Breaking up our Disneyland Paris experience into 8 parts, we’ll start with the first of the “Lands” and the second part of this series; Disneyland Paris.
Today, we explore: Main Street, U.S.A.!!
(Link to previous entry can be found here, just click the link!)
|Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – Disneyland Paris
Main Street, U.S.A.
Turn back the clock to 1900 and enjoy the boundless charm and hospitality of a small-town during 1900’s. Stroll past Victorian stores, take a horse-drawn streetcar and cool off at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour. Just like in the good old days when Walt Disney was a boy.
Main Street, U.S.A. is the first “themed land” inside the entrance of the many Magic Kingdom-style parks run by The Walt Disney Company around the world.
Each Main Street, U.S.A. has a train station above the entrance.
At Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle stands in the distance beyond the end of the street.
Main Street, U.S.A. is home to City Hall, in which the Guest Relations office is located.
Further along Main Street, the names painted in the windows on Main Street serve as credits for some of the many people, Imagineers and others, who contributed in some way to the creation of Disneyland.
Largely, they appear as fictional businesses like gyms, realtors, dentists and the like for starts, and they often refer to a hobby or interest that the person in question had. Ub Iwerks’s window, for example, refers to his prowess with cameras.
For Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, on July 17, 2005, a first-story window on each Main Street was unveiled with a dedication to all the cast members – employees of Disney who had worked for Disney throughout the years.
This street is themed slightly differently from the others; the decor is more 1920s than turn-of-the-century, though the buildings are almost identical to those in Florida, with influences from the flapper and ragtime eras and an emphasis on baseball culture and the rise of the automobile.
|Disneyland Paris City Hall
Instead of horse-drawn trolleys and Victorian vehicles, plans originally featured trams to fit with the 1920s theme, but were scrapped in the last minute.
Also, due to often cold, rainy weather in the area, the Imagineers compromised and offered covered walkways on either side of Main Street called “arcades”.
There is the “Discovery Arcade” on the side closest to Discoveryland, and the “Liberty Arcade” on the side closest to Frontierland. These provide access to all of the shops along the length of Main Street, while giving shelter from the weather.
They also provide a passageway when the street is crowded during parades and fireworks.
Attractions and Entertainment in Main Street U.S.A.
|Main street U.S.A. – Paris Disneyland
- Disneyland Railroad – Main Street Station
- Horse-Drawn Streetcars
- Main Street Vehicles
- Liberty Arcade
- Discovery Arcade
The Disneyland Railroad (or DLRR for short), originally the Euro Disneyland Railroad (EDRR), is a narrow gauge railroad at Disneyland Paris at the Disneyland Resort Paris in France.
It opened together with the park on April 12, 1992. Guests use it as a transportation to other areas of the park or simply for the experience of the “Grand Circle Tour”.
There are 4 differently Themed Trains:
George Washington – Its colors are blue, white and red (representing both France and the United States). Its cars’s names are references to places where Washington achieved famous events: Mt. Vernon, Boston, Philadelphia, Yorktown and Valley Forge. The train is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States.
C.K. Holliday – Its name is a reference to the man who built Santa Fe railway. Since this train is a vacation train from the 19th century, its cars are named after vacation places: Coney Island, Atlantic City, Chesepeake, Long Island and Niagara Falls.
The Anaheim version of the railroad has a locomotive also called “C.K. Holliday”, but it is No. 1.
W.F. Cody – “Cody” is Buffalo Bill’s real name. The cars are named after Western cities: Silverton, Durango, Denver, Wichita and Cheyenne.
Eureka – It is named after the word Californian miners supposedly yelled (meaning, “I’ve found it”) when they discovered gold in 1849. Therefore, the cars are named after Californian cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego and Sacramento.
Main Street Station is seen upon entering the park. From there, guests can start their journey around the park, with a recorded narration commenting on visited landscapes and attractions.
Trains first cross a diorama recreation of the Grand Canyon, complete with wild animals and storm effects. Travelling behind the Rivers of the Far West, they first stop in Frontierland Depot.
