Happy Birthday to Roy O. Disney!!!

Today, we celebrate the Birthday of one of the most important people in the Walt Disney Corporation’s history, Roy O. Disney.  Roy was the older brother of Walt, born on June 24th 1893. Roy guided the business side of the Disney company leaving his brother, Walt, free to produce and create.

Roy and Mickey

Roy served in the Navy from 1917-1919, he was discharged after suffering a injury. After the Navy Roy became a banker in Los Angeles. Walt would join his older brother in 1923 and move to Hollywood and together they founded the Disney Brothers Studio. In 1925, Roy would marry Edna Francis and they were together until his passing. In 1928, Walt and Roy had their homes built side by side on Lyric Avenue. Roy and Edna would have one child, Roy E. Disney, who was born on January 10, 1930.

Walt was the creative mind between the brothers but Roy was the one that made sure the studio was financially stable. While they had found the studio together Walt would eventually buy out most of Roy’s share but Roy was still the companies first CEO in 1929, although the official title wasn’t given till 1968. Roy also shared the role of Chairman of the Board with Walt beginning in 1945. During the production phases of Snow White, it was Roy that kept going to Bank of America to acquire the funding needed for the film. Roy had tried to talk Walt out of doing the full length cartoon but he believed in his brothers dream as he saw it coming to life. He did whatever was needed to get the film finished. This was the first of so many Disney blockbuster films.

The films were just the start but the greatest accomplishment was yet to come. Walt opened Disneyland and then started his plans for Disney World. Unfortunately Walt passed before the Florida Project was finished. Roy came to visit his brother in the hospital the day before his passing and Walt using the ceiling tiles as a grid explained his whole dream for Florida to Roy. Roy was always so supportive of Walt and his dream. After Walt’s passing his foot was sticking out from under the blanket and the older brother started to rub his brothers foot and said “Well kid, it looks like the end of the road”. Roy insisted on seeing the Florida project finished. He also insisted on naming the project to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother and his legacy. Once the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Roy retired and then passed just 2 months later.

Not to take a thing away from Walt Disney, he was an amazing man no doubt. His mind was like no other ever and we all love the Disney life because of him. Whenever I think of Disney, I always try to remember Roy and what a big part he played in everything.  Never one to be front and center, he worked behind the scenes to do all that had to be done to keep the business going.

In the parks you will see the “Partner’s Statue” which is Walt and Mickey. There is another memorial statue in the Magic Kingdom and outside the Team Disney building at Disney’s corporate headquarters in Burbank, California. The “Sharing the Magic” statue which shows Roy and Minnie Mouse sitting on a bench together. Roy and Minnie were the partners to Walt and Mickey. This is a wonderful tribute to the ones behind the “Partners”. Next time you are at the Magic Kingdom or at the Team Disney building make sure to locate the bench of Roy and Minnie and remember that Roy was a major part of the Magic.

Roy and Minnie


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