The message to Van was clear:
We need you to mold a group of diverse Californians, with no business experience, into producers of the “Disneyland Dream.”1
With these words, Van France, professor emeritus and founder of the University of Disneyland—now called Disney University—was charged with the task of helping Walt Disney create “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
This was in early 1955, and Walt Disney’s dream of creating a world of fantasy—a theme park—where young and old alike could have fun in a family-friendly atmosphere, was finally coming true. The grand opening of Disneyland, scheduled for July 17, 1955, was just months away, and Walt needed Van’s help.
Walt had assembled some of ...