Once they departure Frontierland, trains travel through Adventureland, allowing guests to discover the Temple of Peril and witnessing the inside of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Guests will now arrive at the Fantasyland Station, located at the British part of Fantasyland (which also includes Peter Pan’s Flight and Alice’s Curious Labyrinth), guests are given a whole view of the land, and then trains even venture through the facade of It’s a Small World.
Finally, trains stop above Star Tours and Captain EO, in the Discoveryland Station. The journey comes to an end once guests return to the Main Street Station.
Animal lovers will enjoy a leisurely ride down Main Street in a turn-of-the-century streetcar pulled by magnificent Percheron horses.
Fun for families and little ones, even the youngest guests under the age of five will enjoy these attractions.
Main Street Vehicles
Main Street Vehicles are attractions at several Disney Parks. All vehicles that are found on Main Street were designed to accurately reflect turn-of-the-century vehicles, including a double-decker bus, a horse-drawn streetcar, a fire engine, and an automobile.
They are available for one-way rides along Main Street, U.S.A. The horseless carriages are modeled after cars built in 1903. They are two-cylinder, four-horsepower (3 kW) engines with manual transmission and steering. Walt Disney used to drive the fire engine around the park before it opened, on most mornings. It has also been used to host celebrity guests and used in the parades.
Liberty Arcade & Discovery Arcade
|Liberty Arcade & Discovery Arcade on the outside
Liberty Arcade & Discovery Arcades are covered walk-through attractions at Disneyland Paris in France. The Liberty Arcade’s attraction is an exhibition about the Statue of Liberty, and a walkway parallel to the main entrance.
The Discovery Arcade’s attraction is an exhibition about inventors of the 19th century. They opened together with the park on April 12, 1992. The attractions also keeps guests dry and warm and it’s main purpose is to provide shelter during cold and rain.
Original Concept and Design
When Imagineers were working on the creation of the European Disney Resort, they had to envision a Main Street that would cope with the changing climate of the region of Paris.
Although a huge Victorian-style glass roof covering the street was built in Tokyo Disneyland in Japan – World Bazaar, the decision was made to build two covered walkways parallel to Main Street instead.
In the very early days of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney had imagined two streets adjacent to Main Street, respectively named Liberty Street – “themed to American values and history” and Edison Square – “themed to this inventor’s achievements”.
Although they were never made reality, these ideas became inspiration for both Arcades in Disneyland Paris. As such, Imagineers came up with Liberty Arcade, themed to the lasting friendship between France and the United States and embodied by Lady of Liberty, and Discovery Arcade, themed to the inventions of the 19th century.
|Main Street U.S.A.
The Arcade is a long walkway, from Town Square to Central Plaza, taking people behind Main Street shops and restaurants. It is divided into three parts:
The first is an exhibition presenting the making of the Statue of Liberty by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel. Showcase windows, paintings and rare items are displayed.
The second part, known as the Liberty Court, is the central part of the Arcade. This rotunda, ornamented with American and French flags and Victorian paintings promoting the Statue’s dedication ceremony, is accompanied by a dark room.
In this dark room, guests can behold, through a glass window, a recreation of the inauguration of Lady Liberty, complete with wax figures commenting on the event and the recording of U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s speech.
The third one resembles the first one, but deals with the Statue becoming a World symbol. Showcase windows present Ellis Island, or the re-dedication of the Statue in 1986.
|The Arcades in Main Street U.S.A. Disneyland Paris, beautifully lighted up at night!
The Discovery Arcade is a long walkway, from Town Square to Edison Avenue, which also gets behind Main Street shops and restaurants.
It features many showcase windows, each one displaying models and sketches from the U.S. Patent Office. These models were originally made in the 19th century.
The Discovery Arcade also presents a series of posters representing American cities of the late 20th Century, as they were envisioned a century ago.
(Links to previous entries on our Europe journey can be found here, click the links below!)
Coming next up will be: Frontierland!
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