MARCELINE, Mo. – You can experience the magic of Disney in the Show-Me-State. Walt Disney is from Marceline, Missouri. It’s northwest of Columbia and a 3-hour drive from St. Louis and about 2 hours from Kansas City.
A drive through downtown Marceline may have you feeling like you are at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World or at Disney Land. That’s because Main Street USA is a replica of the Missouri town. The Mainstee News Advocate reports there is also a small dash of Colorado in Main Street USA.
There is also a Walt Disney Hometown Museum that the paper reports is located in an old Santa Fe Railroad station that Disney visited a lot as a boy because he loved trains.
The museum was established in 2001 to help celebrate the 100th Birthday. The museum has 10,000 square feet of immersive gallery space that is primarily focused on displaying personal artifacts saved by Walt’s sister.
The paper reports there are several plaques marking historical moments and locations around town that Disney frequented as a boy like Walt Disney Elementary School, The Walt Disney Post Office, and the Disney Farm.
There even appears to be mouse ears on some of the streets signs in the area.
The Mainstee News Advocate talked with the director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. The director said Disney returned to Marceline several times after he left, usually flying out of Kansas City and taking the train to his hometown.
The director says it was during these trips homes when Disney put plans in place for an attraction in his hometown. She said it was clear he didn’t just want people flocking to California and Florida.
FOX2 has previously reported that Walt had interest in building a theme park in downtown St. Louis before he built Disney World in Orlando, but after he had already built Disneyland in California.
Plans for the park known as “Riverfront Square” were found about a decade ago showing the five-story indoor theme park designed for the area between where the St. Louis Arch and ‘old’ Busch Stadium were being built. The legend is that August Busch killed the project because Disney refused to serve alcohol at the park. That’s not entirely true. Historians do agree that Busch said he was a fool for not serving alcohol, but Disney had apparently agreed to move forward with limited alcohol options. What really killed the plans were issues over financing.
While there was no Disney theme park in Missouri, Walt did find ways to infuse the Show-Me-State at his other theme parks. The name of Disney’s father, Elias, is plastered on windows on Main Street USA. There are also crates scattered around the parks leading to some rides. And many of those crates have cities from Missouri written on them, like Cape Girardeau.