Walt Disney Elementary School

The Walt Disney Elementary School was constructed in 1959 to 1960 as a replacement for Park School. School opened in this building on August 26, 1960. The official dedication ceremony took place on Sunday, October 16, 1960.

School officials in Marceline had previously asked Walt Disney if he would allow them to use his name for the new school. Walt not only said yes, but also contributed educational materials, artwork, playground equipment, and even a special flagpole to the new school.

Walt Disney commissioned one of his artists, Bob Moore, to design artwork for the school’s entrance, hallway, and gymnasium. The artwork, featuring dozens of Disney characters, is delightful. The characters are rendered in a clean, simple style that reflects the Disney art of the era. Bob Moore later designed the Walt Disney Commemorative U.S. postage stamp as well as the official mascot for the 1984 Olympics. He was named a Disney Legend in 1996.

Walt Disney had been the Chairman of Pageantry for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Olympic Valley, California. At the Olympic site, 30 flagpoles flew the flags of the 30 participating nations. Each flagpole had a plaque signed by Walt Disney. Walt arranged for one of the flagpoles to be moved to the front of the new school after the games. It’s still here today out in front of the school, complete with the original plaque.

The day of the school dedication began with the arrival of Mister and Misses Walt Disney on the Santa Fe Chief early that morning. The Marceline High School band and many Marceline citizens were at the depot to give them a rousing welcome. It was a wonderful day of speeches, bands playing, and over 1,000 people enjoying the festivities. After photos and autographs, the distinguished visitors were taken on a tour of the new school building.

For the dedication ceremony, the Olympic flagpole flew a Mickey Mouse flag. The flag is special because it features Mickey on a dark orange background. The only other location that this flag was allowed to fly was over Walt’s apartment at Disneyland.

The Mickey Mouse flag flew at half-staff under the United States flag when word was received of Walt Disney’s passing on December 16, 1966. The flag is currently on permanent display at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.