Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Walt Disney World at Night - Barber Shop and City Hall

Let's continue with some nice nighttime photos from the Magic Kingdom, from November 1971! 

I love that Florida's Main Street U.S.A. has a working barber shop - a feature that was never at Disneyland (which, in retrospect, surprises me). My theory is that the heat and humidity in Orlando causes hair to grow quickly and luxuriously, so a tonsorial parlor is a necessity. An old-fashioned barber pole is prominently displayed, so you can probably have a nice bloodletting to drain off the bad humours. Bring a friend!

There's a fella getting his ears lowered. I am amazed to learn that you can still get your hair cut at the Harmony Barber Shop today. "How would you like your hair cut, sir?". "Surprise me, George". Can you have your own personal shaving mug at the ready (as seen to the left)? Or are those just for display purposes?

I've been through more than a few small midwestern towns, and some of them bear a passing resemblance to Main Street U.S.A. Not many of them have a city hall as fancy as the one at Walt Disney World, however. It is what my grandpa would have called "A lulu". Like Hemingway, Gramps had a way with words.

Stay tuned for more night shots of the Magic Kingdom.


Nanook said...

Yes, George, a Flat Top for me, and a "Regular Boys Haircut" for the lad.

Major - any early shots from WDW are great, but these nighttime images are very special - especially when they look this good.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, somehow I've managed to miss that barber shop during my WDW visits. Does anyone know exactly where on Main St. this is located?

TokyoMagic! said...

Now I'm noticing a large vase of red flowers in the bottom left hand corner of the pic and possibly some blue ones to the left of them. I'm wondering if the outdoor Flower Market could have been located next door to the barber shop? Or maybe the barber shop opened up onto Center St.?

Leonard Bast said...

The barber shop did open up onto West Center Street and the flower market. When that was all destroyed in a horrific emporium expansion accident, the barber shop moved to town square, where it is now located immediately to the west of the Emporium near the "car barn."

Pegleg Pete said...

I hadn't realised that WDW had a working barbers. Disneyland Paris' Main Street also has one called Dapper Dan's. The place looks fantastic, though I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually getting their hair cut there. Then again, I suspect I've only ever seen it late in the evening when doing my pre-exit shopping. It does still seem to be in operation according to park information. At the Paris park it's off the west centre street (Flower Street) towards the arcade which runs along the rear of that side of Main Street.

Melissa said...

Leonard Bast is correct; the Barbershop was moved during the Emorium expansion and is currently hidden, er, tucked away in the oubliette, er, I mean corner between the Emporium and the barn next to the Fire House where vehicles go after the parade. Unless you have sharp eyes, you kind of have to know it’s there to find it. Luckily, a lot of WDW tourists are planner-aheaders and they do a good business for things like Baby’s First Haircut. Sometimes the Dapper Dans come in and serenade you while you’re getting your locks trimmed.
In 2011, we were there on my sister’s birthday and she needed her hair trimmed. Instead of leaving the park and going to a ladies’ salon at one of the resorts, she asked if they’d do it there and they were happy to. The barbers and the lady at the register were all dressed up 1890’s-style and were super-friendly. The other patrons were an older gentleman from England whose wife had talked him into getting his beard trimmed, and a toddler getting the Baby’s First Haircut, which involved colored hair gel and some kind of souvenir toy. I waited with the English lady on an old-fashioned leather bench. They saw my sister’s birthday button and offered to put “pixie dust” in her hair. It turned out to be glittery confetti held in place with hair spray. She asked if I could have it, too, and offered to pay, but they said they’d do it for free, so I got in the chair. Here are two blurry pictures of the current location:

Entrance with waiting patrons
Barn doors and pixie dust

K. Martinez said...

Great photos showing a peak into Main Street's Barbershop.

As for not seeing the fancy city halls in small Midwestern towns like this one at WDW, Disneyland's Main Street has a Midwestern influence, while Walt Disney World's Main Street is influenced by the ornate architecture of the "Eastern Seaboard Victorian" style.

This is some amazing night time photography for this era. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I always pictured you as more of a “Franciscan monk” hairdo kind of guy!

TokyoMagic!, you have been subconsciously avoiding getting a haircut, you hippie!

TokyoMagic! again, I have no idea… I’d need to look at an old map to see where the barber shop is (was?).

Leonard Bast, thanks as always for the WDW info. I love your description of the “horrific emporium expansion accident”; if only it WAS an accident, but it was done on purpose.

Pegleg Pete, lucky you, going to Disneyland Paris and all. I don’t know too many people who have been there.

Melissa, I suppose if you are a big Disney fan, it would be kind of fun to have the baby get the first haircut there. Camera time! The Dapper Dans should serenade me at all times. Even in the restroom. Colored hair gel, was that kid in A Flock of Seagulls?! I love your story of you and your sister getting pixie dust in your hair. Thanks for the attached photos. With “Frozen” being so popular, they can just spray canned Christmas tree “snow” instead of sparkly confetti. Yes, I am a genius.

