This past Saturday I took a day trip to Marceline, MO … the boyhood hometown of the little known animator Walt Disney. I don’t know .. maybe you’ve heard of him. My initial plans were to go Friday, but my car (aka Ole Bessie Blue) apparently didn’t want to go until Saturday.
Marceline is a small town of around a couple thousand about 2 and 1/2 hours NorthEast of Kansas City. It makes for a great day trip or a stop along your way to Hannibal, MO which is about 1 and 1/2 hours East of Marceline.
Being a long time Disney fan I thoroughly enjoyed it. In 2001, they began the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in the restored 1913 Santa Fe Marceline Depot. It basically shows the history of Walt & the Disney Family and how the town of Marceline inspired him and many Disney films. The day I was there, two lovely ladies who volunteer there gave a great little talking tour and then you got to explore the rest of the museum on your own. They’ve really done a wonderful job of putting the museum together and for 5 bucks … totally worth it!
Just around the corner from the museum is Ripley Park where you can take a gander at a great ole locomotive. And just across from the park is the street that was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A. Grab a bite to eat at Ma Vic’s Corner Cafe, then head on down the street a bit for some yummy homemade ice cream at Sweet Tunes. You can also check out the Uptown Theatre where they premiered The Great Locomotive Chase in 1956. I don’t know if they still play movies there (they weren’t that day) … but it would have been fun to see a movie there as I love those old movie theatres and it would have been a very welcome reprieve from the heat of 102 degrees!
Pretty much everything in Marceline is named after Walt Disney. They’ve got the Walt Disney Post Office, the Walt Disney Elementary, the Walt Disney Municipal Park, and the Walt Disney Community Pool. I think they might be pretty proud of him there.
On your way back out of town, don’t miss The Dreaming Tree and the reproduction of the Disney Family Barn. It’s not marked very well so it’s easy to miss .. heading up MO-5 back to US-36 there’s a big red house on your left just past the Casey’s Convenient Store. Turn onto that street, Broadway, then not too far down on your right is a little gravel parking space and path to The Dreaming Tree and barn. This is where as a young boy Walt would sit and dream and always stop when he came back into town. Be sure to bring a marker to leave your thanks inside the barn … it’s encouraged!
Below are a few photos I took with my iPod Touch and Instagram which I just started trying out … I know, I’m a couple years behind the times. (You can use your left & right arrow keys to traverse through the photos)
This was a fun trip! I’m looking forward to the day the hard-working folks at Thank You Walt Disney are able to finish restoring the old Laugh-O-Gram Studios in Kansas City!