Thursday, May 1, 2014

Where it All Began...

"To tell the truth, more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened to me since or are likely to in the future."
-Walt Disney

If you have spent much time in any of the Disney Parks, you've probably heard about the little town of Marceline, Missouri. This is the boyhood hometown of Walt Disney, and home to the downtown area that was the inspiration for Disney's Main Street U.S.A.
It was on a trip to Missouri this month that I came across Marceline. Realizing I had a little spare time, I decided to take a side trip to check it out and snap a few pictures. Walking down this turn-of-the-century 'Main Street' (which is actually named Kansas Ave), I could definitely see the similarities to Main Street U.S.A. Note that I am using the terms 'inspiration' and 'similarities'. If you are expecting an exact replica, you will be sorely disappointed. 
As I continued to drive around, I discovered that one block to the east of the 'Main Street' area was the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, located in the town's former train station. A suitable choice, given Walt's fondness for trains. Unfortunately, the museum closed at four, so I was unable to go inside.
Continuing on to the north end of town, I came across an unassuming sign along Broadway Street, which informed me that I had reached "Walt's Dreaming Tree and Farm". After a little bit of searching online, I learned that this was Walt's childhood home (and is currently owned by a former Mouseketeer, appropriately enough). Signs leading up to the tree told stories about how Walt and his sister Ruth would spend hours playing under this tree, drawing, and dreaming about their futures. In fact, every time Walt would return to Marceline, he always set aside time to sit underneath the tree and continue to dream. The tree was struck by lightning several years ago, unfortunately, and is dying, so seeds were taken from the original tree and water and soil were brought in from Disney World to plant "Son of Dreaming Tree" next to the original. Very cool. After spending some time checking out both trees, I continued up the path, and came upon the Disney family farm (a replica), where guests are encouraged to stroll around the grounds and enjoy the tranquility or read a little more about the Disney family. You can even go inside the farm and write a message to Walt on the wall. 
All in all, it was a great little side trip and I'm glad I took some time to go check it out. So what are your thoughts? Do you see the resemblance to Main Street U.S.A.?

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