Main Street USA is the gateway into the mystique and magic of the Magic Kingdom. Various shops line the city streets, bakeries and confectionaries are producing sweet treats by the hundreds, and has thousands of photos taken with the iconic backdrop of Cinderella Castle on a daily basis. I would classify this as the base line of the ideal “American” town where everyone knows each other, and it is a place of happiness and smiles 24/7. Main Street USA is the perfect interlude for park guests who are about to embark on a journey through the many lands of the Magic Kingdom. As with any Disney attraction, there is more than meets the eye with plenty of hidden gems to experience along the way.
10) A tribute to the Disney family is located on the windows of Main Street USA. Walt’s dedication is on the Walt Disney Train Station windows. His brother, Roy Disney, gets a nod from the Imagineers above the Uptown Jewelers. And finally, Elias Disney received a tribute above the china shop on a small passage way off of Main Street USA.
9) Walt was always big on believing in your dreams and making them become a reality. You will notice in the soundtracks of many Disney films, dreams are the main focal point. At 5:00 PM every day, Tinker Bell comes and sprinkles pixie dust over the children along Main Street USA and reminds them to follow their dreams.
8) Your senses aren’t playing tricks on you as you pass by the bakeries and candy shops along Main Street USA. The scent of freshly baked cookies isn’t just coming from the bakery. Imagineers figured out how to pump a potpourri of chocolate chip cookies into the air which put an all-out assault on your sense of smell.
7) Everyone remembers the iconic spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp right? An ode to the sometimes forgotten Disney classic is another hidden gem on Main Street USA. Outside of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, you will notice two sets of paw prints within a heart. Those paw prints belong to our two furry friends Lady and the Tramp.
6) Imagineers pulled another rabbit out of their hat and decided to play tricks with our senses again. Main Street USA was built with the idea of forced perspective. This gives the guests the idea that these buildings are a lot bigger than they really are. If you go up close and really look at the size of these buildings, ESPECIALLY from the first floor up, you’ll see the detail and innovation that went into this.
5) Disney has always been good at hiding things right before our very eyes. Would you believe me if I told you there were TWO parking lots right outside of Main Street USA? These are for cast members, performers, and other essential Disney employees. You won’t find it on any map. But then again, why would you?
4) Disney isn’t one of the most lucrative businesses in the world for nothing. As you walk down Main Street USA on your way into the park, you will notice most of the food shops are on the right hand side. The left hand side is filled with memorabilia and souvenir shops to check out as you leave the park. They figure guests want to fuel up on food before they start their day and grab a keepsake to remember their day that was filled with magic and excitement.
3) While walking down Main Street USA, bang a quick right on the first side street you see. There is a store that advertises music and singing lessons. If you listen close enough, you can actually hear someone practicing and tap dancing as well. This would be something to try early in the day or late at night when the park is empty, as it needs to be fairly quiet.
2) Main Street USA is illuminated by street lamps from beginning to end. As you walk the street, notice how the lamps change from gas powered lamps to electric powered ones as you get closer to Cinderella Castle. This was done to show the progress of electricity and power. If there is one thing Walt Disney was an advocate of, it is progress. Heck, he named an attraction about it with the Carousel of Progress.
1) Does it feel like the walk exiting Main Street USA is easier than the walk in? If you said yes, you are correct. When constructing Main Street USA, Imagineers made the initial walk a bit uphill while entering the park. This brings us back to the forced perspective notion we spoke about earlier. The Imagineers figured it would make the long walk back to the monorail a bit easier on guests when exiting the park.
Main Street USA may not have all the glitz and glam as the thrill ride attractions many guests come to experience at Walt Disney World. However, it contains the very foundation in which those attractions were designed and developed by the Imagineers. Walt Disney had a vision of Main Street USA, which is said to resemble his hometown in Missouri. Sadly, he wasn’t able to see the results of that vision due to his untimely death. Imagineers and Disney have done him proud by pushing the envelope and innovating along the way. Next time you visit Main Street USA, take a look around and really appreciate what is in front of you or better yet, what is not in front of you as well.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper