Walt Disney’s Dreams

When you think of great dreamers, we think of people like George Lucas, Elon Musk, or Walt Disney. Anyone who’s seen a Star Wars movie, read about electric cars, or visited Disney World knows that great accomplishments begin with one person’s larger-than-life imagination.

Walt Disney’s dream began with cartoon sketches, two failed companies, and a borrowed book on animation. In time, he brought beloved characters to life, created classic films, and built Disney World, Disneyland, and Epcot. He created “the happiest place on earth” and because known as the man who made dreams come true.

Disney’s public persona was “Uncle Walt,” a smiling man who kindly signed autographs in a tweed jacket while puttering down Main Street in a fringe-topped car driven by Mickey Mouse. But behind the scenes, the real Walt Disney was a demanding, hard-charging man of a million ideas who exasperated family and colleagues. His life was a whirlwind of visionary projects that exhausted his associates and changed our world.

When Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer, he was still planning movies, developing theme parks, and mulling over his newest idea — an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” or EPCOT. As he lay on his deathbed with his brother Roy sitting nearby, Walt looked up at the hospital ceiling tiles, raised his finger, and traced his plans for Epcot by pointing to them. Every fourth tile represented a square mile, he told his brother. Using that mental map, he suggested routes for his envisioned highways and monorails.

Having said al that, I believe Walt Disney’s dreams were too small. Believe it or not, you and I can dream bigger dreams than Disney ever conceived. It’s one thing to invest one’s life in a magic kingdom but quite another to play a part in the Kingdom of God. As followers of Christ, we can cultivate a dream for our lives that outlasts the world, transforms time, changes eternity, and advances His cause and His Kingdom for His glory. 

In fact, that’s the story of the Bible. The Bible is filled with people who saw what life could look like in God’s Kingdom and then moved forward in faith. Abraham dreamed of a great nation when he was yet childless. Moses envisioned a free people when the Israelites were still making bricks without straw. Joshua envisioned an occupied land, Samson, a defeated enemy; David, a temple on a hill. Nehemiah built miles of reconstructed walls in his prayers before a single stone was laid. Daniel glimpsed a future kingdom; Peter, an established church; Paul, a global mission. 

All these stories — the dreams of men and women of God thousands of years ago — still inspire, guide, and affect us more than we know. And they remind us God wants to do the same with you and me. The Lord’s dreams for us are just as real and all we have to do is ask Him to reveal His plan and purpose for our life, grab hold of the dream, and then step out in faith believing.