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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Digs Into The Roots Of Walt Disneys Imagination With His Dreaming Tree

Dreaming Tree
ID:
TMS-4892
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
December 8, 2021
Posted:
December 13, 2021
Status:
Current
A new Disneyland landmark inspired by the hometown tree that Walt Disney daydreamed under as a boy will pay tribute to the vivid imagination of the Anaheim theme park’s founder while also serving as a whimsical children’s playground.

The new Dreaming Tree coming to Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland will be inspired by a Cottonwood in Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri.

“It had special meaning for Walt,” wrote Marcy Carriker Smothers, author of the new “Walt’s Disneyland” guide book. “Back when he was a young boy in Marceline, he used to lie under its dappled leaves and dream. He named it the Dreaming Tree, crediting it as the birthplace of his imagination.”

Walt Disney Imagineering will reimagine Mickey’s Toontown with new interactive play areas for young children as part of the launch of the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway dark ride at Disneyland in 2023. Children will be able to climb and play on the sculpted Dreaming Tree roots popping out of an undulating topography of a new grassy play area.

Mickey’s Toontown will close in March 2022 for construction and won’t reopen until sometime in 2023.

The new Toontown tree won’t be the only Dreaming Tree at Disneyland to pay tribute to Walt Disney.

The original Dreaming Tree — a Cottonwood with distinctive heart-shaped leaves — was struck by lightning and destroyed. Three saplings grown from seeds of the original were dubbed the Sons of the Dreaming Tree, according to Carriker Smothers.

One sapling was planted near the original site of the Dreaming Tree on the Disney Family Farm in Marceline. Another sapling was presented by the Walt Disney Hometown Museum to Disneyland as a gift in honor of the park’s 50th anniversary in 2005.

“The third one is a secret in case anything happens to the first two,” Carriker Smothers said during an online video interview. “It’s insurance in case lightning strikes twice because it’s such a precious asset of Marceline.”

Disneyland’s Dreaming Tree offspring was initially planted near the Mark Twain Riverboat dock, but later was moved by the park’s horticulture team to the banks of the Rivers of America, according to Carriker Smothers.

Today, the Son of the Dreaming Tree at Disneyland can be seen in the Lakota Village nestled behind a large teepee and a fire pit while traveling on the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia or Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes.

“It’s beautifully taken care of and preserved,” Carriker Smothers said.

Walt Disney and his sister Ruth studied bugs, birds and nature underneath the original Dreaming Tree in Marceline and often waded into the spring that still runs nearby. Walt called the nature adventures “Belly Botany” and drew upon his childhood memories underneath the tree for early Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons, according to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. On return trips to Marceline, Walt always set aside hours to reflect alone under the Dreaming Tree.

The Dreaming Tree saplings grown in Marceline were planted in soil brought from the Magic Kingdom with water from the Florida theme park’s Rivers of America during a planting ceremony at the Disney Family Farm, according to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.
 
Attractions Referenced

Dreaming Tree

Mark Twain Riverboat

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Sailing Ship Columbia

 
Lands Referenced

Toon Town

 
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