The Disneyland Paris that never was: Part Two: Main Street U.S.A
This part two of the "Disneyland Paris that never was" articles series is all about Main Street U.S.A. It’s not very known, but at Disneyland Paris we were at two fingers to get a really different design for Main Street U.S.A. Instead to have a “turn of the century” theming, Eddie Sotto - show producer of the land - had designed a Main Street set up in the 20’s-30’s with of course a totally different look.
WDI Imagineers felt that a Main Street with the theme of Jazz Age America in the 1920's would be more appropriate than the Victorian Architecture that had come from Europe and would therefore be of less interest. Everyone in Europe was fascinated by stories of the Roaring '20s… jazz, Cinema and, of course, Gangsters. They headed a long way down that route and according to Eddie Sotto this version of Main Street would have include "lots of Art Deco, an America as represented by the Chicago and New York seen in the movies. "It seemed to us that this would have been more representative of America in European eyes, as opposed to the Main Street inspired by the small township of Marceline, Missouri. The way we looked at Gangsters, was more of the slapstick comedy "Keystone Kops" variety with fun instead of guns. Walt was able to make Piracy and cowboy outlaws fun, so we thought we could make a "Speakeasy" fun too, without the violence."
Eddie Sotto give us more details about this amazing Main Street concept that never was and all comments with each picture of this article are from Eddie himself, whom i thanks a lot for his very kind contribution:
"In this version inspired by the '20s, each shop reflected the personality of an immigrant to the United States. An elevated train ran along the facades on one side of the street. After reaching the station in front of Discoveryland, the land of visionaries, it came back to Central Plaza, in front of the Castle, passing in front of a Vernian diorama on the return trip.
The top rendering shows the elevated train just above the entrance from Market Street looking south, to the left would be the entrance to the theater that has a circle vision type screen or similar that would tell the history of Hollywood and early film. This circle-vision cinema was disguised as one of the grand classic cinemas of the time, but the concept went away very early in the process because the determination to build a studio as a second park would duplicate that experience. The elevated train as we see it , would also look into windows that depict a "City of the Future" as Victorians imagined it. This was to be a Discoveryland transition.The posters in the hallway of the Arcade are the last remnants of that idea.
This view above shows an overlay sketch of mine to show EL Train, which was more of a "Peoplemover" system with many cars. One of the purposes of the elevated train is to provide a way for people to watch the parade while being under shelter during the rain. The elevated train was to extend to the entrance of Discoveryland to allow guests to circulate without getting wet.
On Main Street, instead of Walt's - an American Restaurant, we put in a "Speakeasy', one of those clandestine bars that sprang up due to prohibition. The guest would enter a relatively innocent looking flower shop, but a minute later the walls would revolve to reveal a 'Cotton Club'-style jazz hotspot.
The sketch above was done by Herb Ryman. We wanted to do a diner that looked liked the famous Edward Hopper painting "Nighthawks". This is where Walt's restaurant is now. The "Speakeasy "is next door on Flower Street, see the orange awning. We kept the "signs on the roof idea"and forced perspective distant buildings for Main Street Motors.
Another sketch by Herb Ryman showing the Diner again and the beige awning is the Speakeasy. I loved this sketch.
Jump to the full article to read Eddie Sotto's description of this Main Street USA that never was and discover never seen before concept-arts! :
Disney and more: The Disneyland Paris that never was: Part Two: Main Street U.S.A