Are You A Walt Or A Roy?
Are you the dreamer or the doer?
Sometimes people can be both, but if you ask them — they’ll have a preferred role.
In the case of those Disney boys, Walt and Roy (you may have heard of them), Walt was the guy with the imagination and vision and Roy was the guy with the tenacity and drive to bring those projects to life.
Walt Disney had the dream to make the first feature-length animated motion picture, but it was Roy Disney who found ways to get the money required to turn Walt’s wish into reality.
It was Roy who helped assemble a group of companies (including ABC television to help fun Walt’s crazy dream of a destination park where families could go to enjoy themselves in California… Disneyland.
When his baby brother Walt died in December of 1966, Walt Disney World was still a collection of designs and architectural plans (and reportedly, drawings Walt made on the ceiling of his hospital room). Roy postponed his retirement to make sure Walt’s grand final vision was brought to life.
“Walt had this idea [for Walt Disney World]. My job all along was to help Walt do the things he wanted to do. He did the dreaming. I did the building.” ~Roy Disney
Roy convinced Florida’s legislature to create a separate quasi-governmental agency to help guide the 41 square miles of land intended for the Walt Disney World site, and then he secured $00 million dollars in financing for the initial project (one of the largest and priciest construction projects of the time).
Walt’s big brother shepherded the project from start to finish, taking meetings with financiers who wanted to make changes to the project to make it more efficient or economical to build, to which Roy replied “I want to continue with Walt’s plan. So let’s quit wasting time on these meetings” — which echoed the sentiment he gave to the Disney Company team a week after Walt had died:
“We are going to finish this park and we’re going to do it just the way Walt wanted it. Don’t you ever forget it. I want every one of you to do just exactly what you were going to do when Walt was alive.”
Roy even renamed the park from the original Disneyworld (which had been modeled after the original Disneyland park name) to make certain everyone remembered this was Walt’s project… Walt Disney World (and he would absolutely correct anyone who referred to it by any other name).
At a lunch meeting about two months before Walt Disney’s death a group of investors asked Walt point blank what would happen to the Florida project if he got hit by a truck after their meeting. Walt replied…
“Absolutely nothing. My brother Roy runs this company. I just piddle around.”
A person known the world over as a creative legend knew that all the dreams in the world didn’t matter if there wasn’t a doer to help make them a reality.
If you want to read more about the dreamer and doer roles of Walt and Roy, I recommend reading the two articles I used as references for this post: The Forgotten Brother Who Built A Magic Kingdom and Remembering Roy O. Disney.