Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Walt Disney World, Main Street, May 1972

Let's return to Florida and the Magic Kingdom!

Today we're going no further than Main Street; but what a Main Street! Florida's version is considerably larger and more ornate than Disneyland's version; the effect is much more of a movie-set fantasy. Which is not a bad thing, just different from Anaheim's relatively cozy street. The architecture reminds me (just a little) of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair's "White City"; Walt's father Elias was one of countless workers who helped to build the Chicago fair, for whatever that's worth.

Towering Cinderella Castle is quite a sight too. I'm guessing that the cooler, bluer colors were used intentionally to help force the illusion of atmospheric perspective (we've all seen how the atmosphere tends to drain distant objects - mountains for instance - of their local color and infuse more of the sky's color); this helps to make it feel even more distant (and thus larger) than it already is!

Now we're down on the street looking back toward the very grand Main Street Station. Again, the large scale can't help but impress. As in Disneyland, I wonder how much of those upstairs spaces are used for storage or offices. Meanwhile, Florida always has the best skies.


TokyoMagic! said...

I would love to be able to step into these pics and see WDW in it's first year of operation!

Bryce said...

Living in Los Angeles, I'm used to Disneyland's toy scale Main Street. So when I get to enter Walt Disney World's Main Street after dark, I feel like a little kid again!

Chiana_Chat said...

Personally I prefer So Cal skies: lower humidity and not raining at 3:00 every day!

Making it Cinderella's castle was interesting. The design in the movie is pure awesome fancy and no way can any real structure replicate it. It was the older film too, 21 yrs old by WDW's opening whereas DL's castle was after a film that wouldn't be released for years yet! Walt's tendency to look forward there.

Thank goodness Walt didn't go for the next movie castle - The Sword In the Stone! Come the 90s Merlin's teetering tower would have been left to fall on somebody while Pressler cashed his bonus...

But anyway Sword in the Stone was also the newest movie castle to WDW. The next was Robin Hood, so shoddy a design I can't remember if it had one... Sleeping Beauty was still considered a disappointment when WDW was made... so, Cinderella's it was! That meant Vertical, which they did take to a remarkable degree. WDW's castle also has neat mosaic walls in the tunnel and a neat restaurant.

Yep the WDW Main St is grand as opposed to quaint but either way works for me. :)

Chuck said...

Look at all of the flags! I count nine in the first photo. If you add the two in the second photo that you can't see in the first (the one on top of the train station and the one on the "official" flagpole in the center of Town Square), that's a total of eleven. Anybody know what country Main Street's supposed to be set in?

And look at all the...um...excess capacity! Granted, it's May or earlier in the spring of the first year of operation, but I've visited in the off-season as early as 1979 and never remember it being quite this uncrowded. That says a lot about how the company was looking at the future and learning from experience at Disneyland.

Chiana - there WAS a castle in Robin Hood. It burned down. Probably best they went with the Cinderella design.

TokyoMagic! said...

I just noticed a bare light bulb in that first pic....the lamppost on the left is missing one of it's white globes. Chuck, funny...I didn't notice the flags. Gee, there are a lot of them! I did notice that it wasn't very crowded....and that most of the people seem to be staying up on the sidewalk like in early Disneyland shots. Chiana, I almost made a Pressler comment in regards to the Main St. Cinema (visible in that second pic) which is now a merchandise store, but I wasn't sure if he was responsible for crap like that taking place in Orlando or if he is only responsible for ruining Anaheim.

JG said...

It seems that a fair amount of the WDW designs were attempts to revise or improve things that were felt to be inadequate about Disneyland.

I've never been to WDW, I think it would be interesting to compare, especially with DCA, which seems so flat by comparison.

I sort of feel that WDW would be in-between, not as good as Disneyland, but better than DCA. Any thoughts?

From the comments over the past few days, it sounds like a number of the initial WDW amenities, like the paddle steamboats and submarines, were abandoned, and that's too bad.

I get an impression of an overwhelming amount of "space", everything bigger and further apart. That might be good, but I suspect that it isn't.


Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, it's those early years that interest me the most - just like Disneyland. I wonder what the deal is with that missing light globe?

Bryce, I'm hoping I can experience that for myself someday.

Chiana, even though Disneyland has Sleeping Beauty's castle, it doesn't look anything like the castle from that film - as you know! Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood are two movies I've never cared for... both are such disappointments.

