Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A.: A History

Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A.: A History

"Main Street, U.S.A. is America at the turn of the century — the crossroads of an era. The gas lamps and the electric lamp, the horse-drawn car and the auto car. Main Street is everyone's hometown, the heartline of America." — Walt Disney
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Ah — Main Street, U.S.A., your go-to place to shop, dine, and immerse yourself in the Disneyland culture while visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. While you walk down the street, taking in the sweet smell of popcorn, churros and vanilla (peppermint during the holidays), have you ever stopped to read the inscriptions on the windows that adorn the tops of the shops? Have you ever paused to listen to the sounds (other than that of guests pandering about) that Main Street offers? Have you ever taken a ride in the horse-drawn carriages or any of the other vehicles that traverse this simplistic yet magical street? Walt Disney put his heart and soul into Main Street, wanting to create a town similar to the one he grew up in, in Marceline, Missouri, yet one that each guest could make their own, and feel at home in. This is just one reason why Main Street deserves our full attention.

The amount of detail that has gone into each and every Disney park is literally mind-boggling. Everything down to the ground you walk on has been perfectly planned out to match the thematic elements of the land in which it is in, and good ol' Main Street is no different. Have you ever tripped while walking down Main Street, or gotten a blurry castle picture because you lost your footing? If you have, it was probably because of the tracks running right down the middle of the street! Those tracks are used to guide some of the vehicles, including the horse-drawn street cars!

Walt loved the idea of a town that would evoke nostalgia of an earlier, simpler time; hence, the vintage style of the streetcars and horse-drawn carriages. Not made for speed, these old-style vehicles give a whole new meaning to slowing down, taking the scenic route and enjoying the ride. The conductors sometimes have funny commentary, cool facts, or stories to share, and you may learn something new by taking a quick ride with them down Main Street!

Whether you prefer to ride, walk, fly, jump, or skip down Main Street, I encourage you to take a minute and direct your attention to the windows that look down upon the bustling street. For those who are unfamiliar with these pieces of history, they aren't your typical windows. The glass panes that adorn the tops of the buildings are dedicated to those who have made outstanding contributions to Disneyland, or have left behind an amazing Disney legacy. The windows are made to look as if they belong to cartographers, shop owners, businessmen, seamstresses, and more. For example:

This window is dedicated to Sam McKim. Any guesses on what his Disney legacy was? Any at all? With the title "Map Maker to the Kingdom", it is not too difficult to assume that what McKim left behind was some sort of a map of the park. If you had thought that was the case, you would be correct! McKim was a master magical map maker, and created a map of Disneyland that was sold between 1958 and 1964. He was also named a Disney Legend, hence having his own window above the Photo Supply Co. at the end of Main Street.

Not all windows are as self-explanatory as McKim's window, however. Take a look at Ken Anderson's window.

Not as easy to read, am I right? This window is more simplistic in its design. Now, Anderson was actually a really influential Disney art director who worked on movies such as "The Jungle Book," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," and a few others. He specialized in architecture, and played a part in the developing and designing of the park itself! This is all great, and he became a Disney Legend for it, but you might be wondering...what does this have to do with "Bait Co.?" Well, Anderson was actually really into fly-fishing, which makes the window a humorous one, as fly-fishing does not make use of bait at all! Oh, Disney and their painstaking attention to detail! Gotta love it.

Now that you know a little bit about the fascinating and legendary windows of Main Street, be sure to seek them out and try to solve the mysteries of the history behind them!

Main Street, U.S.A. was created to feel very familiar, welcoming, and charming. I mean, just look at these darling buildings! One extremely clever way this was done was through forced perspective. A simple way to describe this concept, when referencing Main Street, is that the tops of the buildings are all built to a smaller scale than the bottom portions. It gives the illusion that everything is taller than it actually is. Still a bit confused? Look more closely at the second and third "floors" of the buildings pictured. As the building goes up, the second and third floors look a bit more cramped; there would hardly be much room to stand at the top! This tricks your brain (and eyes!) into thinking that all of Main Street is composed of three story buildings, which makes Sleeping Beauty's castle appear even taller than it actually is, if you are looking down the street at it. Pretty neat, am I right?

Walt had a perfect vision for Main Street: a town that anyone could call their own. But that doesn't mean Main Street has no unique backstory, or history to it! This beloved part of Disneyland is meant to bring us guests back to a time somewhere in the early twentieth century, between 1900 and 1911. This was a time when a new era was emerging, so it wouldn't have seemed odd to find a car and a horse-drawn carriage headed down the street simultaneously! The transition period that Main Street is based on is why you see a wide variety of vehicles, as well as the markings on the ground of hooves and such.

This old timey theme is also why you hear the musical stylings of the Dapper Dans, as well as rag-time piano music up and down the street. The Dapper Dans are a barbershop quartet that have been performing on Main Street since 1959! To this day, they continue to win the hearts of men, women and children alike who listen to their happy, upbeat songs. Feelin' blue? That's nothing these fine gentleman can't fix! I highly recommend stopping and taking a listen while you stroll down Main Street.

Main Street is full of so much more rich history and many, many happy memories, for the young and young at heart, as Walt would say. Taking the time to learn a little about Disneyland's past is probably the best history lesson you could self-enroll in! Not only does it make the time spent there so much more meaningful, but you can pass along what you know to other Disney enthusiasts. Spread the magic wherever you can!

"Disneyland
To all who come to this happy place
Welcome.
Disneyland is your land.
Here, age relives fond memories of the past ...
and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.
Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, dreams
and the hard facts that have created America ...
with the hope that it will be
a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
Walt Disney, July 17 1955









Cover Image Credit: TWDC Original Photo

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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