K. Martinez, I wonder what towns were in mind when they were thinking “Eastern Seaboard Victorian”? It’s hard to say of course, since so many Victorian-age buildings were torn down post-WWII. Even Los Angeles had some funky elaborate old government buildings that look like Victorian castles. It seems like a lot of the WDW Main Street looks (to me) like the Anaheim version on steroids, while some of it really does seem to harken back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Chuck said...

Getting my hair cut at the Main Street Barber Shop at its original location on the south side of W. Center is a wonderful memory. Glad to hear (and see - thanks, Melissa!) it's still a going concern even after the "expansion accident" Leonard Bast so aptly describes above.

The structure anchoring the west side of the Magic Kingdom's Town Square has always reminded me more of a Victorian Midwestern county courthouse than a city hall. My parents' Ohio hometown has contemporaneous examples of each, and while both buildings are beautiful examples of Victorian civic architecture, their relative sizes and ornateness clearly indicate where each government organization sits in the hierarchical structure.

Melissa said...

WDW's Main St. always reminded me a little bit of the New England town in Disney's Pollyanna, and also a bit of historic Saratoga Springs, NY.

K. Martinez said...

Major, It think it's the lacy gingerbread architecture reminiscence of eastern seashore resorts (perhaps Cape Cod) of that era. Ultimately it's a mix of many eras and locales, but still very different in style and feel from Disneyland's Main Street.

Here's a link to a really nice and extensive photo pictorial of WDW's Main Street architecture.

Chuck said...

Melissa - you probably already know this, but the MK's Main Street depot was based on Saratoga Springs' 1871 depot:

(Thanks, Steve Degaetano, for both images!)

Here's a blueprint of WDW's Main Street depot for comparison:

And some great discussion on some of the challenges of modeling either Main Street station can be found here:

Melissa said...

Thanks, Ken and Chuck, for the sweet, sweet eye candy! I didn't know about the Saratoga Springs train station connection, but you can really see it, can't you?

Melissa said...

I've spent the last hour or so looking at more old pictures of Saratoga Springs, and I'm convinced. The real Grand Union Hotel is eerily like the old Gulf hospitality House before it was converted to the main Street Theater, and I've never seen a City Hall closer to the WDW City Hall than the old Saratoga Springs City Hall.

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, Thanks for the image links. It's nice to view the inspiration for the Main Street Station. Very cool!

Melissa, On Lou Mongello's WDW Audio Tours it mentions the Exposition Hall/Gulf Hospitality House/Main Street Theater was the only building on Main Street built to full scale blocking the view of the Contemporary Resort's modern A-frame from visually intruding on turn of the century Main Street.

And at the other end of Main Street, the Crystal Place Restaurant on the Plaza Hub was primarily inspired by the West coast's San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.

TokyoMagic! said...

Leonard B., thanks for the information! Melissa, thanks for the pics. Wow, on my last visit, I stood right there and took pics of the "storage barn" for the Main St. vehicles and never noticed the functioning barber shop. Now I have to go back and look at my photos! I've also been to DL Paris and did not notice their barber shop either. Maybe I need glasses!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I hope you opted for the pixie dust like Melissa and her sister! I think Main Street USA should reflect the Brutalist architecture of Stalin.

Melissa, Pollyanna is a movie I still need to see. Mostly for the car chases.

K. Martinez, it absolutely is a different feel from the Anaheim Main Street, no doubt about it. Though… some of the closeups in the photo essay you linked to could almost be Disneyland.

Chuck, if I ever knew about that photo of Saratoga Springs, I had forgotten it!

Melissa, yes, it is clearly almost the exact same design.

Melissa again, you might be right; I was similarly fascinated when I found out that Disneyland’s Main Street was largely inspired by Fort Collins, CO, rather than Marceliine, MO.

K. Martinez, it’s funny you should mention Lou Mongello; the only time I listened to his podcast is when he first visited Disneyland, and he couldn’t get over how much smaller it was compared to the Magic Kingdom. It got to the point where I had to bail on the show, but maybe I should give it another chance. I always assumed that the Crystal Palace was in some way inspired by the one from the 1851 Great Exhibition in England.

TokyoMagic!, there’s a whole lot of WDW knowledge here (not counting ME). I hope you don’t need glasses, because people with glasses are NERDS.

Dean Finder said...

I just got my hair cut this past February at the Harmony Barber Shop.
Though the old location was way more picturesque than the current one.

Amazingly, the prices are surprisingly reasonable, My haircut was less than $20, and so is kid's first haircut, which even comes with a souvenir set of mickey ears.

When they are charging hundreds for the princess makeovers, it's a refreshing reminder of when Disney World was a middle-class vacation.