Sharon is a recent college graduate who spends her work week at the lab and her weekends at Disneyland. She didn’t think her favorite place in the world could get any more magical, but that was before Walt Disney himself began spending every Disneyland Sunday with her. Only Sharon can tell that it’s him, and their time together is nothing but wonder, until Walt tells her she has a wish she’s not ready to make. What’s the real reason Walt befriended her?
“Call Me Walt” is my love letter to Disneyland and to the extraordinary man who created it. Part one was published last week. This is the conclusion of the story, published in celebration of this 116th anniversary of Walt’s birth.
Sharon watched Frontierland go by from her seat on the Disneyland Railroad. It was almost time for ice cream, but she was not in the mood for ice cream.
“Are we getting off at the Tomorrowland station?” Walt asked. “Or the next time we get to Main Street? Or shall we begin a third grand circle tour around the magic kingdom?”
The railroad chugged past the waterfalls. The secret entrance to the cave where they stored the floats for Fantasmic! was obvious if you knew where to look. And Sharon knew where to look. But she didn’t look.
When the train resumed after a brief stop at the Tomorrowland station, Walt folded his arms across the lapels of his suit. “If you leave what we do entirely up to me, I’ll tell you right now, we’re going to ride my railroad. A lot.”
“I read about Snow White,” Sharon said.
Walt raised one eyebrow. She speaks, at last.
“The first feature-length animated motion picture in history,” she said.
Walt nodded. His smile carried a wisp of pride. “You have seen it, haven’t you?”
“No one had ever made an animated feature before it,” she said. “What made you want to try?”
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Walt said.
That cracked through Sharon’s malaise enough to make her smile.
“We were doing well with the Silly Symphonies and, of course, with Mickey,” Walt said. “But I knew we could do so much more. Took us a long time to get it right, though. Boy, we broke that story so many times. Went back and forth on what the Evil Queen should be like. And I don’t remember how many sets of seven dwarf names we went through.”
“Did they really call it Disney’s Folly?”