By Marnina Delahanty
As Disney launches its newest venture, Disney+ online streaming, let’s explore a little-known Disneyland origin financing surprise!
The Life Insurance Lifeline
Did you know we have life insurance to thank for Disneyland? Considering the massive success it is today, with its twelve parks worldwide, it’s hard to believe that in the late 1940’s Walt Disney faced massive opposition within his family, board of directors, and the banking industry, in financing the venture. Rejected by his brother Roy, who then rallied board members to nix Walt’s proposal, Walt made no better headway garnering outside bank support. It wasn’t until he proposed that a bank use his life insurance policy as collateral for a $50,000 loan that the proposal shifted from concept to reality. Pooling these funds with that of the sale of his second home, he would later describe it as reaching “the limit of my personal borrowing ability.”
How’s That Possible?
Without life insurance ingenuity, Disneyland would not exist. This seed money anchored initial startup efforts to the new venture, known as WED Enterprises, for Walt’s initials. The existing Disney Company’s resistance to the venture prompted Walt to run the operation out of a new company. Developing the idea from there, Walt negotiated financing from the newly blossoming television industry, contracting with ABC-Paramount to invest $500,000 in the Disneyland concept in exchange for Disney Studios producing made-for-tv movies. One by one, bankers jumped on board, one of them eventually persuading Roy Disney’s support, which eventually led to the integration of the separate companies. On July 17, 1955 Disneyland officially opened, initiating nothing less than a magical chapter in American pop culture.
Few associate life insurance with business financing, but it’s a legitimate asset which can be leveraged to create profitable outcomes. Life insurance was key to Stanford University, J.C. Penney, McDonald’s, and Pampered Chef. Whether it’s startup loans, or loans against cash value to make payroll during the Great Depression, life insurance performs functions beyond its main purpose of protecting families when a loved one dies.
To secure your family and your business interests, contact Asurea today!