Mainstreet USA Greetings Mouseketeers, As mentioned in last week’s blog I am going to take you on a brief journey of the little hidden gems and history behind a few aspects to the magic kingdom, Disneyland, CA. To start this journey together we might as well start at the beginning…Mainstreet, USA. Disneyland opened on July 17,1955 with 18 rides and attractions. One of the most famous is the entrance, Main Street, USA. Upon entering the gates you will see the entrance breaks off between two tunnels, one on each end to the left or right. This design was created purposefully because Walt wanted to give park-goers a sense that they were stepping into another world and leaving the one they came from behind. Main Street stands as the first “themed land” in the Disneyland Park and is used as the main entrance to all “Disneyland” styled parks around the world. Each main street has a train station above the entrance and at the end of Main Street lies an enchanted castle from one of Disney’s animated features. Main Street was inspired by Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri and is designed to resemble the center of a turn of the 20th century American town. Just inside the entrance of Main Street is the Town Square. This Town Square is a gathering place for several Disneyland events including the annual 16-foot Christmas tree. During the day guests will see the famed Disneyland Band playing as you enter. This 19th century ragtime band was scheduled to play the first two weeks when the park opened in 1955. However, the band was so popular and fitting as guests entered Main Street the band has been playing for over 50 years. Additionally in Town Square two bronze cannons sit at the edge of the town square, both cannons are from the nineteenth century and were originally used by the French Army. If you were Walt Disney I am sure Disneyland would be one of the most remarkable developments in your life and proudest achievements. You would love the place so much (as many of us do) that you would want to live there all the time, right? Well it just so happens, that Walt felt the same way. He loved Disneyland so much that he wanted a place to live in on the grounds when he was there. So, as you enter Disneyland and look to your left, there you will notice a 1900s fire station. The second story of the fire station is an apartment that was built for Walt Disney personally. He often stayed there with him and his family when visiting Disneyland. Although Walt no longer occupies that apartment there is a lamp in the center window of the apartment that always remains lit. The light from the lamp shines to represent the presence of Walt always in the park. According to those who have visited the apartment it is stated that the apartment remains decorated today as it did when Walt lived there. Much of the entering walkway colors are red so that guests feel like celebrities when they arrive; however, when guests step on to Main Street the street is paved with black to attract heat from the sun. This is done intentional so that guests will continue to move down Main Street and hopefully into the shops that align. Speaking of shops have you ever felt a little chilly when inside the Disney Clothiers, Ltd. store? Doesn’t that make you want to buy a sweater to keep warm? It just so happens that the store is
kept much cooler than all the other shops on Main Street to entice guests to purchase those clothing items. Although Walt was a smart business man, he also cared a great deal about his guests and those he was close to. The next time you are on Main Street take a look at the second story windows; each window has someone’s name written on it. The names written are people who played a significant role either in the Walt Disney Company or in Disney’s life. This was his way of thanking and permanently honoring those people. Additionally as you walk down Main Street take a look at the curbs. There is not one sharp 90 degree angle in the sidewalk. Walt wanted Main Street to feel welcoming and give a sense of warmth; therefore, the curbs are designed with a curve instead of sharp corners. Main Street also has the famous gas streetlamps that align the street. These lamps are 150 years old and were purchased as scrap for as little as three cents a pound from St. Louis, Baltimore and Philadelphia. In December 1982, the park had to be evacuated due to a power outage, and the gaslamps were used to light the way for guests exiting the park. Obviously, there is a ton that can be written about Disneyland and about Main Street, USA. Main Street is just one area that offers an entire lifetime on interest. I’ll continue to write and hope that you discover genuine enjoyment in reading these interesting facts about the magic kingdom that is close to our home.