Welcome to the second installment of Dueling Disney. In our first column, we got a lot of good responses to our initial topic of RESORT SIZE. We asked to know how you felt, and you certainly told us! We got a lot of great comments, supporting both sides of the argument, and got a pretty good idea about which one wins.
We have also decided that due to the number of topics we believe can cover, while still maintaining a level of quality, that we are going to try to make this column a bi-weekly endeavor instead of monthly (thanks for the push folks).
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s move onto this week’s topic, and see who comes out victorious: Keith (representing Disneyland) or Jeff (representing Magic Kingdom). . .
Topic 2: MAIN STREET, U.S.A.
Jeff: I might have to pull a Keith, and concede to his win right off the bat on this one. However, there are some simply fabulous things about Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney World that I absolutely enjoy. For starters, the moment you pass under the railroad and onto Main Street, you immediately feel like you’re in another world. Magic Kingdom doesn’t waste any time with starting the show for you, and the old town square atmosphere hits you right off the bat. Now, granted, this “small town” may be a bit scaled up compared to most, but I do get a nice feeling of nostalgia from it.
Keith: KGFTW already? Nice!
Well, “Jeff.” It is “Jeff,” isn’t it? I like to think that our Main Street at Disneyland greets you with a dose of nostalgia as well. Whether it be from the turn of the 20th century architecture, the wonderful ambient music, or the ride vehicles that Disney Imagineering Legend Bob Gurr designed (and in most cases personally drove to Disneyland), we’ve got nostalgia covered. Oh, poor Jeff. You’re gonna lose big on this one, bud.
Jeff: I do have to say, yours definitely has a distinct advantage over mine. Disneyland was the original (OG, if you will), and truly shows its colors. But, allow me to step into the time machine of your choice for a moment (because it’s a time machine, and we can come back to this exact second, duh), and talk about Walt Disney World’s Main Street, circa the mid-1980s, to when I feel MY Main Street was at its heyday. Though they don’t exist anymore (well, one side does), West Center Street and East Center street (which ran across Main Street) created an extra ounce of authenticity to the world that was created. Here, you could shop at the Flower Market (which I have a very vivid recollection of, if only for that time when two singers whose names I can’t recall sang in it during a special on TV), wander the street, and hear the citizens of Main Street living their lives from the windows above. I know the tap and piano lessons can still be heard, but some of the other small stuff is now gone.
Keith: I see your Doctor Who and raise you a Doc Brown. My DeLorean takes me back to a resplendent Main Street bursting with both charisma and commerce. Need to visit one of the only banks in the country open on Sunday? Why, pop on over to the Bank of Main Street, where you can not only cash checks, but open an account. Care for a magic show? I recommend a visit to the Magic Shop, where a young Steve Martin will dazzle you with acts of sorcery and prestidigitation. In the market for a darling Brassiere? Hollywood-Maxwell’s Intimate Apparel shop (also known as the Wizard of Bras) has just what you’re looking for! Over the years Main Street in Disneyland has featured all sorts of timely and timeless merchants that have catered to a wide array of guest needs. And coming back to present day, you can enjoy a wonderful meal at the Carnation Cafe, peruse the fantastic pieces of art in the Disney Gallery, or take in a little show that Walt himself worked on called “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.” Oh, and Jeff? Our Main Street Cinema shows movies.
Jeff: Great Scott, you’re right! But then again, our cinema showed movies as well, up until a few years ago. Granted, it no longer does, but a lot of things we’re discussing now are no longer in existence. But still, the Main Streets of Yesterland do, without a doubt, beat out the Main Streets of today. I think we can both agree on that.
One of the things I dislike about both Main Street’s is that they have essentially become a shopping mecca. The stores have taken over, and every square inch is for your shopping needs. Now, granted, both try to readjust their theme so it makes sense, but some of the small town charm we just spoke of is no longer evident in some places.
Keith: We do agree on that. Back in the day, store windows on Main Street in Disneyland were actual set dressings. They were not wall to wall displays of whichever “merch” was being pushed at the time. However, as stated above, we do have some free pleasures to enjoy. In addition to everything listed, you can also visit the very spot in which Walt Disney dedicated the opening of the park that started it all.
Jeff: Either way, even without some of the original stuff, I still enjoy my version of Main Street. We still have the windows dedicated to some of the greatest Imagineers (and yes, I know they are not the originals), some great streetmosphere characters, and a little bit of charm left. Even though I said earlier that I’d concede to you, I take it back…I only kind of concede.
Keith: Haha, fair enough. I was saving my trump card for the end anyway, which will basically crush any points you may have mentioned thus far, up to and including your partial conceding. Let me tell you a little bit about Walt Disney’s private apartment. Residing above the Main Street Fire Department, Walt’s little hideaway was beautifully decorated in the Victorian style by Disney’s Academy Award-winning set decorator Emile Kuri. Some of Kuri’s career highlights include winning an Oscar for 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, and supervising the decoration of Disney’s groundbreaking exhibits for the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. Now, the apartment wasn’t just a place for Walt to retreat to for a breather during a hot Disneyland afternoon. He spent many nights there, often interacting with overnight workers, or treating the morning crew to fresh coffee on Main Street. So between the Disney Gallery, Main Street Cinema, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and Walt Disney’s private apartment, I’m afraid I am going to have to declare myself the overwhelming winner of this round, Jeff!
How about you good folks? Think Keith is right? Or was Jeff right to only partially concede, and Florida’s Main Street actually surpasses California’s? We’ll let you be the judge of this debate. Let us know what you think below!
Dueling Disney is written by Jeff Heimbuch & Keith Gluck