You’ve probably heard the quote “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This quote is often credited to Walt Disney. Even the Walt Disney Company has associated the quote to the late Walt Disney, but did he actually say these famous words?
No, Walt Disney does not appear to have said “If you can dream it, you can do it,” during his lifetime. Though it sounds like something he would have said, the quote has been credited incorrectly many times over the years.
Late Disney Archivist Dave Smith confirmed that the quote was not said by Walt Disney. In fact, Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald is likely the true originator of the quote in Disney lore. Fitzgerald reportedly wrote the iconic line for EPCOT’s former attraction Horizons that opened in 1983.
D23 covered the topic when remembering Smith:
“He researched and responded to every guest letter or email as soon as he could, and his staff was only honored to help. In the case of his ‘Ask Dave’ questions, Dave’s answers would be compiled and published later (originally in Disney Channel Magazine and eventually into books like Disney Trivia From the Vault and Disney Facts Revealed from Disney Editions). Other puzzling questions included ‘Did Walt Disney actually say, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’?’ (we found no record of Walt saying this).”
The Horizons theme song uses a variation of “if you can dream it, you can do it,” multiple times. You can listen to it below and feel where the inspiration likely originated from.
Unfortunately, the Horizons pavilion was closed to guests in 1999 and demolished. Its legacy lives on with older Disney fans, but has slipped out of the minds of modern guests. Today, Mission: SPACE and the Space 220 restaurant sits on the former site of Horizons.
As time moves on from Horizons, the origin of the “If you can dream it, you can do it,” quote gets more convoluted. Almost every online resource cites Walt Disney with the quote despite evidence pointing to the contrary. Maybe it’s just easier to say “Walt Disney” on decals and stickers rather than “Horizons” or “Fitzgerald.” There’s truly an insane amount of merchandise using the quote.
Walt Disney has numerous positive and uplifting quotes to his name that can be fact checked. Unfortunately, “if you can dream it, you can do it,” does not appear to be one of them.