Thursday, July 14, 2011

Main Street USA - Little Known Facts

Main Street USA! Every visitor's first taste of Disney magic. It starts with this amazing view of the trains station. If that doesn't say welcome, I don't know what does!

Main Street USA was inspired by Walt's home town of Marcelline, Missouri. When he started planning Disneyland, Imagineer Harper Goff showed Walt some pictures of his home town of Fort Collins, Colorado around the turn of the 19th century, and Walt like it. So Main Street USA is part Marcelline, part Fort Collins, and a lot of Harper Goff's and Walt Disney's imaginations.


These cannons in the main hub were actually used by the French Army in the 1800's but were never used in battle.


In the Opera House, which houses Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, also showcases this amazing caenstone sculpture by French artist George Lloyd. He sculpted it in 1932 and gave it to Walt Disney in 1962. It was placed in the Opera House in 1965 with the opening of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Walt Disney had an apartment built above the Firehouse on Main Street. Whenever he was in the park, he turned on a light to let employees know he was present. A light now burns in the window all the time as a tribute to Walt.


The gas lamps on Main Street are antique gas burning lamps from the 1800's. Most of the lamps were purchased by imagineer Emile Kuri from Baltimore, Maryland and installed them in the park in 1955.

This cigar store indian harkens back to a time when trade stores were recognized by a symbol - barber shop poles, scissor for tailors and Native Americans were associated with tobacco products since they were given credit for introducing tobacco to Europeans. When Disneyland first opened, the stores that are now music stores actually sold tobacco, and since Main Street is supposed to represent an all-American town around the turn of the 20th century, the cigar store indian was set out front as a symbol. It's still there, even through the tobacco store is long gone.

The Plaza Inn is one of our favorite places to eat. The building has some interesting things about it -- It is one of the original restaurants from the opening of Disneyland in 1955, and was originally called the Red Wagon Inn. It was one of Walt's favorite restaurants in the park. It has some actual antique furnishings and decorations from the 1800's and the stained glass ceiling and woodwork from the old St. James home in Los Angeles. It is said that Lillian Disney had a big part in the decor of the Plaza Inn. She loved antiques!Probably one of the icons of Main Street is the Partners statue, sculpted by Blaine Gibson and was originally installed in WDW, but this copy was installed in main hub in Disneyland in 2001. It is a lovely addition to the central passage way of Disneyland and epitomizes the feeling of Walt when he said, "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse."


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