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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tip Tuesday: The windows on Main Street USA

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

It's generally accepted that Walt Disney considered Disneyland (and, later, Walt Disney World), to be living stories -- stories that guests could actually walk into and interact with. That was the genesis for Disneyland.

The opening credits to this living movie are the numerous windows that line Main Street USA in each Magic Kingdom/Disneyland park around the world. Each window pays tribute to the contributions of those who worked so hard to make the park a reality. There are different windows in each park, though windows dedicated to some key individuals can be found in all parks.

I can't begin to count the number of guests who hastily rush down Main Street USA, trying to get to the next attraction and don't take a moment to appreciate the special tributes to the Imagineers who turned a dream into reality.

At Walt Disney World, the beginning to the opening credits has to begin with the man who started it all: Walt Disney. High up atop the Main Street Train Station is a window dedicated to Walt Disney. The window reads, "Railroad Office, Keeping Dreams on Track. Walter E. Disney, Chief Engineer." This window pays tribute not only to Walt Disney, but also to Walt's love of trains. That's why there is a railroad at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

As you pass underneath the train station, you will see windows all over the place along Main Street USA.

Each window gives a bit of a hint about what contribution that person made to the creation of the park. For instance, the window seen above is a tribute to Walt Disney's long time friend Ub Iwerks. Iwerks was instrumental in developing new technologies for many different facts of the Disney company.

Perhaps my most favorite "window" isn't really a window at all, but a door. It's the Casting Agency door, which was dedicated to the cast members at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I seek this door out every time I'm on Main Street. It's one way to give a brief nod to Walt himself and pay tribute to the man who started it all.

Of course, there are a LOT of windows at Disneyland (more than 60) and Walt Disney World (more than 85) to try to see. Discovering the backstory for each window can be an even greater task. Fortunately, Disney has a resource for you.

Disney and D23 recently published a small book with brief stories about a few windows on Main Street USA in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This book, "Windows on Main Street" can be found in many stories all over Disneyland and Walt Disney World and but scratches the surface on all the windows and tributes on Main Street.

The next time you start "walkin' right down the middle of Main Street USA," take a moment to look around and appreciate the tributes to the various Imagineers who used their own brand of pixie dust to make incredible magic a reality.

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