Chuck, it IS a lot of flags. For one thing, flags add a bit of color and movement, which they took advantage of in early Tomorrowland (Disneyland) as well. And imagine going to a brand new Magic Kingdom, not having to deal with big crowds. The best!

JG, I try not to get into the whole "Disneyland vs. WDW" debate... a lot of it comes down to which version a person grew up with. I love Disneyland, because it's MY park! But I know folks from Florida come to Anaheim and think it is tiny and disappointing.

Katella Gate said...

Major: Again, many thanks for these general shots of WDW. I've never been there but these overall views really help me picture the size and detail levels of the other park.

BTW, I do have relatives that have been to both parks, and they actually prefer Disneyland, only because everything's so close and convenient. When you go to Florida, be prepared to walk.

stu29573 said...

Actually the large number of flags serve a very important purpose...lightning rods! In a place where in the summer you get a major thunderstorm every afternoon for 30 minutes, they are a must!

Chiana_Chat said...

That's true, stu!

I actually like Florida as a rule. Coming from CA it takes time to get used to the humidity and the idea that the hotter it gets, the more likely it will rain. We get more rain in winter. Both cities have the same damn gang problems that's been growing for decades now one can meet if you're unlucky.

WDW's great. That's a good crowd. The size of the place is giving it some more space but it too did and does get really busy often enough. Every time I've been there, noooo lack of people.

JG, WDW probably has a lot more to offer now on the whole, but there has also been some needless erosions due to greed and/or regressions or lack of progress due to a lack of vision. The parks are still great on the whole, I love World Showcase at EPCOT, there are fantastic restaurants, water parks and hotels.

Chuck said...

I agree with the Major...a flat-out, which-one-is-better-than-the-other evaluation of Disneyland and WDW's Magic Kingdom is a losing proposition. It's not like comparing apples to oranges - it's more like comparing golden delicious to granny smiths.

Each Park has its strong points and weak points, and the environment in which each sits is different, which necessarily dictates a different Guest experience. Some folks prefer one over the other, and some like both.

In a perfect world of my own making (an oxymoronic concept, to be sure), there would be elements of multiple Parks in the ultimate Euro-Tokyo Walt Disneyland World Paris Hong Kong Sea Berry Farm World's Fair Studios Safari. There'd be keelboats, unique merchandise, a store devoted entirely to View-Masters, and lots and lots of ear-shaped baloons. Everyone would smile and be nice to each other and I'd have a pony.

Nancy said...

Main Street USA....what can you say? i have some gorgeous pictures of these lovely colorful storefronts.

having been lucky enough to go to both parks, i agree you really cant compare them.

i knew that Disneyland was smaller than Magic Kingdom at WDW before i went there for the first time, and i love the intimacy of Disneyland compared to the spaciousness we have in Florida. i agree with Chiana too about the humidity. it was luxury to be at Disneyland and hear from a Fantasyland vendor where we bought some water that it was 102 degrees and we didnt even realize it.

on our second trip to DL, we had the June gloom sooo bad it was almost depressing. again, if making a choice i would rather have the bright sunny skys of Florida even if its humid and rains every afternoon.

i dont like either Kingdom better than the other because they are simply different versions of my favorite place :)

JG, DCA reminds me much of EPCOT Center, which is lots of cement and a rather large park with lots of walking to be done, but its still my favorite part of WDW if I had to pick just one.

thanks for the visit home, David!

steve2wdw said...

I love the lone yellow skyway bucket to the left of the castle in the first picture. While I miss them, I admit that the park looks better without them.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I want you to build your park! Come on, how hard can it be?

Nancy, I am always interested when I hear folks say that Epcot is their favorite park. I've never been, and the early years looked pretty neat... but it sure sounds like a lot of the great stuff from those days has disappeared ("Horizons" for instance).

steve2wdw, do you really think that the park looks better without the Skyway? I've heard people say that about Disneyland's Skyway as well, and I disagree! I miss the movement of the buckets, back and forth, as well as the color... all part of the "World on the move". You're not wrong, I just have a different opinion!

Nancy said...

oh you said the magic word.... Horizons is the one that i pine for. sooo lucky that i got to ride it as many times as i did. stupid Mission Space; the only reason i go into the gift shop is that there is a Horizons icon in there to "commemorate" that awesome ride, the one that truly showed Mr. Disney's vision of living in the future. :) thank heaven for you tube lol!!