Main Street U.S.A.

Main Street U.S.A. One of the original areas of Disneyland, with its interconnected shops making it one of the world’s first “shopping malls.” Walt’s plan was to present an idealized town at the turn of the century. Such a town never really existed, but if guests were to conjure up their ideal town, it would be something like Main Street, U.S.A. Various towns from Walt Disney’s past have claimed that he got the idea for Main Street from them, but the most likely candidate for this honor would be Marceline, Missouri, the town in which Walt spent the formative years of his childhood. Using forced perspective, the Disney designers gave a fantasy look to the street, making a small place seem large. The ground floors were built at about 7/8 size, with the succeeding floors proportionately smaller. This fudging on the size gives the whole area a fantasy, not-quite-real feeling, which increases one’s appreciation of it. Main Street runs from the railroad station and Town Square for two blocks to the Hub. Looking straight down Main Street, guests can catch a glimpse of the castle leading to Fantasyland. On the windows above the ground floor, Disney started a tradition of honoring the men and women who were instrumental in the construction and operation of Disneyland. One of the few exceptions is a window honoring Walt’s father, Elias, above the Emporium. The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland have their Main Streets, but Tokyo Disneyland opted instead for World Bazaar, which looks very similar except for a roof covering the entire area.