Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to Main Street U.S.A.!


Horse drawn trolleys, jitneys and even an old fire engine make their way up and down the street lined with Victorian style buildings.  Happy, upbeat instrumental music plays and the sweet smells from the Confectionery travel through the air.  Guests are greeted by smiling faces of Cast Members, some holding huge bouquets of balloons, others ready and waiting to take your family photo with a picturesque Cinderella Castle in the distant background.  The Dapper Dans quartet is singing a medley of classic Disney songs while Mayor Weaver and Chief Smokey Miller, citizens of Main Street, mingle with guests.  You are in the heart of the Magic Kingdom, the gateway to where dreams come true and memories are made.  You are walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.!

I like to refer to Walt Disney World as my “home away from home”, and Main Street is like the welcoming front porch.  The sights, the sounds, the smells – it’s like returning to a childhood home in which the best memories had been made.   And it’s no wonder that these feelings come forth as Main Street was built from inspiration of Walt Disney’s boyhood home in Marceline, Missouri.  Guests enter Main Street by stepping out from under the train station into Town Square.  Here you can find Town Hall, home to a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse, sometimes accompanied by his better half, Minnie.  Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is also here, inspired by the restaurant where Lady and the Tramp shared their infamous spaghetti kiss.  Across the square is the Fire Station, along with City Hall, which houses Guest Relations.  

Nestled in a corner of Town Square is the Harmony Barbershop, one of Main Street’s often over looked establishments.  This isn’t just for show either, it’s a real barbershop!  Guests can get a cut, a beard or mustache trim and even a pixie dusting of Mickey confetti and temporary hair color.  And for an extra special memory, little ones can have their first haircuts here.  They will receive not only a cut, but a certificate, some Mickey stickers and even a very special set of Mickey Ears with “First Haircut” embroidered on the back.  And don’t worry Mom and Dad, your child’s baby locks will be saved and carefully packaged so you can bring them home with you!


Being a woman it’s in my blood that I love shopping - and Main Street has plenty of it!  Actually, my favorite store in all of Walt Disney World is settled right on the corner of Town Square and takes up almost the whole left side of the street – The Emporium.  From kitchen utensils and stuffed animals to car decals and picture frames, you can find the perfect gift or souvenir here!  Across the street are some other great shopping opportunities.  The Main Street Gallery has posters, artwork and animation sketches of favorite characters for purchase.  Next door, Uptown Jewelers has walls lined with Disney couture clothing and accessories, snow globes and pins.  In the center of the store at the jewelry counter guests can purchase watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even Chamilia charms.  And take note ladies – here you can find a decent selection of the ever so lovely Dooney & Bourke bags! 

After all of the shopping, you’re sure to need a snack break.  You won’t have to stray far to find a scrumptious treat – Main Street has options to satisfy that sweet tooth!  Let’s start with the Confectionery, with a delicious smell that is impossible to ignore.  Gigantic lollipops, Mickey rice krispie treats and chocolate coins are just a few of the goodies found here.  Fudge of different flavors, taffies and candy coated apples are lined up behind the glass counter just waiting to be enjoyed.  At the opposite end of Main Street, the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor has cones and cups of chilly flavors that are perfect for an afternoon treat.  If baked goods are more of your thing, take a stroll next door to the Main Street Bakery.  Options here are plentiful with various cheesecakes, brownies, cupcakes and even cinnamon rolls the size of a small child’s head! 



For dining options other than sweets and treats, there are a few choices here as well.  As previously mentioned, Tony’s Town Square is located at the front of the Magic Kingdom Park.  Italian inspired cuisine is served here daily for lunch and dinner with menu items like flat breads, lasagna, scampi and spaghetti.  At the opposite end of Main Street, The Plaza Restaurant has a menu that offers burgers and sandwiches.  Located across from the Plaza is Casey’s Corner, a guest favorite.  This baseball themed quick service stop offers ball park favorites such as nachos and French fries, but most notably – hot dogs.  If you’re looking for a meal with a little more character, check out the Crystal Palace Restaurant.  Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy a menu with a vast selection of good eats all while dining with our favorite pals from the Hundred Acre Wood.  This is a dining must do on every Walt Disney World vacation for my husband and I.  While we prefer dinner, we enjoy breakfast and lunch here as well.  And while we’re in this area, located between Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace is where guests can find the Magic Kingdom’s First Aid and Baby Care Center.

While making your way down Main Street, U.S.A., take time to notice the details of this beautiful area.  Pay attention to buildings that line the street.  They are built in what is called forced perspective.  Each level of the buildings gets smaller as they go up, which makes them look taller.  Read the windows on the buildings above the stores.  Each building has a name on it. These are the names of the people and Imagineers who helped make Walt’s dream a reality.  Even Mr. Disney himself has a window facing Cinderella Castle, located above the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, which reads “Walter E. Disney - Graduate School of Design & Master Planning."  About halfway down Main Street, right between Uptown Jewelers and Crystal Arts, is Center Street.  This side street is one of my favorite areas to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park.  If you ever find yourself here, take a few minutes and sit under the window that says “Singing Lessons.”  Listen carefully and you may hear someone partaking in a lesson.

At the conclusion of Main Street, in front of the gorgeous Cinderella Castle, is what is known as the hub.  Standing tall in the middle is the Partners statue, with Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands, gazing forward and proudly at Walt’s dream come true.   I never come home with less than two dozen photos of the Partners statue.  Having idolized Walt Disney since I was a young child, the statue is a great representation of the man he was and the dreams he shared with the world.  I’m sure I am not the only die-hard Disney fanatic who appreciates the significance of the statue being located in the heart of the Magic Kingdom.  Situated around the Partners statue are often overlooked smaller statues of Disney characters. Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale make an appearance in bronzed form, as well as Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, Brer Rabbit and my personal favorite – Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.

Now that we’ve made our way to the end of Main Street, I hope you’ll keep in mind the wonderful details and unforgettable memories it has to offer for your next trip.  Every Walt Disney World vacation I take begins and concludes on Main Street, U.S.A., and I couldn’t think of a place more magical to do so.  See ya real soon!

Jessica

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful job Jess!!! I miss it so much and wish I was there right now, sans rain of course!!!

    ReplyDelete

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