Walt Disney is an iconic name to the United States but what many forget is that his roots are actually from Missouri, not Florida. In fact, it is commonly believe that the idea behind Mickey Mouse was developed while he had a studio in Kansas City and was attending the Kansas City Art Institute.
While the details are not really clear on why the family came to Kansas City, but it was here that he developed a passionate for drawing and the developing cartoon industry. He would deliver papers to fund his passion and attend school at KCAI on Saturdays. It is logical to believe that he learn most of the fundamentals he had from those classes.
He left the city for Chicago and then Europe but he ended up back in Missouri by late 1919 when he started working for a new studio in town. The following year, he started (and failed) his first business. It was a disaster but he went to work for a film company as a result. After that, he end up starting a second studio in Kansas City known as Laugh-O-Gram. It did a little better but it ended going under as well.
Largely, this is the story of the Missouri days: starting a studio and it failed.
Life was hard in Kansas City for Walt Disney
While trying to build the studio up, he was living on the second floor of a building just outside of downtown that had no power, heat, or even water. He would even have to walk over to the busy Kansas City Union Station to get a bath.
Most of his time was spend working or networking with other that could help him build his career. He did end up meeting quite a few people who would become key contacts later for the Walt Disney Company.