Marceline: Where Walt Found the Magic
Marceline is the hometown of Walt Disney, where he spent a great deal of his childhood years.
Main Street USA at the Disney theme parks are inspired by downtown Marceline. A walk down this original Main Street USA gives visitors the same feeling that Walt experienced as a boy.
The beauty of Marceline is further enhanced by its small town friendly and casual atmosphere. Located in North Central Missouri, we’re 3 miles south of US36 and halfway between St. Joseph and Hannibal.
Marceline was founded in 1888 by the Santa Fe Railway as a division point on its Kansas City-Chicago route. The name, Marceline, came at the request of a director of the new railway whose wife had the Spanish name of “Marcelina.” Marceline’s Santa Fe depot houses the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.
One Hundred Years of History1901
- December 5, 1901 – Walt Disney is born in Chicago.
- “Walt Disney remembered nothing of his early years in Chicago, but the memories of Marceline stayed with him throughout his lifetime.” – Bob Thomas1906
- Walt’s father, Elias Disney, moves his family to a farm in Marceline, Missouri.
- Elias purchases a farm from the estate of Civil War veteran William Crane.
- The Disney’s and their neighbors, the Taylors’, become close friends.
- Walt receives his first payment for a drawing from Doc Sherwood.
- Walt attends a presentation of Peter Pan, reprising the role at his elementary school with Roy manning a block and tackle so Walt could fly.
- Time spent with Uncle Mike Martin, Santa Fe engineer, fuels Walt’s lifelong interest in the railroad.
- Walt experiences the magic of many childhood firsts in Marceline.1920
- Walt makes his first animated film featuring barnyard animals he knew as a boy in Marceline.
- Traveling back and forth from LA to New York on the train Lillian Disney would say, “It got to be embarrassing, when the train would stop in Marceline Walt would go through the cars announcing, ‘That’s my hometown, that’s my hometown’”!1938
- Walt writes to The Marceline News, “To tell the truth, more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since – or are likely to in the future.”1946194819551956
- Walt and Roy Disney return to Marceline to dedicate the Walt Disney Swimming Pool and Park.
- Walt and Roy hold the Midwest premiere of The Great Locomotive Chase at the Uptown Theatre. During remarks Walt tells the children of Marceline, “You are lucky to live in Marceline, my best memories are the years I spent here.”
- Walt conceived the idea of purchasing his boyhood home and farm to develop a rural experience around it.
- RETLAW begins purchasing land for the Marceline Project.1960
- Walt returns to Marceline to dedicate the Walt Disney Elementary School. At the dedication Walt states, “I’m not a funny guy, I’m just a farm boy from Marceline who hides behind a duck and a mouse.”
- Walt donates a flag pole from the Squaw Valley Olympics, and a Disney artist decorates the interior of the school with Disney murals.1966
- Walt and Roy relocate the Midget Autopia Ride from Disneyland to Marceline. The attraction is a one-of-a-kind gift that has never been repeated by the Disney Company.
- The Disney’s are scheduled to dedicate the ride in July. Walt cancels at the last minute for health reasons. He dies 3 months later and the Marceline Project comes to a halt.19681980
- Three Japanese Disney specials are filmed in Marceline.1998
- The Disney Company hosts the premiere of The Spirit of Mickey in Marceline. Mickey, Minnie and all their Disney character friends travel to Marceline for the event, attended by 18,000 excited Disney fans.
- Marceline announces they will honor Walt Disney in 2001 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.
- Walt Disney’s Hometown Toonfest is held for the first time.20002001
- Marceline hosts Walt Disney’s 100th Birthday Party.
- BNSF Railway brings Disney family members, Missouri legislators, the Governor and his family, Mickey, Minnie and the Disneyland ambassador to Marceline on a 1950’s executive train. 13 members of the Disney family attend.
- Walt’s barn is rebuilt on the Disney Farm during a 3 day barn-raising.
- The Walt Disney Hometown Museum is dedicated.2003
- Son of Dreaming Tree sapling is planted on the Disney farm by Brad Lund, one of Walt’s grandsons, and three Walt Disney World Ambassadors with soil from the hub at the Magic Kingdom and water from the Rivers of America.2004
- Marceline’s Post Office building is renamed the Walt Disney US Post Office, the only federal building in the country named after Walt Disney.
- Marceline Heritage Program is presented to cultural representatives from Hong Kong.20052008
- Marceline Heritage Program is included in the Disney Company Leadership Conference.2009
- Marceline Heritage Program is given at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.20102011
- The Walt Disney Hometown Museum and Walt’s Marceline Barn celebrate their 10th anniversary.
- Marceline attends D23! Yippee!2015201720182019
- Return of the Midget Autopia Walking Trail in new EP Ripley Park extension.