Thursday, May 29, 2014

Around the World: Main Street, USA

"Main Street, U.S.A. is America at the turn of the century - the crossroads of an era. The gas lamps and the electric lamps, the horse drawn car and the auto car. Main Street is everyone's home town...the heart line of America." - Walt Disney

The first of the Magic Kingdom's lands is Main Street, USA.  Inspired by Walt's home town, Main Street has introduced the world with its 20th century small town America. It is full of unique shops, horse-drawn transportation, architectural details and the smell of fresh baked cookies. 

"All Aboard" is heard as soon as you enter through the tunnel, under the railroad tracks. Walt was a big fan of the railroad. The Walter E. Disney," "Lilly Belle" (Walt's wife), "Roy O. Disney" (Walt's Brother), Roger E. Broggie (Disney Imagineer) are the names of the steam engines of the Walt Disney World Railroad. The engines were bought in Yucatan and shipped to the Gulf Coast to be renovated. Now each engine pulls passengers  around the Magic Kingdom for a one and a half mile ride with stops in Frontierland and Fantasyland.

As you enter, you will see City Hall and the Fire Station to your left. Have you ever noticed that the Fire Station is No. 71, marking the year that the Magic Kingdom opened? Next to the Fire Station is the Harmony Barber Shop. This is a live working salon where you get everything from pixie dust in your hair to having your "Baby's First Hair Cut." I did this with two of my kids and it's a memory I will always cherish. They supply you with his/her Mickey Ears with " My First Hair Cut" stitched on the back with a certificate. On your right as you enter you have the "Theater." This is the most popular place to meet and greet with Mickey Mouse.

As you walk down Main Street, the second story windows have the names of Disney executives, contributing artists, and family members. These men and women were very important in the development of Walt Disney World. Walt's window is facing the Magic Kingdom because he wanted it to represent him waving as each guest was exiting the park. The architectural details of the buildings uses a technique called forced perspective giving the illusion that the buildings are taller than what they really are and appear further away, drawing you in. (Editors note: Conversely, upon exiting the Magic Kingdom the same technique is used to make the Train Station appear closer when you're tired!) When you first enter the Magic Kingdom, the ground is red to represent the feel of a red carpet. Walt wanted everyone to feel like that were going to a show. The tunnels represented the lobby which consisted of posters displaying the next feature film. The second story windows are the opening credits.

Keep an eye out for Main Street performers that appear throughout the day.  To avoid crowds, it's best to not to visit this area during parades and closing of the rides.

There are no other words to describe this very magical place other than " The Magic Kingdom." It's where yesterday, today, and tomorrow touches the hearts and minds of everyone. I remember walking down Main Street when I was 13 and telling my parents I want to work here some day and 20 years later my dream did come true. Every time since then, when I walk down Main Street I have flashbacks of that day. Dreams really do come true!

OPENING DAY: Disneyland ~ July 17, 1955, Walt Disney World ~ October 1, 1971, Tokyo ~ April 15, 1983, Disneyland Paris ~ April 12, 1992.

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