Small Missouri Town Influenced Creativity and Disney Legend
Although he lived here just four years, Walt Disney said the happiest memories of his life were of living on the farm near Marceline.
The creator of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and so many more cartoon characters known around the world found the inspiration for those animals from real-life animals on the family farm where he lived in Marceline, Missouri.
Walter Elias Disney was actually born in Chicago, but a tiny town of 2500 residents in north-central Missouri is where Disney first began to sketch his cartoon characters and dream the dreams that eventually created some of the world’s most lovable icons. His family moved to Marceline when he was four years old.
His favorite place to sketch and the dream was under a huge oak tree, barely living still on the family farm after having been damaged in a storm. Seedlings from that tree are for sale through the American Forests Historic Tree Nursery.
Main Street Marceline Inspired Main Street USA
Several buildings along Main Street Marceline have been replicated on Main Street USA in both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. In particular, the Coco-Cola Building, prominent on the fictional Main Streets, is almost an exact replica of the Zuchers Jewelry Store building in Marceline.
Other things to see in Marceline include the Walt Disney Elementary School with murals and playground donated by Disney.
The Marceline Post Office has a large number of authorized Disney items. The hometown museum as well carries souvenirs of Walt Disney’s hometown.
Walt and Roy Disney Return to Marceline
Walt saw his first motion picture in a theatre in Marceline, so when he started making movies himself, he held the Midwest Premiere of “The Great Locomotive Chase” in Marceline in 1956 at the Uptown Theatre. Later, the world premiere of “The Spirit of Mickey” was held here. The old theatre still shows first-run movies today.
Walt and Roy returned to Marceline a half dozen times or so after their careers became so celebrated. They always preferred to travel by train, which is one reason the old Marceline Depot was restored for the Walt Disney Museum.
Walt in particular had a dream to create a living history farm of sorts on the family farm at Marceline and preserve forever his precious childhood memories. The opening of Disney World if Florida consumed much of the brothers’ time and resources and what was known as “the Marceline Project” never came to fruition. Efforts are now underway to continue the Disney dream and build “the Marceline Project.”
Toonfest in Marceline
Each September, the people of Marceline invite the world’s leading cartoonists to Walt Disney’s hometown to offer seminars for up and coming cartoonists in an event called Toonfest There’s a parade, art show, entertainment, and more, all commemorating the legacy of Walt Disney.