Walt Disney Has Ties To Washington State That Might Surprise You

Walt Disney's name is legendary in the entertainment business and it all started with a mouse.

Walt Disney
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If It Wasn't For This One Idea, Mickey Mouse Would've Been Changed Forever

You know Mickey Mouse as perhaps the most cartoon character in history that spawned the massive entertainment that is Disney. Walt Disney started from humble beginnings and his greatest creation Mickey Mouse owes some success to Washington State.

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A lot of people know about Walt Disney but his wife Lillian is the reason we've got the Mickey Mouse we know and love and if it wasn't for Lillian, who knows if Walt Disney would've had the great success he had.

Lillian and Walt both have ties to Washington State but maybe not in the way you think.

Lillian Bounds was her maiden name and Lillian was born in Spalding Idaho, a few miles away from Lewiston Idaho, and Clarkston Washington.

Lillian grew up near the Lewis/Clark Valley meaning she's been to Washington State multiple times because only a bridge over the Snake River separates Washington and Idaho boundaries near her birthplace of Spalding Idaho.

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Walt Disney Married His Wife In Lewiston Idaho, Across From Clarkston Washington

Lillian moved to California in her youth and meet Walt Disney when she worked as a secretary at Disney's ink and paint department. They married in 1925 in Lewiston Idaho.

Photos: Carel L. de Vogel (ANEFO) - Cropped from GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL) NL-HaNA 2.24.01.09 0 904-6417 and "Idaho, U.S. Marriage Records," (1863-1969), Ancestry.com
Photos: Carel L. de Vogel (ANEFO) - Cropped from GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL) NL-HaNA 2.24.01.09 0 904-6417 and "Idaho, U.S. Marriage Records," (1863-1969), Ancestry.com
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Lillian Disney wasn't as famous as her husband but she made a contribution that changed Walt Disney's fortune and perhaps was the single reason that Mickey Mouse was such a success.

Without Lillian Disney, Mickey Mouse Wouldn't Be The Mickey You'd Know Today

Here's where Lillian made her biggest contribution to Mickey Mouse and yes, you could call her the mom of Mickey Mouse.

While brainstorming the name for the now-iconic character of the company, Walt Disney wanted to name the endearing mouse "Mortimer." Although this was a popular name, reaching its height of popularity in the early 1900s, Lillian thought it to be too old-fashioned. It's easy to say that this was the right choice, given that "Mickey Mouse" is now one of the most iconic characters in the world. Nonetheless, it's fun to imagine how different Mickey Mouse and his personality, television shows, and merchandise would be today, if not for this small change to his identity.

Lillian never forgot her Idaho and Washington roots as she donated to several causes in her home state.

I grew up in Lewiston and Clarkston and always loved the fact that she owned Retlaw Broadcasting which was Walter spelled backward and she owned the local TV station KLEW for many years.

Walt Disney had a tie to Idaho and Washington thanks to Lillian and without her, Mickey Mouse and the whole Disney kingdom might not be the giant of entertainment as it is today.

You can read more details about Lillian Disney's life through the Idaho Historical Society here.

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