First-time visitors to the Magic Kingdom are looking forward to experiencing the sights and sounds in the five lands that comprise the park. In reality, there are 6 lands that comprise Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. They are Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Main Street, U.S.A. Yes; Main Street is considered its own land.
The Mature MouseTM likes to think of Main Street, U.S.A. as Yesterday-land. Like it’s counterpart in Disneyland, Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom depicts Walt Disney’s vision of the quintessential American town, circa 1890-1920. However, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A. does differ in architecture from Disneyland’s.
Most guests do not stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. examining the number of Victorian-styled buildings, reminiscent of a developing east-coast town. The Imagineers applied forced perspective to create a sense of scale to the buildings. Reducing the scale of the second and third levels creates an optical illusion, so the buildings appear to be larger, grander. Imagineers apply this optical illusion throughout the Disney Parks, not just on Main Street, U.S.A.
The next time you are in Magic Kingdom, stand in Town Square, directly in front of the Walt Disney World Railroad and look down Main Street at Cinderella’s Castle. The use of forced perspective creates the illusion that the street is longer and the buildings are taller than they are in actuality.
Just the opposite happens when you look down Main Street from the Hub in front of the castle. The Walt Disney World Railroad was not built using forced perspective. This sets up the illusion that Main Street is shorter during your exit from the park. Why did the Imagineers design the architecture of Main Street in this way? Well, think about it. You enter the park excited to be there and full of enthusiasm. However, even after the best of days in Magic Kingdom, most of us are tired and eager to exit the park.
During your next visit to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom remember that Main Street is a land unto itself. Take some time to appreciate all the nuances created by the Imagineers, while taking a trip back to an American town of yesterday.
For more information about Main Street in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, The Mature MouseTM recommends listening to Lou Mongello’s recent podcast 10 Secrets You Never Knew About Main Street, U.S.A. If you have not previously had the opportunity to hear the WDW Radio podcasts, Lou never sticks to just 10.
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