I stood alone in the tall grass of that Missouri farm, a large pond to my right, a rebuilt barn chock-full of messages and memories to my left. Behind me in the distance was a carefully maintained farm house painted bright red with white trim. As a child, its famous former resident once marveled at how big the front yard was. Nearby, a century-old cottonwood tree shattered by a lightning strike remained, tall, resolute and very much alive despite the random harshness of nature. It takes more than a bolt from the blue to destroy dreams.

This was a special place to be on that hazy Friday afternoon, because here was where it all began. As the story goes, it was this idyllic Midwestern town that, in the early years of the 20th century, inspired a young boy's creativity and sent him down a path to build a pop culture empire. His name would one day be synonymous with family entertainment, magic and mice.

Welcome to Marceline, Walt Disney's boyhood home.