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A Grand Circle Tour of the Magic Kingdoms of the World: Part 1 - Walking Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA
DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:22:10 AM
Hello everyone,

I'm starting a new series here on the blog in which I aim to share my thoughts and experiences of the different lands of the Magic Kingdom style parks around the world. Think of it as the ultimate "grand circle tour of the Magic Kingdom", to coin a classic phrase!
Of course, there will be many, many photos, so be warned, this post might take a while to load!



We will start this tour at the beginning, on Main Street USA.

Entering the park always gives you a rush of magical energy and excitement, and each park has a slightly different entrance area.

At Disneyland in California, the turnstiles are on the main Esplanade and bring you to the front of Main Street Station (which can be clearly seen from the Esplanade). The Mickey flower bed welcomes you.

Disneyland Aug 09 - Taking the Monorail to Disneyland

At the Magic Kingdom in Florida, arriving at the turnstiles is an adventure in itself! You will have taken a monorail, ferry or a bus to the main entrance, with spectacular views over the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon. Once through the turnstiles you arrive at Main Street Station. As with Disneyland, the Mickey flower bed welcomes you.

Taking the boat to Fort Wilderness

Main Street Station as seen from the Monorail

At Disneyland Paris you have to pass through Fantasia Gardens and under the majestic Disneyland Hotel to the turnstiles underneath. The Victorian plaza is a marvel in itself and leads you out into an area in front of their own Main Street Station. There is no Mickey flower bed though - that’s back out in front of the Disneyland Hotel which you just passed!

DLP April 2012 - Heading back to Parc Disneyland

Heading into the park

DLP June 2011 - Wandering down Main Street USA

At Hong Kong Disneyland there is a wonderfully whimsical, musical fountain in an esplanade area that precedes the main entrance. The setup here is almost the same as California. Small turnstiles with a clear view of Main Street Station beyond. Once through, you are greeted by the Mickey flower bed.

A stroll along the Park Promenade

HKDL July 2011 - Heading into the Park!

Tokyo is quite a different experience to the other four parks. Either via monorail, bus or foot from other resort areas, you arrive on the vast concourse before the turnstiles. In front of the turnstiles is a monorail station, and the gigantic Disneyland Hotel. The turnstiles are wide and many in number. Beyond the turnstiles you see a large structure. What is it? It’s World Bazaar of course!
Passing through the turnstiles you find yourself at a Mickey flower bed and the large concrete and brick building that is World Bazaar, housing various stores and amenities.

Tokyo May 2014 - Heading to DisneySea

Tokyo May 2014 - Heading to DisneySea

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Heading to Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo May 2014 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Passing under the train station - in all but Tokyo’s Magic Kingdom - you find yourself in Town Square. City Hall on the left stands tall above the square, keeping watch on citizens below.

California's City Hall (below)

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Florida

WDW Sept 2012 - Halloween at the Magic Kingdom

Paris

Main Street USA

Hong Kong

HKDL July 2011 - Walking up Main Street USA

Around the square you’ll find benches, water fountains, popcorn carts and the like.

Cannons and carts in California (below)

Disneyland Jan 2013 - Christmas on Main Street USA

Ducks enjoy the flowers in Paris

DLP April 2014 - Ducks enjoying the springtime flowers

City Hall and the Firehouse in California

DDE May 2013 - Leaving Disneyland

Hong Kong

Taking a ride on the Omnibus

Paris' Town Square

Main Street USA

Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse in Florida

WDW April 2009 - Arriving at the Magic Kingdom in the Morning

At the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris you’ll find the horse-drawn streetcars taking guests on trips up and down Main Street. At those three parks plus Hong Kong Disneyland, you’ll also find a collection of vintage vehicles transporting people up and down the street, too.

The Limousine and Horse-Drawn Trolley in Florida

Main Street Transportation

The Omnibus and Horse-Drawn Trolley pass each other in California

Wandering down Main Street USA

The Limousine, the Horse-Drawn Streetcar and the Omnibus in Paris

Busy traffic day on Main Street

The Omnibus in Hong Kong

Wandering down Main Street USA

At Tokyo Disneyland, there is no Town Square, and the plaza area in front of the large building ahead of you contains Main Street House - their equivalent of City Hall - as well as a number of other guest services. There are no vehicles and no horses - not to mention no train station.

TDR Oct 2012 - Exploring World Bazaar

Town Square at Disneyland in California is also home to the Disneyland Story and Great Moments with Mr Lincoln attractions.

