You begin and end your Magic Kingdom visit on Main Street, which opens a half hour before, and closes a half hour to an hour after, the rest of the park. The Walt Disney World Railroad stops at the Main Street Station; board here for a grand tour of the park or a ride to Frontierland or the forthcoming Storybook Circus Station.
Main Street is a sanitized Disney re-creation of a turn-of-the-19th-century, small-town American street. Its buildings are real, not elaborate props. Attention to detail is exceptional: all interiors, furnishings, and fixtures are true to period. Along the street are shops and eating places, City Hall, and a fire station. Occasionally, horse-drawn trolleys, fire engines, and horseless carriages transport visitors along Main Street to the central hub.
Main Street Services
Most park services are centered on Main Street, including:
- Baby Center / Baby-Care Needs Next to the Crystal Palace, left around the central hub (toward Adventureland)
- Banking Services Automated tellers (ATMs) underneath the Main Street railroad station
- First Aid Next to the Crystal Palace, left around the central hub (toward Adventureland)
- Live Entertainment and Parade Info City Hall at the railroad-station end of Main Street
- Lost and Found City Hall at the railroad-station end of Main Street
- Lost Persons City Hall
- Storage Lockers Ground floor of the railroad station at the end of Main Street; all lockers cleaned out each night
- Walt Disney World and Local Attraction Information City Hall
- Casey's Corner Pianist
- Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade
- Celebrate the Magic
- Dream-Along With Mickey
- Flag Retreat
- Main Street Electrical Parade
- Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
- Town Square Theater Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet
- Town Square Theater Princess Meet and Greet
- Walt Disney World Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station
- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular
The experience of entering Main Street parallels that of entering a movie theater, almost certainly due to the filmmaking experience of Walt Disney and the first Imagineers who built Disneyland.
The movie-going analogy begins at the front gate, where you present your ticket and enter the lobby. In this case, the lobby is the forecourt in front of the train station. Notice the red bricks beneath your feet, which represent a movie theater's red carpet. Also notice that the train station now blocks your view of everything behind it, in the way a movie curtain restricts your view of the screen.
You enter the Magic Kingdom through a tunnel under the railroad. Walking through the tunnel simulates the raising of the movie curtain and provides a transition from the lobby to the "theater." It's no accident that these tunnel passages are built wide, deep, and dark; they delay your view of an open and colorful Main Street U.S.A. until the last moment.
With this initial glimpse of Main Street, it's clear that you're now truly in "Disney's World." Orientation in this new world is Main Street's Town Square, providing guide maps and advice to newcomers. By design, Guest Services are on the left-hand side of most Disney theme parks.
The use of forced perspective is what makes the Main Street buildings seem taller than they really are and the castle seem farther away. If you turn around, the full-scale train station does the reverse, making the walk to the exist seem much closer for weary guests at the end of the day. The results are optical illusions that trick your mind and feet.