Spending the Day on Main Street USA
I’ve long ago lost count of how many times I’ve taken my favorite walk in the World yet, without fail, each time I’m about to make that turn I can’t help but sing “I’m walking right down the middle of Main Street USA!” It might be a hereditary thing considering that my grandmother has spent entire days in Magic Kingdom park without ever once leaving the Main Street area, but something about it always brings a joyful tear to my eye. I’ve been extra antsy to get back to the place where dreams come true lately, and more than once on my morning commute, I’ve imagined I were about to start my day on Main Street USA.
After spending (far too long) in my imaginary world, I emerged with two realizations: 1) I am not, in fact, in Magic Kingdom, 2) Just how much Main Street USA offers…and hardly anyone knows about it! Before we jump into Main Street USA circa 2018, it’s important to note its beginnings.
Main Street’s Rich History
Modeled after Walt Disney’s hometown Marceline, Missouri, Main Street USA is one of the very first lands conceptualized by Walt when Disneyland’s planning was in its infancy. Walt may not have had a full vision of his dream park just yet, but he knew he wanted a taste of reality and a taste of nostalgia to be included in a park that would ultimately succeed in transporting guests out of their present realities to other worlds. The land is modeled after a turn of the century, idealistic Midwestern town. I can ramble on about Main Street USA, but its history was best summarized when Walt said: “For those of us who remember the carefree time it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is an adventure in turning back the calendar to the days of their grandfather’s youth.”
The Trolley Show
Fast forward to 2018, and Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA is just as fresh, exciting, and nostalgic as ever before…and it’s just waiting for you to discover all its secrets! When you first step through the park gates, Main Street USA is the first thing you see. If you play your cards right, you’ll arrive at the park for rope drop. Visit in the morning to catch a performance of the Main Street Trolley Show! Performers dressed in turn of the century attire are transported down Main Street USA via trolley. You can wave to them as they pass by, but don’t hurry past too quickly! The trolley will stop and the performers will disembark to put on a show right in the middle of Main Street, USA!
Become A Sorcerer
Before you leave the Town Square area, take a sharp left and stop into the fire station. It’s not news that Walt Disney World vacations are costly and the words ‘free’ are a rarity around the Resort. In the fire station, though, you can get your hands on a deck of official Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom cards…free of charge! All you have to do is scan your MagicBand or ticket, and you’re good to go! You can use these cards to play the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game that includes multiple stops along Main Street as well as throughout the entire Magic Kingdom. Personally, I like to get the cards to see how many different characters I can collect!
What’s that Amazing Smell? Chocolate!
Your nose will likely pull you in the direction of the Confectionery as scents of sweetly decadent treats waft out the door, leaving the rest of your body to follow helplessly behind as it leads you inside. It takes a person stronger than me to resist the temptation, and you shouldn’t bother to try to fight it! Inside, you’ll find cast members hard at work hand-dipping apples in caramel and chocolate, preparing Krispie treats for decoration, and, if you’re lucky, offering samples to hungry guests. It’s hands down my favorite stop along all Main Street!
If you’re planning to get a photo with your favorite character you’ll want to make sure you look your absolute best. If you’re cursing yourself for not getting that haircut before you left for vacation, you won’t have to leave Disney property to tame those long locks in prep for perfect photos. In fact, you don’t even have to leave Main Street! A working barber shop that welcomes customers each and every day is a fantastic way to keep the theming of Main Street on point with the way Walt imagined it.
Tip: If you’re visiting with a young boy, resist the urge to take him for his first haircut until you arrive on Main Street! The barbershop offers an adorable ‘first haircut’ package that just might bring a tear to your eye.
Honor Your Country
I’m starting to understand why my grandma spends her entire Magic Kingdom days on Main Street- there really is a whole days’ worth of activities to participate in! You can shop in the Emporium, eat lunch at Casey’s Corner, and lick a scoop of ice cream piled into a handmade waffle cone during the parade without every leaving. The events and activities even extend well into the late afternoon and early evening with the Flag Retreat Ceremony. Each night, the massive American flag that proudly billows in front of the train station is retreated before sundown, honoring official US Flag Code. To assist with the retreat each day, Disney invites an active or retired military guest to be on hand to oversee and hold the flag once it’s taken down. The Dapper Dans are on hand for the event to sing American classics in perfect harmony.
Fun Fact: Look up to the tops of the buildings that make up Main Street USA and you’ll notice countless mini American flags flying in the breeze. Why aren’t they retreated? Each of those flags is missing either a star or stripe! Flag Code only states that flags with 50 stars and 13 stripes be retreated…these babies are exempt!
After spending so much time on Main Street USA, you might as well stick around for the fireworks! Some of the best viewing spots for Happily Ever After are right in the center of Main Street! From morning to night, you too can belt out “I’m walking right down the middle of Main Street USA” and be all the more knowledgeable about its bounty of offerings. Are you going to watch the flag retreat ceremony on your trip? Will your son get his first haircut in the barbershop? Let us know in the comments below- we want to hear from you!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!