Disneyland Aug 2010 - Wandering down Main Street U.S.A before the crowds arrive

Exploring the exhibit at Great Moments with Mr Lincoln

Disneyland July 2012 - Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

At Hong Kong Disneyland, the same Opera House building houses the Art of Animation and Animation Academy. Tokyo Disneyland has an art class, too, but theirs is further up the street inside World Bazaar (which we’ll come to shortly).

DDE May 2013 - MonSTAR Tour at the Animation Academy

HKDL July 2011 - Walking around Town Square

Town Square in Disneyland also has a quaint firehouse. If you look above the entrance to the window, you will see a lamp glowing. This is the window of Walt Disney’s own apartment that he kept above Main Street, and is still maintained by Disney today. The lamp is a gesture to Walt, reminding everyone that he is always “home” and watching over his beloved Disneyland.

Wandering down Main Street USA

There are firehouses in Florida and Hong Kong too, but neither have the significance of the Californian one.

Florida's Engine Co. 71 Firehouse (below)

WDW Feb 2012 - Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Hong Kong's Fire House

HKDL Oct 2012 -

In Florida’s Magic Kingdom you can meet Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell in their permanent homes at Town Square Theater.

WDW Sept 2012 - Wandering through Town Square

Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their new home

Heading out of Town Square and up Main Street you find yourself on a bustling street filled with stores and eateries. The vehicles and horses go up and down, so watch where you’re walking!
Tokyo Disneyland doesn't have a Main Street, but instead you enter the structure under the arches and find yourself on what looks to be Main Street - except it’s under a large glass canopy! The buildings here aren’t quite as detailed as the other parks, but serve the same purpose. There are no vehicles or horses going up and down the street either.

California's quaint street (below)

Early morning calm

Florida's more tropical, Southern style

WDW Sept 2012 - Wandering up Main Street USA

WDW Sept 2012 - Wandering up Main Street USA

Paris' colourful architecture

DLP April 2012 - 20 Years of Magic

Hong Kong's Main Street

HKDL July 2011 - Exploring Main Street USA

World Bazaar's canopy covered street

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Entering Tokyo Disneyland Park in the morning

All the parks have an Emporium filled with all everything you need to take home with you. I really like the design of California's Emporium. It seems to really capture the essence of a small town emporium, with its different rooms and rich decor. Florida's I find too sprawling. It takes up the entire west side of the street and loses something with it. Hong Kong on the other hand is tiny, and probably could do with being a bit bigger! Paris has an amazing glass window featuring great American pioneers. Tokyo Grand Emporium is spacious but somewhat plain.

California's Disneyland Emporium (below)

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Disneyland Dec 2012 - Christmas on Main Street USA

Florida's large Emporium

WDW April 2009 - Walking down Main Street U.S.A.

Emporium

Paris' Emporium

DLRP Feb 2009 - The Emporium

DLP April 2012 -

Tokyo's spacious Grand Emporium

Tokyo May 2014 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Tokyo May 2014 - Checking out the Grand Emporium

Hong Kong's small Disneyland Emporium

Exploring Main Street USA

HKDL July 2011 - Exploring the Emporium

You’ll also find a candy store on each street which sell all sorts of amazing treats. My favourite candy store is the Boardwalk Candy Palace at Disneyland Paris, with its large mural on the back wall and pick 'n' mix selection. I also like the decor in California's store. In Paris, California and Florida's stores you can watch Cast Members creating some excellent sweet treats right there. Again, Hong Kong's is small, while Tokyo is again spacious and has an entire room dedicated to cash registers because it gets so busy there! 

California's Candy Palace (below)

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Wandering through Main Street USA

Florida's Main Street Confectionery

WDW April 2009 - Walking down Main Street U.S.A.

WDW Feb 2012 - Shopping on Main Street USA

Main Street USA

Paris's Boardwalk Candy Palace

DLP Feb 2013 - Wandering up Main Street USA

DLP Dec 2010 - Boardwalk Candy Palace

World Bazaar Confectionery with its wide, empty rooms and dedicated cash register hall

TDR Oct 2012 - Exploring World Bazaar

World Bazaar Confectionery

TDR Oct 2012 - Exploring World Bazaar

TDR Oct 2012 - Exploring World Bazaar

Hong Kong's Main Street Sweets

Wandering up Main Street USA

Exploring Main Street USA

All the parks feature their own variety of restaurants, too, including some table service locations, coffee houses and bakeries. The locations, names of all of these can vary by park. There are so many that offer so many different things, I'll just post a selection of my favourite pictures.

