Category Rank: 1
Park: Magic Kingdom
Park Rank: 1
We have reached the top. And sitting there is the ultimate park ambience. Main Street, USA, the first place you go when arriving at Magic Kingdom, is the number one nostalgic item on our list. And it isn't even close.
Main Street USA in Disneyland (not WDW) is modeled after Marceline, Missouri (Walt's home town), though if that truly is what main street looks like, I want to go live in Marceline. The WDW one, when built, altered slightly as they took inspiration from other places in Missouri as well as New England. I'm not an expert at architecture, so I'm not really noticing the difference, but at the "4 corners" area on the street, there is a different style of architecture for each of the buildings.
Like Cinderella's castle, the entire street uses forced perspective to appear grander than it is. The 2nd floor of the buildings is shorter and a bit narrower than the 1st, while the 3rd is even shorter and narrower (though the top two floors are not open to the public or functional spaces).
As with everything else in the parks, it is so clean and quaint, everyone so charming and happy, despite thousands of people going through it each day. The colors are beautiful pastels, and it features many different acts such as the brass band or the barbershop quartet. Actually, the barbershop quartet is probably one of the best symbols of the area, everything from their dress (early 1900s clothing) down to their profession (crooners begone from a different time period).
Upon walking through the gate, you walk underneath the Disney Railroad station (the ride itself is meh, but seeing and hearing the slow moving train makes you actually like trains again). You then come into the town square, featuring a flagpole with daily flag ceremonies. Around the exterior of the square are the firehouse, a functional barbershop (we need to get a haircut there one day), and the "town hall" which is guest relations.
Then you are off down the street. On one side is the Main Street Emporium, a large store that actually runs through a half dozen storefronts. On the other side are things like the confectionery, the bakery, the exhibition hall, and the ice cream parlor. And, you are suddenly reminiscing of the childhood you never had (which was actually spent eating at McDonalds). At the end is Casey's Corner and the piano player.
The journey down Main Street is at both times wildly exciting and relaxing. Your anticipation of all the fun you will have on your vacation continues to mount as you go down the street, seeing the castle in the distance, and oohing and aahing at all the sights. You are caught between wanting to get going to your favorite ride and taking a diversion into one of the stores or even just people-watch. There is always activity in the street too, as there are balloon vendors merrily selling their wares, as well as popcorn vendors. Plus you have the Main Street vehicles, including a trolley or a horse-drawn carriage. Or the photographers setting up for a photopass opportunity for a lovely family full of joy at finally being in the greatest place on earth. Or, of course, the many parades that come through each day.
I could go on and on. You might be saying, "I thought you already did go on and on". But, that's the magic of this place. For little kids, the magic is the princesses and the fantasy areas or the astronauts in future land or the pirates or all the mythological stuff. For adults, the magic is the fantasy of the quaint small town childhood that you never had. The slow pace relaxation in the midst of all the tourists, and all the cast members making you feel at home truly brings you to another place.
I think of Main Street USA most fondly of all the places within WDW. If you said that you could go to Magic Kingdom but you had to stay on Main Street USA and not go further to ride rides or see shows, I'd be okay with that. I could enjoy it to no ends.
And, that marks the end of our list, and the end for our blog. A worthwhile trip down memory lane for me, as I truly enjoy thinking back to the park. In fact, I finish this entry on the cusp of our next trip, a Disney Wonder cruise to the Western Caribbean. Oops, we are running late, disembarkment is in a mere few hours!