A Quote Over the Horizon

Without a doubt, Walt Disney was a dreamer.  He once had a dreaming tree that he dreamed under in his childhood home of Marceline, Missouri.  He dreamed of making animated shorts, animated feature-length movies, live-action movies, a theme park and even a city of progress.  Many of Walt’s dreams were realized in his lifetime.  The one dream that did not quite come to fruition during his life was the dream of EPCOT.  One of his last visions of his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was seen on the hospital ceiling shortly before he died.  Being that Walt has always been regarded as one of the great visionaries of our time, it would only make sense that he be attributed to a very famous quote about dreaming.  Maybe you are familiar with the quote “if you can dream it, you can do it.”  The sentiment represented Walt’s essence so well, but did he actually say it?

According to Dave Smith, Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney never said the quote.  In the February 27, 2013 D23 Newsletter, Mr. Smith responded to this fallacy in the column “Ask Dave.”  He said, “If you check in me book, Disney Trivia from the Vault, you can find the true story: ‘Despite its frequent publication, that is not a Walt Disney quote.  We checked with Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald for the definitive answer: ‘I am very familiar with that line because I wrote it! It was written specifically for the Horizons attraction at Epcot and used in numerous ways, from dialogue in the the ride to graphics.  I find it amusing that the Science of Imagineering DVD series attributes it to Walt Disney, but I guess I should be flattered.””

DreamTomFitzgeraldSince discussing the origin of “If you can dream it, you can do it,” it has become apparent that many people over the years have said it.  From a Congressman Carl Graham Fisher (Congressional Record April 5, 1966) to a GE recruiting brochure in the early 1980s, many have touted they said it first.  Let’s be honest.  It is a simple notion.  There is no telling who all has ever said it.  However, the one person who was never documented to have said it was Walt Disney himself.  Ironically, with every additional Twitter post or Hallmark plaque made, the spreading of the Walt-said-it-virus keeps growing stronger.  The people who know that Walt Disney never said it should keep dreaming that the truth will eventually be realized.  If we can dream it, we can set the world straight. 

((Cue the New Horizons Song))

If we can dream it, then we can do it,

yes we can, (yes we can.)

If we can dream it, then we can do it,

yes we can, (yes we can.)


Have you ever looked beyond today, into the future?

Picture you’re in a world, we’ve yet to see.

The wonder of finding new ways,

That lead to the promise of brighter days.


Have you ever dreamed the dreams of the children?

Just imagine the magic, their minds can see. (If we can dream it.)

Horizons, all shining and new. (Shining and new.)

Horizons, where dreams do come true. (They do come true.)


And it will be, a future filled with care.

For you and me, a world we all can share.

For today holds the challenge to make this world a better place to be.

New Horizons, for you and for me.



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