As you all know, Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Mo., held a special place in his heart, so much so that it inspired him to create Main Street, U.S.A., among other parts of Disneyland park. Walt even said, “to tell the truth, more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since – or are likely to happen in the future.”
This week, Disneyland Resort cast members had the opportunity to learn about Walt’s experiences in Marceline from Kaye Malins, who met Walt in her hometown as a young girl.
Kaye met Walt and Roy Disney in 1956 when they stayed at her family home in Marceline.
“At eight years old, I was fairly precocious, and the first time I met Walt and Roy Disney and their wives was in my living room,” Kaye shared. “So I walked up to Walt Disney and I said, “What room are you going to sleep in?” and he said, “Well, what room should I sleep in?” and I said, “Well, the pink one!” So my claim to fame was Walt and Lillian Disney stayed in my room.”
When Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress came to Disneyland park from the New York World’s Fair, Walt had arranged for Kaye to have a job on its first crew. Today, Kaye is the director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline and shares her fond memories of Walt with those of us who wish we could have met him.
Stories from Kaye about Walt Disney’s heritage and how the Walt Disney Hometown Museum developed were part of a special presentation for cast members with Peter Whitehead, the creative director of the museum. Housed in the restored Santa Fe Depot in Marceline, where Walt first arrived by train when he was five years old, the Walt Disney Hometown Museum tells the story of Walt’s childhood through exhibits and artifacts, like the classroom desk that he carved his initials into as a schoolboy.
From left to right: Peter Whitehead, Creative Director, Walt Disney Hometown Museum; Becky Cline, Director, Walt Disney Archives; Kaye Malin, Director, Walt Disney Hometown Museum; Michelle Lund, Granddaughter of Walt Disney; and Jessica Bernard, 2015-2016 Disneyland Resort Ambassador.