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     The Walt Disney Elementary School in the Lakeside section of Levittown was built to replace the aging two-room Tullytown schoolhouse that had served the community for generations. In the spring of 1954, with the new school in the planning stages, the Tullytown school board asked the students to select the person for whom they would name it. Generally, elementary schools were named after famous American historic figures. But the Tullytown children had someone different in mind. To everyone's surprise, they chose Walt Disney. The bulk of these children's entertainment was provided by Disney. The market was flooded with Disney books, Disney magazines, Disney toys and Disney movie productions.

     Eventually, Mr. Disney was contacted and was pleasantly surprised that a school would bear his name. No other school had ever given him this honor. Not only did he agree to come to the dedication, but he promised to send artists to decorate the school interior. There are over 60 elementary schools in the world named for Walt Disney; our school is the first ever to be named by the children’s choice for Walt Disney.  The physical plant was designed with Disney philosophy and characters in mind.  The school still displays Mr. Disney’s personal contributions to it …various forms of artwork, an acoustically sound theatre, classrooms named for Disney characters (and the appropriate movie cells hung in each room), and a large portrait in the lobby.  The wooden frames of the Disney characters were cut and shipped from the Disney Studios and painted by local artists.

     On Saturday, September 24, 1955, shortly after 3:00 PM, a Pennsylvania Railroad train approached the Levittown/Tullytown station with Walt Disney on board. Many dignitaries greeted him but it was the children who got his attention. They shouted and waved, and clutched at Mr. Disney as he disembarked the train. After a brief tour of Levittown, Mr. Disney arrived at the new school. There he laid the cornerstone, visited each classroom and delighted the students by telling stories and imitating some of his characters. Mr. Disney seemed to enjoy himself as much as the children.

     Almost ten years later the jointure between Tullytown District and the Pennsbury School District took place. In 1969, the "new wing" was dedicated providing twelve new classrooms and allowing for a larger student body. For teachers , students, parents and community members, Walt Disney Elementary School will always hold a special place in our hearts. Walt Disney Elementary School has had many principals occupy its Captain Hook office. The first was John S. Linscott, Jr. followed by Maynard Pennington, George Kobal, Harry Noblitt, Joseph Malloy, Lawrence Callaghan, Edward O'Byrne, Norman Gross, Donna McCormick-Miller (interim), Joanne Smith and Fay Manicke.   Laurie Gafgen is presently the principal of Walt Disney Elementary School, one of the district’s ten elementary schools, with a population of approximately 415 K-5 students and 60 staff.

Securing the Future Together
Walt Disney Elementary School
200 Lakeside Drive North
Levittown, Pennsylvania 19054
Phone: (215) 949-6868

Pennsbury School District 2009

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