Sunday, September 4, 2011

Attractions - Main Street USA

So, you might be thinking "Main Street USA, an attraction? You don't ride it. You don't stand in line for it. Disney doesn't refer to it in 'ticket terms' like 'E-Ticket Attraction'. Why are you counting Main Street USA as an attraction?" The answer, for us, is a simple formula; Attention to Detail + Immersive Experience = Attraction.

Main Street USA is the opening scene in Walt's vision for a park. It is the destination for a nostalgic journey into the idyllic days of yesteryear. A place where memories of what was and what one might imagine was, are blurred just enough to create magic. Though, technically, it is a themed land, it is also every bit of an attraction.

Stepping onto Main Street USA is a magical experience in a very real sense. Looking around to see buildings representative of early 20th-century America, seeing a horse drawn trolley and hearing the music piped in all around you completely immerses you in another time and place. I can't help but feel like Terrence Mann stepping onto the Field of Dreams, surrounded by players like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver, waving my hand in front of my face as I hear the crunch of the warning track below my feet; reminding Ray Kinsella that the memories will be so thick, people will have to brush them away from their faces.Much like Terrence Mann's speech in Field of Dreams, guests come in droves and they return to a childlike innocence, longing for the past, and dipping themselves in the magic waters offered in a way that only Disney can provide.

As your feet carry you from the past and toward timeless fantasy, don't allow them to move you too quickly. Take a moment to take in the sights, sounds and smells that blanket you on Main Street USA. Allow the sounds of "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby" and the smell of popcorn take you back to eternal childhood. And as you walk, take in the detail of the buildings around you.

The buildings lining either side of the street not only represent those of the early 20th-century, but they model the design magic of Disney Imagineers. Using a technique called forced perspective makes the buildings look taller than they are. This illusion not only gives the impression that the buildings on Main Street are much taller than they are, but as a result makes Cinderella Castle ever the taller. Forced perspective works by making each story shorter than the one below it.

The buildings also hold, quite literally, windows into Disney history. Take time to note the names on the fictitious businesses. These give nods to those cast members and Imagineers whose contributions have made Disney what it is. From those who designed costumes, and attractions, to songwriters, and even Walt himself; each window tells a part of the Disney story and serves as credits to the Walt Disney World movie line.

Not only are the buildings along Main Street USA a wonder to observe, but they house a myriad of shops, bakeries, restaurants, and even a barber shop - where you may truly take part in a magical moment.

Main Street USA holds a different feel throughout various times of the day. Arriving in the morning, as you are among the first to enter, gives the impression of the dawning of a dream. A mid-afternoon parade is like a perpetual 4th of July or Christmas Day celebration. And lastly, standing on the train station platform and looking out over the street at night, as it is all aglow with 60,000 lights, captures a romantic feel that lies in the heart of all timeless memories.

What is your favorite part of Main Street USA? When is your favorite time to visit this area of the Magic Kingdom? What part brings back the most memories; sights, sounds or smells? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. I love the smell of popcorn on Main Street. I also love the music - a lot! I listen to Mouse World radio each morning for that reason, because they play the Main Street USA loop.

    There is also an innocence that is captured in the simple surroundings. It feels safe, familiar and uniquely American. These work together to give Main Street a special quality which can lead anyone to long for the golden age that was or might have been. Better yet, it makes you long for the possibility of such a simple time - even if based more on fantasy than fact - once again.

  2. My favorite memory is performing in the Candlelight processional during high school. It was in front of the train station facing down mainstreet. It was awesome to be singing carols as you walked down mainstreet with the lights off. Then to look back up mainstreet and just see people everywhere watching you.

  3. Wow "Anonymous", what a great memory to have. We can only imagine that the sights and sounds were breath taking.