Any Disney enthusiast out there will tell you that if you want a great place to visit for some very interesting history on Walt Disney himself, go to Marceline, Missouri. This is where Disney spent a good amount of his life. It is also the place that had a huge impact on him and his endless imagination. Main Street in Marceline was the inspiration for Walt Disney World’s Main Street. Just looking at it, you can really see the similarities.
The Dreaming Tree & Walt’s Barn
Before heading into the main downtown area, one place to definitely stop at is Walt’s Barn and the Dreaming Tree. Although this isn’t the original tree that Walt sat under when he was coming up with his many ideas, it was planted with a branch from the original after it was brought down in a storm. The barn itself is quite a sight to behold. Yes, it’s a barn, plain and simple. But, it’s a great representation of where Walt spent a lot of his childhood. Make sure you take a good sized marker or Sharpie with you so you can sign your name or whatever you’d like in the barn. That is, if you can find an open space. It is quite limited in there from all the signatures. They are everywhere from base to rafters.
Walt Disney Hometown Museum
The Walt Disney Hometown Museum is where you’ll find some awesome historical facts. It is a great walkthrough to learn more about the Disney family. The museum itself has two floors. The main floor has a gift shop, and numerous rooms talking about Disney growing up, how he was raised, everything that happened with his family over the years. It also shows where he got his inspiration for a lot of his ideas. And yes, if you walk around you’ll see quite a few benches that are covered in signatures.
Just like Walt’s Barn, you can also write something on these benches if you didn’t find a space in the barn itself. Be considerate, many many people come through and want to do the same thing that you’re probably looking to do. If you’re traveling with kids, make sure you stop at the front desk/register to pick up a scavenger hunt game for them. They’ll get a nice little prize at the end when they complete it.
The second floor of the museum is just as interesting as the first. It has a recreation of a classroom setting from Walt’s childhood where you can draw on the chalkboard or take small chalkboards to the desks and sit in them. A good majority of this floor is filled with some really cool miniatures. There are theme park ride designs, the train depot at Walt Disney World, and more.
Trains, Trains, and More Trains
Marceline, Missouri is certainly a delight for any Disney fan and for any train fan as well. The railroad that passes through this town sees over 70 trains come through every day. That’s nearly one every 20 minutes! There are train cars and cabooses that you can walk up on that make for some great pictures. Be on the lookout for an underground circular tunnel that provides walking access under the tracks to get to the other side of town. It’s a very unique feature that train fans are sure to love!
There is plenty to do and see here in Marceline, Missouri if you’re wanting to learn more about the Disney family. It is a super nice small town, very peaceful and friendly. If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do in the comments! And don’t forget to check out some more of our day trips!