One of my favorite locations in Walt Disney World is Main Street, USA. This is kind of ironic in that, on my first trip to Disney World I sped past Main Street as fast as I possibly could in order to get to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. As an 11 year old kid, I wanted adventure and excitement. To me, Main Street was just a street and didn’t hold much appeal except for maybe the Magic Shop and the Penny Arcade.
When I plan people’s itineraries, Main Street USA poses the biggest problems. There is so much to do and so much to see there, but when a family only has one day in the Magic Kingdom it can be critical for them to just walk right down the middle of Main Street USA in order to get to all the attractions in the other lands that they want to see that day. They often have it in their mind that Disney World is all about “rides” and, since there are no “rides” on Main Street (except the trolley and jitneys) they don’t even consider it, much as I didn’t my first time. This is nothing short of a tragedy, for Disney World is not about “rides.” It’s about “attractions,” and there are plenty of attractions on Main Street, USA.
The first attraction on Main Street USA is the opening ceremony that happens every morning at the Main Street Station. It sets the tone for the day and never fails to bring a tear to my eye. (There’s a reason I wear sunglasses to see it.) Singing, dancing, characters, and the Walt Disney World Railroad all play a role in opening up the Magic Kingdom with a little magic mixed up with pixie dust.
I consider the theming and the views on Main Street to be attractions in and of themselves, and a big part of this are the window displays. Rather than rush down to the Hub and the Castle, why not stroll down the sidewalk and look at the amazing details of the window displays?
By far my favorite attractions on Main Street USA are the live entertainment offerings. Each group is awesome in and of itself and adds to the atmosphere of Main Street. Whether you’re listening to the amazing harmonies of the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet, clapping along with the Main Street Philharmonic marching band, or watching the Main Street Trolley Show, there is always something interesting to listen to or watch. People need to be aware that these performances are worth stopping for (and participating in!). Also be on the lookout for custodians who draw pictures on the street using water, Cast Members handing out hula hoops and getting people playing jump rope, and more!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the residents of Main Street. Sure, you can meet characters like Chip & Dale, Daisy Duck, Pluto, and even Mickey Mouse, on Main Street, but I’m talking about the residents of Main Street. People like Mayor Weaver, Fire Chief Smokey Miller, Councillor Dewey Cheatem, Inga DePoint, and Hildegard Olivia Harding. These characters are just as real as Mickey Mouse and help reinforce the story that you’re immersed in.
Wait a minute! Story? There’s a story behind Main Street USA? Yes, there is! While it’s beyond the scope of this humble blog entry to tell you why every day is the 4th of July on Main Street, you can learn a little bit about it by downloading these two episodes of the WDW Radio Show (#197 and #198) and also by purchasing Lou Mongello’s Audio Guide to Main Street USA.
These are just some of the things that I really enjoy about Main Street, U.S.A. Please, take the time to explore and enjoy this often-overlooked gem. You just might be surprised at the memories that you create when, instead of making a mad dash for Space Mountain, you instead take a leisurely stroll through this amazing land in the Magic Kingdom.