9/13/2013

A trip to Walt's Happy Place: Marceline, Missouri - Part 2

A trip to Marceline, Missouri last fall (September 2012). I originally wrote this trip report and posted it on www.disboards.com, but I thought it would be fun to share it here too. The trip report is broken into 4 parts:

After we finished touring the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, we headed over to Toonfest. It's is an annual event celebrated in Marceline for the last 15 years or so. It's really more like a small town fair than anything, and it didn't appear to bring in a lot of out of towners like us. Which is a shame, because it was actually pretty cool. It's based in E.P. Ripley Park, located in the center of town. They have a parade, all kinds of craft booths, vendors, music, and kid activities. They also have various cartoon exhibits and the Cartoonist Symposiums at the Uptown Theater. Go to http://www.toonfest.net/home.html for more details

We parked the car along the edge of the park, and the kids were immediately drawn to some cow milking contraptions. Luckily, they only squirted out water. It would have been a real mess, otherwise!

They also had tunnels made from hay bales, bouncy gyms, games, a barrel train, pirate ship play area, princess booths, as well as a permanent caboose, locomotive, and playground equipment. Lots of fun stuff for the kids to interact with.

You gotta love a good old school merry go round thingy. (I don't know what they are really called.) It seems like most parks got rid of these contraptions years ago due to safety concerns. Brings back memories from my local playground as a kid (Off topic, but I saw a video on YouTube once where some idiots laid a motorcycle on its side with the rear wheel touching the base of one of these things. They revved up the engine with a volunteer on it, it spun so fast that the dude lost his grip and flew 20 feet like a rag doll. Crazy stupid!!)

The locomotive was restored and rededicated in 1998 in honor of Santa Fe employees who lost their lives on the job.

After letting the kids roam and play for a little while, everyone was starving, so we went over to see what the food options were. I was surprised to see that there was really only one food vendor. If you didn't want to leave the fair to find a restaurant, then this was the only option.

The prices were reasonable and the food was decent, but not outstanding.

I went for the fried pork tenderloin sandwich. It was OK, if not a little bland. Kids went for hamburgers, and they were about what you'd expect. I can't remember what everyone else had, but the moral of the story is don't come to Toonfest if you just want to get some good carnival/fair food. Overall, I was a bit underwhelmed with lunch. They had a few tables that you could sit at on the street, and a music band in the background.

Pickle rode the barrel train while everyone else finished eating and relaxed for a few minutes. It went down Main Street, and around the park. It was really cool and she loved every minute of it!!!

We decided to explore the Toonfest area a while longer before checking out Main Street USA more thoroughly.

I really should have taken more pictures of the park area, as you really need them to get a feel for what the crafts and vendor booths were like. They also had a princess boutique area, where they would "doll up" your little ones for a few bucks, if you wanted. We skipped that option.

My mom and DD couldn't resist picking up a fresh watermelon. The guy at the booth lived in Marceline and grew them in his backyard. It was tasty! We should have just ate a few of these for lunch instead of hitting the food area

At this point we were pretty much finished with Toonfest and wanted to go walk down Main Street. Disneyland's Main Street USA has the reputation of being based off of Marceline's Main Street. It seems like the Disneyland version was only inspired by it, or at least by its nostalgia. Because, it didn't really look too much like the Disneyland version. Regardless, it was fun to look and around and see the places that Walt visited as a kid.

Here's the Uptown Theatre where Walt came back for the Midwest's premier the Great Locomotive Chase in 1956

This sign describes it well

This was also the location for Toonfest panel discussions with various cartoon artists throughout the day.

I guess that's it for this portion. More to come with our stops at Walt Disney Municipal Park, Midget Autopia 2.0, Walt Disney Elementary, the Dreaming Tree, and Walt's Barn.

Part 3 - Visiting Walt Disney Municipal Park and the Midget Autopia 2.0 site

About The Author

Matt Bollinger