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Hidden Magic of Main Street, U.S.A.

Everybody loves Main Street. It’s the opening to the Magic Kingdom, and a step back in time to turn-of-the-century America. However, in the nostalgia of Main Street, and the awe of the castle at the end of the road, don’t miss the details hidden. So many people rush through Main Street to get to Cinderella Castle and the lands that lay beyond. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses here, or rather, the fresh-baked cookies. Don’t miss the old-fashioned vehicles, the Dapper Dans, the band, and much more existing within Main Street. So, to help you to stop and admire the details hidden here, I’m going through my favorite hidden magic of Main Street, U.S.A. This will particularly apply to Walt Disney World, so just be aware going in to this post. We’ll start with the Town Square, and move down Main Street toward the Hub.

          Tony, from Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, is the same Tony from Lady and the Tramp. You know, the one who made the spaghetti dinner for Lady and Tramp and sang “Bella Notte”. In front of his restaurant, to the left of the stairs, you will find Lady and Tramp’s paw prints inside a heart in the pavement. Sometimes, it’s hard to find if there’s too many strollers around. It’s in the same general area that most people park their strollers. If you eat here, go to the back of the restaurant. There’s a courtyard, and you can see Lady and Tramp enjoying a quiet evening.

          The central courtyard has many details in it. The flag flying here is the only real flag on Main Street. There’s a ceremony every evening to take it down, and it’s really cool to watch if you ever get the opportunity to see it. If you want to make sure that you see it, ask a Cast Member what time it will be. Also located here is the dedication plaque that contains some of Roy O. Disney’s comments from the opening ceremony. Find the bench with Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse. This is to honor their supporting roles in fulfilling the dreams of Walt and Mickey. Take a seat with them and have your picture taken. While they are usually located in the central courtyard, they have been known to move to City Hall on occasion.

          The date for the Chamber of Commerce is 1871, exactly one hundred years before the opening of the Magic Kingdom. The sepia paintings inside here are reproductions of the original concept art for Main Street, U.S.A. The Chamber of Commerce is located to the left of City Hall. To the right of City Hall is Fire Station 71. This is a nod to 1971, the year the Magic Kingdom opened. There’s plenty more 71 references scattered around the park. How many more can you find?

          Moving down Main Street, notice that all of the sidewalks are red to resemble a red carpet. Kodak was consulted to determine what particular shade of red would enhance guest photographs. Pay attention to the streetlamps as you walk down the street. They start out as gas lamps, but have switched to electric by the time you get to the Hub. You are symbolically moving through time and into the modern eras. Look at the lower windows are you walk through, as well. They’re lower than normal because Walt wanted small children to be able to see inside. Pay attention to the smells, as well. Main Street is known for smelling like home-baked cookies. Imagineers are known to pump in smells to different locations throughout the parks. Is the smell coming from the Confectionary and bakery, or is it placed? We may never know!

          The windows on either side of the Emporium’s front door name “Osh” Popham as the proprietor. He was the postmaster in the 1963 film Summer Magic. According to the signs inside the Emporium, it was established in 1863, a nod to the movie’s debut 100 years later. The Emporium Gallery is shown to have been established in 1901, which is the year that Walt Disney was born. Look at the Emporium Gallery’s mural on the back wall. The faces are real people. It’s an example of an Imagineer hidden signature, since they’re not typically allowed to sign their work.

          Turn right into the street off Main Street. It’s just past the Main Street Cinema, and more of an alleyway. Stop near the café tables at the end and listen closely. If you listen long enough, you can hear both singing and dancing lessons taking place upstairs. The windows that represent where the lessons are taking place are on the left-hand side. It’s interesting the hear the conversations, and you will have a nice surprise for the others in your party that aren’t in on the secret.

          Do you want a really cool Disney souvenir to arrive at your home after you leave Walt Disney World? Why not send yourself a letter from Main Street? There are two green mailboxes on lampposts. One is located in front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, and the other is found in front of Main Street’s Arcade. You can actually send mail from them. Now, that’s a cool souvenir! It would also be a fun surprise for a loved one to receive. Keep that in mind and take a letter, card, or postcard with you to send back home from Main Street!

          When you get to Casey’s Corner, stop and look at the sign. The baseball on the left side of the “C” says 1888 on it. This is a reference to the poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, which was published in the San Francisco Examiner newspaper on June 3, 1888. Disney later made an animated short based on the poem in 1946. This is the inspiration for Casey’s Corner.

          We’ve now made it to the Hub, so let’s get a good look at the Partners’ Statue. Notice the ring on Walt’s outstretched hand? It’s an Irish Claddagh ring. Walt bought one on a trip to Ireland, and wore it all the time. It’s a nod to his Irish heritage and devotion to his wife, Lillian. The funny symbol on Walt’s tie is the initials STR, for Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, California. Walt and Lillian had a vacation home there. They sold it to pay for Disneyland, but went back to purchase a second home when the park proved to be successful. Sculptor Blaine Gibson got the inspiration from an actual tie that Walt used to wear a lot. He decided to include it in the statue that would represent Walt in so many of the Disney parks.

          Now that you know this hidden magic that can be found on Main Street, U.S.A., I hope that you will use it as inspiration to spend more time wondering Main Street the next time you’re in the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to see here that many people miss. They’re always heading off to the other lands to ride all the rides, but there’s so much here to see and experience. This is true for all lands in all Disney parks, so be sure to stop and take in the details as you see them. It’s what makes the parks so immersive and really help to make the magic believable. By taking in these details, we’re honoring the Imagineers who put them there to begin with. It’s gives us a better appreciation for the parks and the effort that has gone in to making this the Most Magical Place on Earth.

          If you want more details on Main Street, check out my post about the Windows of Main Street. I have it linked down below.

          For more Disney fun, follow Elizabeth’s Magical World on Instagram and Facebook. Subscribe to the blog to keep up with all the latest posts and news. Have a magical day!

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