“Walt Disney remembered nothing of his early years in Chicago, but the memories of Marceline stayed with him throughout his lifetime.” – Bob Thomas, Disney Biographer
Most Disney fans know the story of Walt Disney’s connection to Marceline, Missouri. But did you know that Walt intended to build an attraction in his childhood home?
Recently, CNN sent a crew to Marceline to follow Walt’s trail from Missouri to Main Street, USA and back to Marceline.
CNN’s John Bordsen wrote, “Main Street USA was where Disney’s on-grounds apartment was located within Disneyland and where Coke Corner is modeled after Marceline’s Zucher Building and a candy store is called Marceline’s Confectionery. A nametag on a theater mannequin read ‘Tilly, Marceline, Mo.’
“And when the entertainment magnate died at 65 in Los Angeles in December 1966, his final unfinished project was an attraction in Marceline that would recapture and perpetuate his youth there,” he added. “You can learn about the fascinating story of the ‘lost’ Disney park in detail when you travel to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline.”
Those who have traveled to Walt Disney World understand that Mr. Disney had lots of projects that went unfinished. However, unlike “The Florida Project” or “EPCOT,” the Missouri attraction — whose designs were borne out of Walt’s nostalgia for his old hometown — never made it past the drawing board.
“Walt’s nostalgia was tempered by seeing how modern times were changing small-town and rural life,” explained CNN. “He had the idea of creating an attraction honoring that disappearing time.
“It would be, Disney knew, an off-the-beaten-track labor of love. In his rough sketches — on display at the museum — he envisioned a fishing lake, a barn dance attraction and various bucolic draws.
“Unfortunately, Marceline never got the attraction; the project was abandoned during the 1970s. But today’s Walt Disney Hometown Museum does boast a 3,000 piece collection of Disney artifacts.
“The 10,000-square-foot museum, hugging Marceline’s train tracks a block away, is a spruced up two-story with displays about the Disney brood that lived there long ago,” wrote Bordsen. “Exhibits offer homespun insights on the lives of inseparable brothers Walt and Roy. Holdings range from family letters and Elias Disney’s carpentry tools to 1930s Mickey dolls and a car from Autopia, an early ride at Disneyland that Walt donated to Marceline.
“A permanent exhibit on the second floor goes into details of the abortive Marceline Project.”
The full CNN post and the Walt Disney Hometown Museum website provide a treasure trove of information about Walt Disney, his childhood, and how Marceline shaped his life. They’re both worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you won’t soon be in Missouri.