Disney Barn and Dreaming Tree

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth, the city of Marceline planned to host a three-day celebration, scheduled for September 21-23, 2001. However, two weeks before the celebration was scheduled to take place, the 9/11 attacks occurred. The event planners strongly considered cancelling the event, but received clear messages from all over the world, “Don’t you let them stop you”. The celebration took place as scheduled and hosted 35,000 guests over the three days.

It was during this three-day celebration that volunteers from all over the United States built this barn. The original barn on this farm was built by neighbors during what is referred to as a ‘barn raising’. This present barn was built in a three-day ‘barn raising’ by our extended ‘Disney Fan’ neighbors. Using blueprints furnished by the Disney family, local carpenter Bob Ewigman, oversaw the construction.

Disney Family Farm | Downtown Marceline Foundation

By his own account, Walt’s happiest childhood memories were of his family’s farm in Marceline. Walt recalled that on one sunny Missouri day, he announced to the neighboring children that the Disney Family Circus would be performed later that day in the Disney Barn. Admission would be 10 cents. His circus animals were dogs, cats and a pig dressed in baby clothes. In hindsight Walt admitted that you can’t train a cat to do much. His audience was unimpressed. Flora, Walt’s Mother, made him return the admission he had charged. Walt recalls learning a valuable lesson, “Give the audience more entertainment value than they expect and they will be happy customers”. That Marceline lesson served him well.

The family barn obviously lingered in Walt’s memory. 40 years later, he would build a workshop on his estate in California that was an exact replica of the Marceline barn. Today that barn has been relocated to Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

The tradition of autographs on the barn interior began in 2001 when the volunteers building the barn left their signatures. Today signatures placed on the interior wood walls and beams of the barn are welcome.

The boundless creativity of young Walt Disney was inspired by tiny field mice and majestic cottonwood trees, his favorite hidden gems from the Disney family farm near Marceline. Whether you choose to bring your notebook, your drawing pencils, or simply your creative spirit, a springtime visit to the Disney farm inspires everyone of every age.