19 October 2009

Down on old Main Street

Main Street U.S.A. of 2009 looks strikingly similar to the Main Street of 1972. The train station, with its turn of the century steam engines, still whistle out their welcome as they chug along down the tracks, and the vehicles of Main Street still ferry guests down the lamp-lined thoroughfare. Fire Station, Town Hall, and Exposition Hall (or Hospitality House) still stand tall as they encircle Town Square. Along the shops of Main Street, the windows still list the individuals who turned Walt Disney World from dream to reality. Balloons can still be seen floating above the crowds in large clusters.

The main differences that can be found on Main Street U.S.A. today, as opposed to looking at the land in 1972, is the shops that can be visited. In 1972 West Street housed the Greenhouse Flower Shop, Harmony Barber Shop, Hallmark Card Shop, and the Elgin-Helbros New Century Clock Shop. Currently, the Harmony Barber Shop is located in Town Square near the Car Barn, while the card, flower, and clock shops remain only in memory. West Street itself was annexed by the Emporium in 2001 as part of the shop’s expansion.

Other shop changes over the past 37 years include the House of Magic, Penny Arcade, and Tobacconist being refurbished into the Main Street Athletic Club. While I am pleased at the removal of the Tobacconist, the Penny Arcade and House of Magic are both cornerstones of my childhood that I greatly miss. I can remember many hours spent learning a new magic trick, or attempting to dupe friends and family into grabbing a stick of snapping gum, or plopping coin after coin into the turn of the century games of the arcade.

Across the way, the Cinema is still standing, but what was an actual theater in 1972 now houses the collectibles of The Art of Disney. And while the Chapeau can still be found in Town Square the sensible headwear for men and women has become the house of every imaginable mouse ears. Still, silhouettes can still be seen being trimmed, the smell and showcase that is the Confectionary still stands on the corner of Town Square, and Crystal Arts still sparkles in the sun of Main Street.

When hunger set-in in 1972 hot dogs could be found across from the ice cream parlor, the Crystal Palace and Town Square Cafe offered enjoyable meals, and, of course, there was the bakery. These days, the names and sponsors may have changed, including the addition of the Plaza Restaurant, but the hot dogs, ice cream, and baked goods can still be found where they have been for all these years.

Entertaining groups like the Keystone Kop Quartet and the Crystal Palace Trio may only live in faded photographs now, but the street of Main Street U.S.A. is still bustling with life and music. With the introduction of streetmosphere characters, the bands and quartets feel even more at home in this land.

Main Street U.S.A. has undergone cosmetic and substantive changes, but has still maintained its welcoming ambiance and spirit inherent to its lampposts, locomotives, services, and spaces.


Unknown said...

love main street

Gator Chris said...

Love the line drawing for each attraction.