Like most dads I was aware that Marceline, Missouri was where Walt spent his formative childhood years and that it was the inspiration for Main Street in Disneyland. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to see, and on a recent business trip to St. Louis, I had the opportunity to make the 3-hour drive to Marceline.
My first stop in Marceline was the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.
I loaded up the large DSLR that I had lugged all the way from Raleigh, only to notice the large “No Photography or Video Sign”. Drat! I paid the small entry fee and started talking with the two women that we’re working there. The first room that you enter contains some of the most interesting objects in the Museum. Objects like Walt’s desk and the Midget Autopia car, among others, illustrate the ongoing connection between Walt and Marceline.
One of the ladies from the Museum gave me a personal tour. In the four downstairs rooms, there are a large number of small Disney artifacts. At the conclusion of the tour the guide let me know that I could take pictures, they changed the rules a while back, but left the “No Photography” signs up. I ran back through the museum taking snapshots of things, so I would have things to share with you all. Most of the museum is filled with small artifacts like the ones in the pictures below.
After my whirlwind second tour through the museum, I spent some time in the gift shop (It’s not Disney without a gift shop). I picked up a couple of pins and a t-shirt and headed back out to Kansas Street (Aka Mainstreet USA). As I got out of my car, the rain that we’d been experiencing that afternoon rapidly switched to snow. The Zarcher’s in the corner of this picture was the inspiration for Coke Corner in Disneyland. There is a well worn “Coke 5 Cents” sign painted on the back side of this building.
The temperature was starting to drop and many of the stores on Main Street seemed to be closed. So I didn’t spend much time there. I wish I had ventured down it farther though, as there is a large Walt Disney park at the other end. I headed back out of town the way I came in. On the way out of town I stopped at the home Walt grew up in.
Just past the Disney house there is a little road. There is a small parking lot and a path that takes you to the Dreaming Tree and Walt’s barn.
The Dreaming tree would be well over 100 years old now, but in the past few years the tree has died leaving only it’s giant trunk. One of the Dreaming tree’s saplings has been planted nearby, and is now growing into a fine young tree. While there is a well groomed path, there is no sign of the spring that ran beside it when was a boy.
The path ends at a replica of Walt’s barn, which is nestled on the shore of a small lake. Even though it’s quite picturesque the neatest part of the barn is inside. All of the walls are covered with signatures and messages from other Disney fans.