Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom – a Tour That Brings the Magic to Life

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The genius and creativity of Walt Disney, and his positive influence on those who worked for him, are reflected in the planning, design and operation of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The life experiences that spawned the vision for the Magic Kingdom come to life in the tour “Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom. A representative from Travel & Tours Unlimited, Inc. recently experienced this tour.

Much of the inspiration came from the 9 year old Walt Disney peering through a fence at the thousands of lights outlining the perimeters of the buildings of Electric Park in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1900’s.

Theme park guests of Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida marvel at the meticulous landscaping, imaginative attractions and inspirational stories conveyed as they become immersed in both of these parks. They often wonder what inspired these magical theme parks. Much of the inspiration came from the 9 year old Walt Disney peering through a fence at the thousands of lights outlining the perimeters of the buildings of Electric Park in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1900’s.

But the inspiration started even earlier, at the age of 5, in Marceline, Missouri, where Walt Disney lived on a 40 acre farm. More important things happened to Walt there than anywhere to shape his future, including his love of trains. It also was the start of Walt’s growing interest in art – he drew pictures in tar on the side of a barn. In Marceline, he experienced a spirit of community, which was later reflected in some of his films and stories, and saw his first theatrical performance – “Peter Pan”.

Travel & Tours Unlimited, Inc. recently published an overview of the 15 tours available to guests this summer at Walt Disney World, most of which include a behind-the-scenes look at the Disney magic. A representative from the agency actually experienced three of these tours in a recent visit. The aforementioned experiences that molded Walt’s life at an early age come to life in one of these tours entitled “Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom”.

Disney bills this tour as an exploration of “…how events in Walt Disney’s life helped shape Walt Disney World Resort and the attractions within it.” The Magic Kingdom was one of Walt’s final visions and many of the attractions and stories reflected in the Magic Kingdom are inspired by the storyline of Walt’s life.

Theme lands are what differentiated Walt Disney’s parks from other parks of his time.

Walt created WED (stands for Walter Elias Disney) Enterprises to develop these themes and build Disneyland in California, the predecessor to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida. Walt hired animators from his film producing company, whom he called imagineers, as employees of WED to design Disneyland. WED became known as Walt’s “own personal sandbox” due to the creativity exhibited by Walt and his imagineers.

An example of the creativity that was generated by the Disney projects was the planning and design of the Haunted Mansion. One of the interesting dilemmas that imagineers faced with the Haunted Mansion was how to present death in “the happiest place on earth”. It was decided that the Haunted Mansion should be scary to a degree and take on a museum of the weird nature, but also convey humor. These elements are reflected in the significance of details at the entrance of, as well as inside, the Haunted Mansion.

But it is interesting that Walt insisted that the landscaping and exterior of the Haunted Mansion be nice looking and well kept. Walt thought of the Haunted Mansion as a retirement home for ghosts – the outside was well kept in accord with the rest of the park, while the maintenance of the inside was up to the ghosts.

This 2½ to 3 hour walking tour is conducted in various parts of the Magic Kingdom, both “on-stage” and “back-stage”. The tour includes riding a few of the attractions to view examples of the genius and vision of Walt Disney.

Travel & Tours Unlimited, Inc. specializes in all types of cruises, tours and vacation packages. Its goal is to “help their clients’ plan their best week of the year – their vacation!” The agency has been designated as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner by Disney, a gold level Certified Sandals Specialist by Sandals and a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Line International Association. Visit them at http://www.TravelToursUnlimited.com.

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