In 1966, Walt and Roy Disney did something the company had never done before or since. Attractions were migrating back from the 1964 World’s Fair in New York to Disneyland. it’s a small world needed to move into Fantasyland and unfortunately, the Midget Autopia had to go.
As a way to pay homage to their home town, they donated the Midget Autopia to Marceline, Missouri. Walt and Roy sent Admiral Joe Fowler to oversee the construction of the ride in its new home and it opened on July 4, 1966.
The attraction was in operation for 11 years when the country hit a bit of an economic downturn. Showing its age with higher maintenance and insurance costs, the town of Marceline decided to close the Midget Autopia for good in 1977.
Fast forward to 2001, when Marceline opened the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in the town’s historic Santa Fe Railway Station. The museum features dozens of unique items donated from Walt’s younger sister, Ruth.
Now the Walt Disney Hometown Museum would like to resurrect the Midget Autopia on a piece of land adjacent to the property. They plan to take the original blueprints and recreate the same track layout and bring the cars back to working condition.
There is currently a Kickstarter campaign up and running looking for fans to donate $500,000 to get the attraction up and running again. The funds will be split down the middle; half going to the track and the other getting the cars in working condition. Keep in mind, the Walt Disney Company is not backing this project at all and if this were to happen, it will only be through fans just like you and me.
I recently spoke with Peter Whitehead, the Creative Director of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. “We have a lofty goal set, but if only a small percentage of Walt Disney fans across the globe donated the smallest amount possible to the Kickstarter campaign… we’d be in great shape.”
If you’re interested in resurrecting this part of Disneyland history again, visit www.bringbackautopia.com and make a donation.
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Images Copyright: Walt Disney Hometown Museum