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Disneyland Article
Every Town USA
Cal Jones
The final stop on my lovely tour of Disneyland, at least until "Star Wars Land" is completed, is the entrance to the entire park.

Said to be inspired by Walt's hometown of Marceline, Missouri, "Main Street, U.S.A" is designed to look like the idealized center of a town at around 1910. One of the designers, Harper Goff, showed Walt some pictures of his childhood home in Colorado and Walt liked the look. Many of the town's features were incorporated into Main Street.

The park opens to Main Street with the "Disneyland Railroad Train Station" on top of it. At the other end is "Sleeping Beauty Castle." Just past the Train Station is Town Square, home to City Hall, where one can pick up one of a number of free buttons available. Farther along the road are fake businesses with names for Imagineers and others who contributed to the creation of the park. Most of them appear in the name with whatever their subject of interest is. For the park's Golden Celebration, a first floor window was dedicated to all of the Cast Members who had worked for Disney over the years.

Walt Disney's personal apartment is on top of the Firehouse in Town Square. It is completely off limits to the public and a lamp is kept burning in the front window as a tribute to Walt's hardworking spirit. During Christmas, the lamp is replaced by a small Christmas tree. The apartment is heavily decorated for Christmas and Halloween.

The Town Square becomes home to a sixty foot Christmas tree and a sixteen foot jack-o-lantern, with ears, for the respective holidays. On the other end, the Central Plaza in front of the Castle, is the famous "Partners" statue of Walt and Mickey, unveiled in 1993. This past year or so, the image was turned into a pin and I have one. The statue is surrounded by several, smaller statues of other characters. All are done in bronze. During Halloween, the larger statue is surrounded by pumpkins depicting a character for each of the park's Lands, excepting Main Street. The "Opera House" in Town Square is the oldest building in the entire park. Until 1961, it served as the park's lumber mill.

Currently, the Opera House is home to "The Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln." The original show, sans "Disneyland Story," started off as an attraction for the 1964 World's Fair. Walt had been wanting to pay tribute to all of the presidents, but the technology of the time didn't permit the scale he wanted. Imagineers were able to create a prototype Audio-Animatronic of Lincoln that Walt greatly liked.

After Robo-Lincoln's six month run at the fair, he came to Disneyland, running until 1973. It was then replaced by "the Walt Disney Story." Folks weren't too happy about that, and in 1975, a combination of the two premeired. From 2005 to 2009, it became "Disneyland: the First Magical Years," a film narrated by the wonderful Steven Martin. After that, it went back to an updated version of the hybrid show, with "First Magical Years" playing in the lobby.

The rather small Cinema plays various shorts on six screens with recorded musical accompaniment. Five of the six screens are played without sound and shorts get changed from time to time. The one screen that stays and has sound is "Steamboat Willie," although it's been edited for objectionable content. For the 55th anniversary of the park, opening day footage was shown.

There are several Vehicles that travel up and down Main Street during the day. All them are modeled to accurately reflect turn of the century vehicles. "Horse-Drawn Streetcars" go along a tramway 3 feet wide; a double-decker called the "Omnibus," "Horseless Carriages," and a fire engine are all free driven. The Streetcars are occasionally commandeered by the Dapper Dans and the Fire Engine is used quite a bit in parades. All of the Horseless Carriages are two-cylinder, four-horsepower engines and everything is manual.

Main Street is mostly used for parades. I've been able to be a part of a few in my time with my high school marching band. Arguably, the most famous one is the "Main Street Electrical Parade," which has returned, however briefly after a twenty-one year absence. For the park's Diamond Celebration, it was "Paint the Night," a more electronic-pop version of it. Through the park's history, there have been at least fourteen parades.

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