California (below)

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Wandering through Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Having Breakfast at the Jolly Holiday Bakery

Disneyland Dec 2012 - Lunch at Plaza Inn

Florida

WDW Sept 2012 - Wandering through Central Plaza

WDW Sept 2012 - Main Street Bakery

WDW Sept 2012 - Lunch at Tony's Town Square Restaurant

Paris

DLP June 2012 - Walking Up Main Street USA

DLP Dec 2011 - Eating at Walt's - an American Restaurant

DLP Feb 2011 - Eating Breakfast at the Cable Car Bake Shop

DLP Feb 2011 - Eating Breakfast at the Cable Car Bake Shop

DLP April 2012 - Wandering up Main Street USA

DLP April 2012 - Having Lunch at the Plaza Gardens Restaurant

DLP June 2011 - Wandering down Main Street USA

DLP April 2012 - Victoria's Home-Style Restaurant

Tokyo

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Tokyo May 2014 - Lunch at Eastside Cafe

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Tokyo May 2014 - Breakfast at the Great American Waffle Company

Breakfast at the Great American Waffle Co.

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Exploring World Bazaar

Hong Kong

HKDL Oct 2012 - Wandering through Main Street USA

DDE May 2013 - Lunch at Main Street Corner Cafe

HKDL Oct 2012 - Wandering up Main Street USA

HKDL April 2013 - Wandering up Main Street USA

At all the parks, except Hong Kong Disneyland, you will find an ice cream parlour and hot dog place at the end of the street, facing out towards Central Plaza. My favourite ice cream parlour is either Paris' or Florida's. They seem to capture the atmosphere better than the others. Tokyo's is very bland inside. As for the hot dog places, Casey's Corner at Disneyland Paris, I think, has the best detail and ambiance, while Tokyo's again is the plainest looking.

California's Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Refreshment Corner (below)

Wandering down Main Street USA

Wandering down Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Disneyland July 2012 - Wandering through Main Street USA

Florida's Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Casey's Corner Main Street USA

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

Heading down Main Street

WDW Oct 2011 - Casey's Corner

Casey's Corner

Paris' Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour and Casey's Corner

DLP June 2012 - Walking Up Main Street USA

DLP April 2012 - The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour

DLP June 2012 - Walking Up Main Street USA

DLP Dec 2013 - An early morning on Main Street USA

Casey's Corner

Tokyo's Refreshment Corner and Ice Cream Cones

TDR Oct 2012 - Exploring World Bazaar

Exploring World Bazaar

Tokyo May 2014 - Wandering through World Bazaar

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

At the Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland Paris you can also have your haircut at an authentic barber shop! Florida’s is in Town Square, and Paris’ is half way up Main Street on the left, on Flower Street.

Magic Kingdom's Barber Shop (below)

Heading up Main Street USA

Inside The Harmony Barber Shop

Paris' Dapper Dan's Hair Cuts

Heading up Main Street USA

DLP April 2012 - Dapper Dan's Hair Cuts

All the Main Street’s of the world feature cross streets half way up, which add depth to the busy turn of the century town. At Disneyland in California, the Magic Kingdom and Hong Kong Disneyland they ultimately run into dead ends though.

At Tokyo Disneyland the cross streets actually are longer and exit out into the adjacent lands of the park. Adventureland on the left, and Tomorrowland on the right.

At Disneyland Paris, the cross streets have entrances into something quite unique to the Parisian Kingdom. On the left side of Main Street you will find Liberty Arcade, and on the right side Discovery arcade. Accessible from Town Square, Central Plaza and most stores and restaurants' rears all along Main Street, these arcades serve as immensely detailed covered walkways that connect one end of the street to the other.
Liberty Arcade is themed for the Statue of Liberty, and tells the story of France’s gift of Lady Liberty to New York. Discovery Arcade has displays showcasing actual inventions and patents from the turn of the century, as well as some really neat posters of American cities in the future!

