Main Street U.S.A. was created by Walt Disney as a kind of tribute to his hometown, Marceline, Missouri. Everything Walt Disney did with Disneyland and Walt Disney World was to commemorate small town U.S.A. This simplistic lifestyle and tribute to America is something that has always been very near and dear to Walt’s incredibly patriotic heart. The Walt Disney Railroad along with the turn of the century feel that elates every guest who pass through the gates of the Magic Kingdom is something that is synonymous with Walt Disney World. Walt wanted his guests transformed back in time to the early 1900’s here on Main Street USA and I’d say “Mission Accomplished.” Here are 5 things you won’t want to miss as you walk down Main Street USA!
5. Citizens of Main Street
Performing multiple times a day from morning to mid-afternoon daily, these classic 19th-century citizens interact with guests along Main Street U.S.A. with comical exchanges and sometimes are known to break out in song while mingling. Like a real 19th century town, the Citizen’s of Main Street include the usual suspects like Fire Chief Smoky Miller, Mayor Weaver and more! If your lucky enough to watch the opening ceremony just before they open the gates to the Magic Kingdom, you will most likely see the Fire Chief or Mayor act as the master of ceremonies before guests are allowed to enter the Magic Kingdom right before the rope drop!
4. Main Street Trolley Show
Appearing multiple times between park opening and noon, these are the citizens of Main Street that board the horse-drawn trolley car and then pour out onto the street to welcome you to Magic Kingdom. They sing and dance then re-board the trolley traveling to a different section of Main Street U.S.A. where they continue to elate guests! They travel as far as Cinderella Castle where they perform and turn around to head back down Main Street. The vehicles they travel up and down Main Street in are classic 19th century vehicles including Chief Smokey’s fire truck, the double decker Omnibus, the limousine and for guests who just not that trusting in these modern machines may hitch a ride on the classic horse drawn trolley. Be sure to catch the Main Street Trolley Show for a great photo op in front of Cinderella Castle!
3. Main Street Philharmonic Band
All too often guests will run down Main Street when they enter the Magic Kingdom to hit their favorite attractions without realizing all the great details and entertainment they are missing. One such entertainment offering is the Main Street Philharmonic. The Philharmonic is a 12 piece brass and percussion ensemble that made its debut in 2000 when they replaced the Main Street Marching Band. When they come parading down the street guests are transported back to a time of celebration in a small town such as the fourth of July or Veteran’s Day. They occasionally pop up in other areas of the park, but your best chance of catching them is right on Main Street. They will truly touch your heart as they perform tunes from classic Disney films mixed with their brand of ragtime and swing. They are dressed in classic marching band uniforms and perform a couple of times in the afternoon. If you catch them, be sure to shout out a request and definitely be sure to check your Times Guide to make sure you don’t miss them.
2. The Dapper Dans
The Dapper Dans are one of my all time favorite ensembles to listen to as I stroll down Main Street USA. They are an amazingly talented barbershop quartet that appears several times during the day. Not only do they sing a Capella harmony, but they also tap dance, play Deagan Organ Chimes, and use vaudeville humor to entertain everyone. In addition to their turn of the century musical stylings that include such classics as “Cruella de Vil”, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “Somebody Stole My Gal”, “Mr. Sandman”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Zip –a-Dee Doo Dah”. the Dapper Dans have been known to cover tunes from popular boy bands like One Direction and the Back Street Boys. Kind of a bizarre concept but oddly, when you hear it you’ll find yourself curiously drawn to those classic barbershop quartet harmonies, even if it is the Backstreet Boys. During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party the Dapper Dans get transformed from their colorful pin-striped outfits with straw hats into “The Cadaver Dans” in ghostly makeup performing in Frontierland. Their shows are about 20 minutes long and provide real entertainment when sitting along Main Street waiting for the 3 o’clock Festival of Fantasy parade to come through. Check the times guide to be sure not to miss this amazing performance.
1. Casey’s Corner Ragtime Piano Player
One of my all time favorite things to do when I first enter the Magic Kingdom is head over to Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA, right beside the Crystal Palace restaurant, grab a seat and listen to Jim Omohundro, the official ragtime piano player of the Magic Kingdom. Jim is one of the most talented players I have ever had the pleasure to watch and listen to. He recently celebrated his 30th anniversary as a cast member at Walt Disney World! Sometimes I just sit back and listen to him play for 30 minutes or more. It’s a great way to just relax, put your feet up, have a cold drink and listen to some really great ragtime music. Jim is terrific with the guests, always letting folks interact with him. The real treat is watching him play though. Call out a tune and chances are Jim knows it. If he doesn’t, just hum a few bars and he will pick it right up.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper