Tuesday, August 4, 2009

People Watching: Main Street, U.S.A.

According to Wikipedia.org, people watching or crowd watching “is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. Naturalistic observation is another more formal way of describing people watching.” I think you would agree that there is perhaps no better place to people watch than at Walt Disney World. This post is the first in a series of what I will call “People Watching @ WDW.” I will share with you some of my favorite places to sit down, relax, smell the flowers, listen to the ambient sounds and great background music and engage in some naturalistic observation.

First in the series: the Magic Kingdom.

Let’s break it down by area…

Main Street, U.S.A.

One of our favorite places to sit and take in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A., and Cinderella Castle is atop the Railroad Station.

View of Main Street Railroad Station courtesy of the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog.

There are a number of benches on the second floor under a glass-covered promenade that face Main Street, U.S.A. Dusk is my favorite time to sit there and watch the transformation: Main Street and the Castle come alive when the lights come on. It’s a beautiful sight as the temperature starts to drop a bit and the hustle and bustle of the streets below take on a new life. It gets crowded up there for parades and fireworks, but it’s a great viewing spot. If you take the time to enjoy this gem, be sure to explore the Station…the detail here is amazing! Beautifully detailed lighting fixtures, period seating and games, and wonderful artwork will take you back to yesteryear. There is also a bulletin board with arriving and departing trains listed…all the locations listed have a backstory.

View of Main Street Railroad Station courtesy of the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog.

As you walk down Main Street toward the “hub” you will cross East Center Street. Indeed, Main Street has a side street. Before 2001, it was actually a cross street, but that changed with the expansion of the Emporium, which closed West Center Street. In fact, the Harmony Barber Shop was originally on West Center Street along with the Greenhouse Flower Shop, the Hallmark Card Shop and a few other now extinct shops. So, make a right turn and take a stroll down East Center Street. A caricature artist is usually stationed here; beautifully potted plants and landscaping will invite you to explore the area as the noise of Main Street fades behind. Take note of the detail on the buildings, including the balconies above you and the planters on them. The building at the end of the street has an “Art Festival” sign above it…it really was an art “festival” gallery back in the early to mid-1970’s.

View of East Center Street courtesy of the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog.

There are benches under the awnings and further in there are seating areas with tables. Grab a snack from the Bakery or some fruit from the fruit stand that is often located on this street and head down here for a respite from the Main Street crowd! Drink in the ambience and background music of the area. Look for the windows marked “Singing Lessons” and “School of Dance.” Listen closely to hear singing, voice and dancing lessons coming from the various upstairs rooms!

I hope you enjoyed this look at some more ways to slow down and relax while visiting Walt Disney World. We’ll be discussing more places to sit down, smell the flowers, people watch and fit in some R ‘n’ R around the entire WDW Resort area. If you have a favorite spot, please leave a comment below or send me an e-mail…I’d love to hear from you. If you have pictures of you and/or your family enjoying these locations, please send them to me and I'll post them in this article.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing better than people watching at the Magic Kingdom (except, MAYBE, people watching at Epcot...). So many happy families there for the first time, couples learning which rides are their favorites, singles lucky enough to escape for the day to soak up the sights and sounds of the park...wonderful blog topic!