DLP Feb 2013 - Wandering down Main Street

DLP Halloween 2009 - Wandering through Discovery Arcade

DLP Halloween 2009 - Wandering through Discovery Arcade

Wandering down Main Street USA

DLP Feb 2013 - Wandering down Main Street USA

DLP June 2011 - Wandering down Main Street USA

It’s worth mentioning that Tokyo Disneyland also has a Penny Arcade with a large selection of machines where you can make souvenir pressed pennies. The designs vary practically monthly, and always have cool designs. Disneyland's Penny Arcade was sadly severely cut back and mostly replaced with a new store a couple of years ago, however they do have another unique attraction still on their Main Street that Florida lost - Main Street Cinema.

Tokyo's Penny Arcade (below)

Tokyo May 2014 - Wandering through World Bazaar

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through World Bazaar

Disneyland's Cinema

Disneyland July 2012 - Walking up Main Street USA

Main Street Cinema

Main Street Cinema

Once you’ve gotten through the myriad of stores and restaurants that line Main Street/World Bazaar, and walked to the end, you find yourself in the grand Central Plaza, looking towards the magical Castle.

California's Sleeping Beauty Castle (below)

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Florida's Cinderella Castle

DDE May 2013 - Walking up Main Street USA

Paris' Sleeping Beauty Castle

DLP April 2012 - 20 Years of Magic

Tokyo's Cinderella Castle

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Checking out the sites around the massive Central Plaza

Hong Kong's Sleeping Beauty Castle

HKDL April 2013 - Wandering up Main Street USA

Central Plaza is home to more popcorn stands, the vehicles stopping for their return service back down the street and the gateways to all the other magical realms of the park. Additionally, at all the parks you can find the central first aid on the right side of the plaza, and a park information board with various wait times and show times for the day.

Snack cart in California's Central Plaza (below)

Disneyland July 2012 - Wandering through Central Plaza

Park Information Board in Paris

Times and Information Board

Tokyo's Baby Care Center

Exploring World Bazaar

Tokyo Disneyland used to have an Omnibus that circled Central Plaza, but we haven’t seen this used in a long time now.

TDR Oct 2012 - Wandering through Central Plaza

On Central Plaza at Disneyland in California, the Magic Kingdom in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland you will find the Partners statue featuring Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

California (below)

Wandering up Main Street

Florida

WDW Feb 2012 - Waiting for the Parade

Tokyo

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Checking out the sites around the massive Central Plaza

Let's take a look now at the various Main Street's by night. Each has its own unique ambiance at night, with popcorn lights, flashing signs and gas lamps.

California (below)

Main Street by night

Florida

WDW 2008 June - Heading out of the Magic Kingdom for the night

Paris

DLRP Feb 2009 - Main Street on a rainy night

Hong Kong

Main Street USA by night

Tokyo

World Bazaar

Before we finish up, I wanted to just mention a couple more things regarding the overall designs of the Main Street’s, and some final thoughts. Hong Kong Disneyland on the outside draws most of its inspiration from Disneyland in California, while Disneyland Paris derives more from Florida. World Bazaar in Tokyo has some elements from Florida, but also a lot of its own design, too.
Disneyland in California has the quaint old town charm, and really embodies the spirit of what Main Street should be about. Disneyland Paris has the most detailed Main Street, with no expense spared. Florida has its own charm, but feels too big somehow, without embracing the detail or quaintness of Paris or California. Hong Kong needs a little more to make it feel whole. The stores that it does have are nicely designed, but they are incredibly small inside. World Bazaar lacks a lot of the details that the other parks have in their stores, while having some really unique elements such as the Great American Waffle Co. What Tokyo really lacks is the kinetic energy of the other parks by not featuring the Main Street Vehicles or train station. Those things really add atmosphere to Main Street and make it feel like a real, working town. World Bazaar feels empty somehow without them - despite the immeasurable crowds.

This post is too long now for me to include some other important things I wanted to cover, so in a future part of this series I'll compare holidays, entertainment, characters across all the parks.

So where do we go now? With so many adventures to be had, it’s hard to chose! Look out for part 2 of this series where we’ll head out of Central Plaza and into one of the lands of the park.

I’ll leave you with some more of my favourite photos from the Main Street’s of the world!

Dan.

WDW Spring 2013 - Cinderella Castle

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Exploring the World Bazaar

DLP Spring 2010 - Walking Up Main Street USA

DDE May 2013 - Town Square at Night

HKDL Oct 2012 - The sun sets over Sleeping Beauty Castle

WDW Sept 2012 - Wandering through Main Street

Main Street USA

DLP June 2012 - Wandering through Central Plaza

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Checking out the sites around the massive Central Plaza

Tokyo May 2014 - Cinderella Castle
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