Disney will redesign this historic Kansas City theater


It is not likely anyone will have first hand memories of the Willis Wood Theater. Designed by former architect Louis Curtiss of Kansas City and built in 1902, the impressive Beaux Arts Theater burned to the ground in 1917. A hundred years later, as part of a major announcement at Expo D23 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced it will build a replica of the long-distance theater near Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom.

The choice of a theater that no one has seen in a century is not random. Kansas City was Walt Disney's childhood home. Disney moved to Kansas City at the age of nine from Marceline, Missouri. While the small town of Marceline is at the base of the Main Street area in the United States at Magic Kingdom, there are also many references to Kansas City in the American themed amusement park. In particular, the signs of the Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City, the studio in which Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse, can be found everywhere.

The Willis Wood Theater replica will be built right next to the main US street at Magic Kingdom of Disney World (Disney)

While it is unclear whether Disney has attended shows at Willis Wood Theater, historians believe that is likely. We know that the 33rd President Harry S. Truman attended the theater to see Shakespeare's plays played. Built by Colonel Willis Wood, a successful dry goods merchant, the theater hosted live shows until it was turned into a cinema.

Today, the site of the block and a half theater is the seat of the Mark Twain tower, a historic landmark in its own right. Without the chance of the theater being rebuilt in its original location, it would seem that Central Florida will be the ideal place for those looking for Kansas City from the beginning of last century. The real question is whether the interior of the new theater will combine the reds, greens, blues and gold which would have adorned the original, and if the large naked caryatids fill once more the main space of the theater .