Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom (Amusement Park) on Routes 83 and 38, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. (1975-1984)

Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom & Castle of Toys was a combination toy store and kiddie amusement park in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. It was located at the intersection of Routes 83 and 38 (Roosevelt Road) which is in the suburb of Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
The Dispensa family operated a portable carnival business in the Chicago western suburbs before settling down to open a toy store, "Dispensa's Castle of Toys" in 1967. The kiddie amusement park, "Kiddie Kingdom," followed in 1975 when the Dispensa family opened a small amusement area next to the toy store when they decided to retire from the mobile carnival business.
They set up many of the carnival rides and offered family fun at a low cost. In the beginning, the tickets cost 6-rides for $1.
The Kiddie Kingdom featured scaled-down rides designed for children under 12 years old. "Kiddie Parks" were a new innovation during the baby-boom years of the 1950s and 1960s, and remained popular well into the 1970s. Kiddie Kingdom had, among other rides, an antique German carousel and a miniature train that circled the five-acre grounds.
The park was in operation until 1984 when along with Dispensa's Castle of Toys, they sold the land. There were no family members interested in taking over the businesses and the offer was quite good. At that time, the property was sold and the rides and attractions were auctioned off by Norton Auctioneers of Michigan Inc.
Click the article to read it.
The property was developed by the firm of Miglin-Beitler, and is now the home of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower. The only thing remaining from the Dispensa empire is a street leading to the Oakbrook Terrace Tower, which the developers kindly named "Castle Drive."

ADDITIONAL READING: Complete History of the Dispensa Carnivals, Castle of Toys and Kiddie Kingdom.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Visit our Souvenir Shop.

Dispensa's Castle of Toys TV Commercial circa 1970s
Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom TV Commercial 1981.

Despensa's Kiddie Kingdom Queen.

Souvenir and Snack Shop
Ice Cream Parlor



  1. No comments?!?! I was born in 1973 and this was/is my favorite place in the WORLD!!! God bless the entire bloodline. :) Forever a child of Kiddie Kingdom. Storybook Land will always remain burned into my memory. ;}~

    1. man - I just scrolled all the Pics just to find Storybook land ..You have the same memories I do.

  2. I too was disappointed there are no comments! I Googled Kiddie Kingdom, as I was scanning some old family photos from 1979 - me in pigtails eating cotton candy, merry go rounds, everyone smiling, my parents so young! What nostalgia: I don't recall the experience because I was a toddler, but this article has given brillance to the memories of youth. Thank you.

  3. This place is etched into my memory as is Kiddie Land and at least I got to take my daughter to Kiddie Land before it closed and ironically I moved 2 minutes from where Kiddie land was a year after they closed. As another commenter mentions Storybook land is something I will never forget and the Yacht club where I witnessed a squirrel skiing behind a RC boat. Oh the good old days. Also remember the waterslide directly across 83 which I believe is still there in the hill but has not been in operation since the 80s. If were up to me I would open all these places again.

  4. Several pics of family in this. It was quite a childhood and early adulthood for my brothers and cousins and I, as we were born and grew up in the business. Currently still have on temporary display the largest display ever of memorabilia. Hundreds of our thousands of pieces of items and photos at the Oakbrook Terrace Museum. The fourth stop of our public show over the last 12 years that included oral and media presentations. Our website or www.dispensascastleof has a ton of info about our family business that started in 1919.

    John Dispensa III

    1. Wow - thank you both so much for putting together these websites and all the memories that they contained. I was 10 years old when Kiddie Kingdom closed, and thus had so many fond (but vague) memories of it before seeing these websites. We grew up nearby and went there pretty frequently. But memories fade over time, and these photos just brought them back to life so nostalgically. I never could have imagined 36 years ago when it closed that all those good memories would get resurrected someday and that I'd have the opportunity to "see" them again, so thank you very much. Truly a special place - they just don't make amusement parks like Kiddie Kingdom any more [sniffle].

  5. There is actually a part of the castle still in existence at the site.The basement/loading dock is still there. It was converted over for the current Oakbrook Terrace Tower.

    John Dispensa III, former employee and oldest great grandson and cousin of the two company's founders.

  6. I checked the website and made a comment. I wanted to comment here as well..I will have to check the oakbrook terrace museum and will take a ride to the spot where the basement loading dock still is. I had great memories working at the castle and kiddie kingdom. Jane was a good friend. I worked the shooting gallery, yacht club and speedway. Toy store was the most awesome cause it was at Christmas..I saw one time the upstairs vault where all the big lgb trains and stuff were and saw the basement shop where the the rides were serviced and repainted for the next year. It was an amazing operation. Thanks for having me a part of it all and glad it is saved by your website. Randy Cichon York grad 1982

  7. Storybook Land was a crazy funhouse ride. My parents hated it but I loved it. Was that place built specifically for Kiddie Kingdom or does another version of it exist somewhere else? I would give anything to see pictures or video of the interior.

  8. I used to work for Dispensas travelling carnival!! Helped set up and operate the rides.Pauly used to get mad I would give the pretty ladies extra time on my ride.Remember climbing up in the ferris wheel!! Wow

  9. We used to go here all the time. In fact every year on my Birthday my mother would take myself, my brother and all my friends there as part of the bday celebration!


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