Friday, August 12, 2022

Disneyland’s Main Street USA

It’s been more than a month since we returned, but I’m happy to finally share the first post in an 11-part series about my trip to California! I have so many pictures I want to share from Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Magic Mountain that I just needed to break it up into several parts. We’re starting where every trip to Disneyland begins: Main Street USA. My emotional entry to Disneyland aside, I’ll be breaking up my trip report land-by-land. But first, here’s a little bit about how we got to California.

The six-hour flight from Newark, NJ (after a quick jaunt from Pittsburgh) allowed me to appreciate some of America’s western landscape for the first time, even if it was from 30,000 feet above ground.
Touching down at LAX, it was amazing to finally be in Southern California… the farthest west I had been before was Indiana!
We saw little of the airport during our arrival and departure, but it was cool to see the iconic Theme Building, which I understand is currently vacant.
My family (my mom, dad, and three younger sisters) stayed at a condo off South Walnut Street, which borders the two parking structures to the west. Thanks to this, we were able to take a 10-minute walk to the tram loading area, which dropped us off at the Esplanade. Quite the change from sprawling Walt Disney World, the intimate feel of Disneyland was by far my favorite thing about the park.
Although my family purchased our tickets in early 2020, we were still able to use them more than two years later. We did have to pay $235 to account for the current price. That might sound like a lot, but it’s not too much for six four-day tickets.
Going through the left entry tunnel once in the park, we could see the Matterhorn rising above the buildings of Main Street. Visiting the world’s most important theme park had been a dream of mine for 10+ years, but until recently, I felt that going there was still many years away. It truly was surreal to finally step into a place that I had obsessively studied for so long.
My first Disneyland attraction ever was the Main Street Fire Engine. It was after rounding Town Square, on the Fire Engine, that I saw Sleeping Beauty Castle for the first time. My family hadn’t arrived near Rope Drop that day, so it wasn’t too crowded as we made our way down the street, passing facades that almost felt like “old friends” to me.
When we were later back in Town Square, my family took a Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland Railroad. The Main Street Train Station is just as iconic as SBC to me.
There weren’t many surprises on this trip for me, but it was fun seeing through the eyes of the rest of my family too, who really had no idea what to expect most of the time. Take the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas on the Railroad, for example… you don’t see something like that at WDW! I loved these Walt-era displays, and the scale of the Primeval World was especially impressive.
After a full day at the park with my family, I had the next full day to myself while they visited the beach. 
That day, I did get there at rope drop, and luckily, it was the least-crowded day of the trip, giving me lots of time to admire details and take pictures. 
During our four days at Walt’s park, I made sure to ride all the different Main Street Vehicles. 
This was a little difficult, as they would close for the day at noon except for the Horse-Drawn Streetcar.
I don’t know this family, but it was nice to see them having a special moment on the upper level of the Omnibus. I took this picture right before I forced them out so I could get the best view. ;-)
It was a trip seeing all the Main Street facades from a higher level, and very few people ride the vehicles down to Town Square compared to the other direction.
One Main Street Vehicle I did not get to ride was the Horse-Drawn Fire Wagon.
The Horse-Drawn Streetcar was new to me, though.
"Oops, we harnessed the horse to the wrong end of the Streetcar!!"
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was enjoyable even if just for its history, and you know I loved the Disneyland 1955 model in the lobby.
The performance I saw was sparsely attended, with less than 20 people in the theater. The electric scooters that make an obnoxious truck backup sound couldn’t be avoided in the Opera House, which I found humorous.
The Disney Gallery next door had some thoughtful pieces, like this bas-relief model of Walt’s apartment.
Since my trip was in early July, the plantings in Town Square were of appropriate patriotic coloring.
I followed the Disneyland Band down Main Street. They are a high-energy marching band, which I think is a change from the past.
I also saw the All-American College Band perform at the Flag Retreat Ceremony with the Dapper Dans.
In the Penny Arcade, I made full use of Walt Disney’s Orchestrion when I could
. My favorite time I dropped a quarter in it was after the fireworks when the Candy Palace was packed and chaotic. The Orchestrion started blasting “God Bless America,” only adding to the mayhem!!
The quaint Main Street Cinema was fun to check out, and I’m impressed that it has remained intact for so long.
With turn-of-the-century playing, it was wonderful to wander through Main Street, checking out the tribute windows and interiors of the different shops, which all seemed to be unique.
Of course, I had to seek out the infamous “Test Wall,” which may have been used to test different brick designs during the park’s construction, but maybe not.
Another thing I had to find was the Coke Corner half red, half white lightbulb that ensures the pattern doesn’t skip a color!
I saw the Dapper Dans performing several times in front of the Fire Station and on the China Closet porch. Here they are singing “A Pirate’s Life For Me.”
My dad’s friend had placed a magnetic Geocache underneath one of these mailboxes recently, but I’m sure it will be found and removed soon.
I think I might have taken too many pictures! I am going to try and post a new part of this trip report every other week, so it doesn’t stretch out for too long. Next up... Adventureland and New Orleans Square!