Right Down Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Paris
When we started this podcast series examining the lands of Disneyland Park in the Disneyland Paris Resort, we began our first focused podcast with Fantasia Gardens, moved past the Disneyland Hotel, and down the left side of Main Street U.S.A., to include the Liberty arcade. We have then moved through Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. Now we will return to Main Street and move down the right side toward the castle. One might think this is a lot of podcast for what is a lot of shops and eateries but I hold that this is perhaps the best designed retail and dining experience in the world. Even better than any of the other Main Streets found in parks world-wide. The attention Imagineers put toward the design of this street is unparalleled in terms of attention to detail, especially for something that is not really about rides and attractions (though we will talk about the Disneyland Railroad). In fact, we will consider this as to whether this is the best combined indoor/outdoor entertainment/retail/dining mall-style experience across the globe. Join us as we continue our series of celebrating the many lands of Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris.
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East Main Street, U.S.A.
Plaza East Boutique
Beneath an impressive ceiling, artfully decorated with turn-of-the-century designs and illuminated by old chandeliers, this stylish boutique houses a collection of souvenirs, accessories, toys and more. This is located just inside the turnstiles underneath the Disneyland Paris hotel. There is also a Plaza West Boutique. Stroller and wheelchair are just beyond but after the railroad station.
Disneyland Railroad Station
A beautiful station with unique stained class representations of the different lands of the parks. Still, this train station is shorter than the other classic Disney stations so as to not obscure the view of the park to guests staying at the Disneyland Hotel. For that reason, it can almost be missed in the excitement of entering onto Main Street, U.S.A.
Horse-Drawn Streetcars & Main Street Vehicles
Unique to this park is not only the large stables on the right side of the street but that the cars are all enclosed for inclement weather. Horseless buggies and fire engines are all the rage. Note though, this park has no fire house.
Ribbons and Bows Hat Shop
Part hat shop, part Pandora jewelry and accessories
New Century Notions Flora’s Unique Boutique
This Parisian photography store has a Victorian style with stained glass and intricately carved wood where you’ll find a selection of the latest products. Disney PhotoPass™ service available.
Boardwalk Candy Palace
Candies, foods and drinks in a turn-of-the-century amusement style enterprise.
Disney Clothiers, Ltd.
Focusing on Children’s clothing and accessories.
Main Street Motors
Fashioned like an old service station, complete with Cruella in a roadster-style car, you’ll find apparel, accessories and even an old gas pump.
The Ice Cream Company
Kiosk offering Ice cream selections.
The Coffee Grinder
A small kiosk connecting to the Discovery Arcade that offers coffee, cookies and cream.
Market House Deli
Deli sandwiches in a early 20th Century New York-Style deli. It has a big-town Market House sensibility.
Harrington’s Fine China & Porcelains
Under a magnificent stained-glass dome and classic columns are paintings, jewelry and fine-art classics. Named after Polly Harrington from the Disney classic, Pollyanna.
Cable Car Bakeshop
Fashioned after the cable car experience of San Francisco, this offers baked treats and honky tonk piano tunes. Sponsored by Kiri.
Fresh cookies on the front end of the Cable Car Bakeshop.
Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
With illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, this ice cream parlor sponsors Ben and Jerry flavors.
Victoria’s Home-Style Restaurant
A cosy 19th century-style boarding house offering both treats, milkshakes, beer and wine.
Plaza Gardens Restaurant
All you can eat character dining in the Victorian splendor of an opulent leisure pavilion. And did we mention Mickey and the gang? It’s the only character dining restaurant in the parks
Leading this amazing Imagineering effort was Eddie Sotto, who in the following exclusive video showcases the thinking and creativity around this version of Disneyland Paris.
You may want to also visit our first podcast on Main Street, U.S.A. when we began our Disneyland Paris series.
Souvenirs for You and Your Organization
Among outdoor and indoor venues, I really believe the design of this version of Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Paris is not only the best of the Main Streets, but is probably one of the best indoor or outdoor entertainment venues around–certainly the best combined of those two approaches. What we learn from this pedestrian experience is applicable to any and all businesses:
- Tailor the experience to the people you are serving. Disneyland Paris made a conscious choice to go with a colder but more accessible destination to Western Europe. But in not choosing Spain, they made intentional efforts to offset the colder weather found in this region. How are you tailoring the experience to where and who you are serving?
- Deepen the experience. It is more than a facade of gingerbread architecture. There is a compelling reason to enter each shop because there is so much attention to detail. Walking into a shop, restaurant or arcade you see stained glass, museum exhibits, vintage props and eye-catching signage. How do you make each layer of your experience stand out from one another? How do you double-down on the details?
- Differentiate. Unlike a mall where every store is the same, Main Street makes a visual statement between retail, dining and other experiences as you go from one venue to another. How do you make your products and services stand out from one another?
- Build on all the senses. Whether its’ listening to a party line, or the smell of fresh brewed coffee off of Main Street, or the sound of the train coming into the station, or the tastes of fine dining at Walt’s or the feel of horses as they clip clop down the street, make the experience fully sensory. How can you employ the senses to create a total experience?
I’ve had some fortunate opportunities to see some of the best mall-style entertainment/dining/retail experiences around the world. From Faneuil Hall in Boston to The Grove in Los Angeles; From the Mall of America in Minneapolis to shopping destinations in Dubai and Singapore. I can honestly say that in terms of the design and intent of creating a solid guest experience, Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris is one of the most complete and perfected designs.
Beyond Main Street, U.S.A.
We’ve finished dinner at Plaza Gardens, time to check out Sleeping Beauty Castle before the evening fireworks. That alone is a podcast in and of itself, and that castle, with perhaps the exception of Spaceship Earth itself, may be the most incredible piece of architecture that Disney has ever built. We’ll explore that possibility in an upcoming final podcast on this series focusing on Disneyland park in Disneyland Paris Resort.
Jim Korkis Needs Your Help!
The 72-year-old, internationally-respected Disney historian who has authored thousands of articles and dozens of books about all things Disney. He has also been a guest on several Disney Insight Podcasts. Moreover, he’s been a friend for years. Jim is now struggling with a series of major medical issues and is in need of financial help to pay his bills. We invite you to help!
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