“For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar to the days of their grandfather’s youth.” – Walt Disney
While everyone looks forward to their first view of Cinderella Castle, don’t overlook the special street welcoming you to the Magic Kingdom. Inspired by Walt Disney’s home town of Marceline, Missouri this turn of the century street pays tribute to a simpler time in American history. You’ll find the architecture, styles and decorations here to be true to the period.
Walt viewed Disneyland and Walt Disney World as shows so it’s interesting how the layout of the entrance to the park resembles what you might find in a theater. You have ticket booths, tunnels lined with “coming attraction” posters (park attraction posters), the train station serves as the “curtain” and when you pass under it the show begins. Of course every vintage movie begins with the credits – you’ll find the “credits” for Walt Disney World on the windows above Main Street. The names used in the fictitious businesses are those instrumental in creating the magic of Walt Disney World. The last name on the credits is always the director of the show so it’s fitting that the very last name on the windows of Main Street (on the ice cream parlor facing the castle) is Walt Disney.
Take some time to explore the street and you’ll find so much more than just shops and restaurants.
Start with the Railroad Station. The telegraph you hear inside is tapping out Walt’s speech from opening day at Disneyland. And take a few minutes to look around the station. It appears some of our favorite Disney characters have left behind some items – from Aladdin’s lamp to Mary Poppins’ umbrella! How many can you find?
The fire station is #71 – Walt Disney World opened in 1971. This is also where you can pick up your game pieces for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.
Harmony Barber Shop is a working barber shop. Stop in for a haircut (children and adults), some colored hair gel or a special “My First Haircut” package.
Look on the pavement outside of Tony’s Town Square restaurant and you might recognize a set of paw prints in the cement.
Turn down Center Street off of Main Street. If it’s quiet enough you might hear someone taking voice lessons and practicing the piano.
Find the telephone behind the Main Street Market House. Pick it up and you’ll hear a very fun and interesting conversation!
Keep an eye out for entertainment along the street during the day. The Dapper Dans is an amazing barbershop quartet, the Mayor of Main Street is often spotted greeting guests and in the mornings song and dance might break out right in front of you!
If you are trying to leave the Magic Kingdom during the parades or fireworks cut through the shops on the Emporium side of the street. All of the shops are connected along the block where the Emporium is located so you can walk inside the shops while everyone is standing outside.
A very special flag retreat ceremony takes place at the flag pole on Main Street each day at 5pm. This ceremony has been taking place daily since 1971 and includes the Main Street Band, the Dapper Dans singing the National Anthem and a Veteran of the Day who lowers and folds the flag. This is one of those special moments at the Magic Kingdom that everyone should take time to experience.
If you are in the Magic Kingdom at closing time don’t rush out. The shops stay open after closing and the Castle will give you a special “Kiss Goodnight” about a half hour after park closing. This won’t be listed in the Times Guide (it’s a special treat) but you can verify the time with a Cast Member.
There is so much more to explore here! It’s the stories and imagineering that makes Walt Disney World so special. My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel professional with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times and I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for tips, tricks and information on all things Disney!