Friday, December 2, 2016

Beyond Town Square

At the Magic Kingdom, just beyond Town Square, is Main Street, U.S.A. The road, sandwiched between sidewalks paved in red as if a red carpet is being rolled out for us, usher us toward the different lands that form the main park attractions. This idealistic small town serves as a transition point between the real world and Disney's world.

The attraction of Main Street U.S.A. is different for each visitor. For some it's childhood memories from a similar town that maybe they grew up in. For others, it's the smells from the bakery that remind them of their childhood kitchens. Younger generations may be drawn to memories from family vacations where, for the first time, they laid eyes on Walt's Famous Castle. No matter what the draw is, Main Street U.S.A. is a beautiful reminder of what life was like in turn of the 20th century America. As Walt put it:
"Main Street, U.S.A. is America at the turn of the century - the crossroads of an era. The gas lamps and the electric lamps, the horse drawn car and the auto car. Main Street is everyone's home town...the heart-line of America."
Here's a short video clip of Walt explaining exactly what Main Street U.S.A. is.

The real beauty of Main Street can be seen in its architecture. There is a distinct Victorian architectural aesthetic that pulls us into Walt's world of optimism. At only three blocks long, and with a slight incline as you enter the park, Main Street has, as Roy Disney put it, "the nostalgic quality that makes it everybody's hometown."

Imagineer John Hench used the term the “language of vision” when he described the building of Main Street.  According to Disney historian, Jim Korkis, the term is the idea that you are using all of your senses when you experience Disney. Imagineers worked hard to make that a reality. The visual effects are amazing but the sounds and even smells along Main Street are too.

Disney uses what they call Smellitizers all along Main Street. This little devices are hidden to the eye but not to the nose. Using them, Imagineers are able to manipulate smells across the park. On Main Street, the scent of fresh baked cookies and vanilla are emitted from these devices.

Main Street U.S.A. is often overlooked and that's unfortunate. For some of us, as one friend says, when I retire, I want to be homeless on Main Street. I could spend hours writing about all the many different aspects of the stores or the alleyways. The windows on the second floors emblazoned with the names of the many Imagineers who helped turn Walt's dream into a reality. Even the lampposts tell a story and one day, I might tell it.

For now, I invite you to sit back, close your eyes, imagine you are taking a stroll past the emporium on your way to Casey's Corner, and enjoy the music of Main Street U.S.A. 

Thanks for reading.

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