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Friday, December 18, 2009

Rest in Peace, Roy E. Disney

For those of us that grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, we got to see Disney at its finest. We were treated to movies like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. After a break from animation greats like Sleeping Beauty and the poorly-received but later loved Alice in Wonderland, many years passed before Disney had another animated hit on their hands. The studio struggled economically and creatively on and off after Walt Disney died, and there were many dark days in Disney history, but many credit one man for saving the Disney name…Roy E. Disney.

Roy was the only son of Roy O. Disney and the nephew of Walt Disney. Walt often brought Roy into the Disney studios as a child to see if the animated clips they were working on would please their target audience: children. Walt would ask Roy if the clips were funny or entertaining. He would also tell him stories as a child every night, which Roy sometimes said were better than the animated movie versions Walt would come out with later on (it’s rumored he said Pinocchio was too watered down.) As an adult Roy began to work in the company of his father and uncle, becoming a major part of the financial aspects of the company, but his heart was always in the creative aspects of Disney, much like his uncle Walt.

When the business side of Disney began to overpower the creative side and money became the primary object over entertainment and the quality of the Disney theme parks, Roy’s shy side disappeared and he took the reins to make sure the Disney execs that were ruining the company were fired. This included getting rid of Ron Miller and bringing in Michael Eisner, and then firing Michael Eisner later on. But despite these hard decisions, Roy made them and is credited for saving the Disney animated world. We’re sure the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland will be honoring Roy in their own way. Mr. Disney passed away on December 16, 2009 after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 79 years old. It is truly a sad week for Disney fans around the world and sends our condolences to the Disney family. Roy will be missed.
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