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    Main Street, U.S.A.

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This section of Disneyland is where you'll begin and end your visit. We have already mentioned that assistance and information are available at City Hall. The Disneyland Railroad stops at the Main Street Station, and you can board here for a grand circle tour of the park, or you can get off the train in New orleans Square, Mickey's Toontown/Fantasyland, or Tomorrowland.

Main Street is an idealized version of a turn-of-the-20th-century American small-town street. Many visitors are surprised to discover that all the buildings are real, not elaborate props. Attention to detail is exceptional—interiors, furnishings, and fixtures conform to the period. As with any real Main Street, the Disney version is essentially a collection of shops and eating places, with a city hall, a fire station, and an old-time cinema. A mixed-media attraction combines static exhibits recalling the life of Walt Disney with a patriotic remembrance of Abraham Lincoln. Horse-drawn trolleys, fire engines, and horseless carriages give rides along Main Street and transport visitors to the central hub.


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Pass through the tunnels on either side of the colorful Mickey Mouse floral display and you'll enter a world that was unlike any other place on Earth before 1955. Welcome to Main Street USA, an idealized, sanitized, romantic vision of what small town life was like between 1890 and 1910. This was a time of great change in America, with gas lamps giving way to the electric lights, horse-drawn carriages giving way to the motor vehicle, and new forms of entertainment such as the nickelodeon and the movie theater to delight the masses.

Walt's design objective with Disneyland was to create a three-dimensional environment that you would experience the same way you watch a movie. The Main Street train depot acts like a marquee. You buy your ticket and then enter the lobby. In this case, the lobby is the forecourt with the giant Mickey Mouse floral arrangement with red brick pavers taking the place of the red carpet.

Passing through the tunnels below the train tracks acts like a cross-dissolve effect, common in movies when switching between scenes, and gives you get a deflected view of Town Square on Main Street. This heightens your anticipation of what is to come and makes for a seamless transition between the lobby and the show. Your first immersive view is an establishing shot of Town Square, which invites you to explore further.

Along the eastern edge of Town Square is the Opera House where Abe Lincoln currently resides in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The Opera House is the oldest structure in the park. It was built as the shop for the detailed woodwork you see installed throughout Disneyland. On the other side of Town Square is City Hall. This civic building was designed by Harper Goff and is based on his hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. (We'll hear more about Harper Goff when we enter Adventureland.)

On Main Street, Walt revisited his cherished childhood home of Marceline, Missouri. The shops lining the street show Walt’s fondness for this simpler, slower-paced time; look at the mezzanine in the Emporium and you can see scenes representing daily life of the people of the period.

The narrow corridor of Main Street frames Sleeping Beauty Castle. The contrast of a traditional American main street terminated by a medieval castle is another one of those magical moments and a signature of all of the Magic Kingdom parks. This design concept is called a view terminus or what Walt Disney dubbed a "weenie." Placing a highly visible architectural object at the end of a view acts like a beckoning hand that draws guests forward. Walt learned this trick when he noticed that animal trainers would use hot dogs to motivate the animal actors. Who doesn’t love a hot dog?

At the end of Main Street is a circular park just in front of the Castle called the Plaza Hub. This is the one with the statute of Walt and Mickey Mouse called Partners. Look around and you will see weenies inviting you to visit each of the lands. Sleeping Beauty draws you into Fantasyland, the Astro Orbitor does the same for Tomorrowland, and the wooden gate with the Mark Twain in the distance pulls you into Frontierland. Only one land lacks this visual device…Adventureland. Why? That mystery will be answered when you get to Adventureland.

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Other Lands at Disneyland Park