Main Street USA is the first step into the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Florida. All Disney theme parks have the concept of Main Street USA at the very beginning a park, although often times not called the same name. It creates the walkway to the main featured castle and all other lands within the park. However, a lot of people bustle through Main Street quickly, to get to their favourite attraction elsewhere. But, if you take a moment, Main Street USA is just as magical as any other land within a park.
The design and layout of Main Street is actually the very first thing people miss. Upon entering the park, Main Street is a movie theatre. You purchase and enter with your ticket (also known as your magicband), you when travel through the east or west entrance. Notice how there are posters framed throughout these walkways, the show the various attractions and lands in Magic Kingdom. The artwork used to advertise them mimics that of the 'movie previews', and what you can look forward to seeing. Once through the entrance ways, you'll notice popcorn carts directly as you step foot into the park. This is to boost the smell of popcorn - mainly to make you hungry, (but also to remind you of a movie theatre. Arguably the 'main show' within the movie theatre design, you would think would be Cinderella's castle. However the town square could also be considered the 'main show' of Main Street at times - as there are different shows and character meet and greets within this area, not to mention the parades that happen daily in Magic Kingdom. I like to think that it's up to you whatever you think the 'main show' is, but I don't know a definite answer. One thing I do know, and it is a well known fact, is that the names of some imagineers and important cast members can be found written on the windows of the Main Street buildings. Whilst it is a very endearing touch, it is also the 'credits' of our movie theatre layout.
Character Meet and Greets
There are multiple different character meet and greet opportunities right as you walk into the park. On the right hand side of main street, you can find the Exposition Hall, where inside you can meet the mouse himself. The main theme of this meet and greet is magic, and Mickey Mouse is dressed as a wondrous magician - he may even show you a trick! (For 2019 until late fall, this meet and greet spot also contains Minnie Mouse, both dressed in their 90th birthday attire). You can also meet Tinkerbell and friends in Pixie Hollow. Whilst I am not really a fan of the Tinkerbell movies, the design and magic of Pixie Hollow is worth a visit in itself.
At town square, you can often see other characters doing meet and greets throughout the day, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Chip and Dale and Stitch. (For 2019, Minnie has moved to exposition hall, and Pluto has now moved to Pete's silly sideshow. For the remainder, the long lost friends meet and greet is available. Characters include Nick and Judy from Zootpoia, Phineas and Ferb, Remy and Emile from Ratatouille and others. It will vary what pair is available to meet each day).
Now personally, I have some guidance on how best to navigate Main Street USA. The layout of the Main Street walkway has merchandise and souvenir shops on the left and food and candy shops on the right. The idea is to encourage guests to buy a snack as they enter the park, so they typically will travel into the park to the right side - and on their way home, they want a souvenir or present to remember the trip, so they will travel out of the park to the left side. The key is to be the opposite. Although that sounds like you'll be walking into people, you really wont - travelling through the shops to get to the attractions is much easier than you think. And by the time you're ready to go, most of the candy shops are empty - because little kids are asleep (so don't give them any sugar!)
If you're entering the park around the times of parades, I would also use the shops to navigate and avoid the pavements. They'll be filled with strollers and parents keeping good spaces for their children to see the show. Cast members are also usually hauling large carts of merchandise (so watch your ankles), and if the ropes are up then absolutely use the shops and candy stores! (I'll add more about Parade spots and navigation in a future blog)
I hope you have all enjoyed some secrets and tips about Main Street USA. I have so many more to share and they'll be coming soon! Thank you for reading!