Hello and welcome back to my new series called Disneyland Paris at 25. For anyone who missed the last couple of posts, this series will be me talking about the 25 things I love about Disneyland Paris. I will publish one or two posts a week (depending on how I sorted out the schedule) about each aspect up until Disneyland Paris’s official anniversary on 12th April. I thought that it would be a great way of honouring the park and its 25 years as well as sharing some of my own memories of past trips.
If you want to catch the introduction or the inaugural post I will include the links down below:
So as you can see from the link, the first post was all about the Disneyland Hotel, the beautiful and elegant entrance to the magic.
Today I’ll be stepping out the other side of the hotel, walking under the Disneyland Railroad, and stopping at the top of Main Street USA.
It’s not the best photograph in the world for capturing the top of Main Street USA but what I like about it is that there is this big expanse of space just before you hit the main thoroughfare. It is the area where we say “we’re here,” or if you’re like me “I’m home” and all that desire to be back in the park is suddenly real.
I find it doubly exciting and thrilling if the brass band is playing in the bandstand. The familiar sounds of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, The Mickey Mouse March etc are often like close friends and to hear them played just as you walk in fills you with even more magic and elation than you deem possible. Whilst I might not have been met by the brass band when I first walked under the Railroad on my last trip, I got this instead:
The 20th Anniversary Train (originally the Casey Jr float from the long-running Wonderful World of Disney Parade) and its soundtrack Do You Believe. It was fantastic and absolutely wonderful to see Main Street USA come alive with so much pixie dust and celebration.
However, moving on to the street in general, the Victorian and turn-of-the-century essence is one of the aspects I love the most. The Imagineers went out of their way to make the architecture as authentic as possible and it definitely shows.
The design of the buildings, the style of windows, the shutters, the pillars, the costumes of the statues… it truly is as if you’ve stepped back in time, making for that perfect beginning to the whole Disney park experience. Ultimately, that transition from the reality to the fantasy. There’s even a backstory to Main Street that if you heard it in relation to any small growing metropolis during the early 1900s, it would be realistic.
That story and the subtle details added by the Imagineers I believe truly make a difference to how you experience Main Street USA.
Spotting windows like this with reference to Imagineers, Disney legends, other films that might not be represented by attractions, parades or shows etc:
Hearing the sound of a dentist’s drill near the Dentist facade, hearing what I’m pretty certain is Pluto gurgling in the bath if you sit on one of the benches near Plaza Gardens restaurant (to the right of Central Plaza), and much more. Of course, any of the sound effects are going to be completely oblivious to any D/deaf guests like my sister but they’re still cool additions that more often than not are missed due to all the dashing around. Besides all the window details make up for that. I’ll admit I didn’t notice half of these until my third or fourth trip and with every other trip, I’ll notice another detail.
I know that there are similar details dotted down Main Street USA in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but they are part of what entices me to revisit DLP again and again. I bet no matter how hard I try, I’ll never come across all the details, and it means that it is never boring. It’s very probable that I’m the only person in my family who thinks that, but there is magic up and down the street, and just as much as you’d find in any of the themed lands.
What I have just realised is so great is that all these details touch on every human sense and they come together to create this enveloping experience for every single guest. No matter how much I try to describe it in words, I won’t be able to put across the true essence of this land, if you can call it a land as such because you just have to feel it and allow it to sweep you away.
I think Walt Disney captured it perfectly when he said:
Here you leave today and enter the worlds of history, discovery and ageless fantasy
“A partir d’ici, vous quittez le présent et entrez dans le monde de l’histoire, des découvertes et de la fantaisie eternelle.”
as shown on this plaque that you pass before walking onto Main Street USA.
Side Note – I know there aren’t any details on what is specifically on Main Street USA, but you might find that a few different buildings pop up in later instalments – I didn’t want to give anything away!
The initial approach to Main Street USA was 1920s Hollywood, the age of jazz, cinema, gangsters, and the dawning of a new industrial age. However, with the help of veteran Disney artist Herb Ryman, Imagineers went back to their roots and rediscovered the spirit that Walt Disney wanted to create with the original Disneyland.
Accustomed to the richness Parisians find in their own city, the Imagineers recreated and recognised that by adding similar details.
The story behind Main Street USA is best explained in three murals that are displayed in the Plaza Garden’s restaurant.
Thanks for taking the time to read this longer post, and have a brazzle dazzle day!