironically cruel on the universe's part.
After all, what other family has contributed more to bringing joy
and happiness worldwide through-out an entire year, usually reserved
to one month for most others, than the Disney family?
With that in mind, I thought that it would be nice
to take a moment to pay respect to the man who has contributed more
to the world of art than any individual since Leonardo Da Vinci, and
whose accomplishments have meant more to me and my life than those
of any other individual I can think of.
Chances are you have probably heard about the
urban-myth that Walt Disney is cryogenically frozen and buried
underneath Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland. That is in fact a
myth, one that was spread by animator Ward Kimball (who had a
reputation of being practical jokester). In actuality the opposite
is true: Walt was actually cremated. His ashes were interred at
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
Being that Glendale is a city that's practically
right next to Hollywood, you'll find that a lot of celebrities are
buried here. Everyone from Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart to
Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor have a spot at this memorial.
After a bit of driving and a bit of search, I finally found Walt
Disney's plaque, which also lists his wife Lillian, his daughter
Sharon, and Sharon's husband, Robert B. Brown.
It's a nice quiet corner within the cemetery. It's
quite modest compared to a giant statue you'd find of George
Washington (what his connection to CA is I'm not sure), but there's
quite a bit of open space surrounding the plaque for their admirers
to really take a moment absorb and reflect, which is quite fitting
for a family of such stature.
But the most interesting thing about this modest
little memorial is the statue. What is the statue of you ask? That
blue statue is none other than that of Hans Christen Anderson's The
As everyone knows, the company Walt founded would go
on to adapt that story for their 1989 animated classic The Little
Mermaid, which became the most successful full-length animated film
from Disney since The Jungle Book: the last animated Disney film
that was personally overseen by Walt Disney.
I really can't think of a better symbolization of
Walt Disney's legacy. It shows you how a person can still be very
much alive to the point of influencing and inspiring others, even