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Disney Parks: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Main Street U.S.A

The small quarters of Main Street U.S.A help to set the tone for Disneyland and Disney World's Magic Kingdom. For most people, it’s simply the entranceway before finding their way to all the exciting rides, character meet-ups, or the Disney themed restaurants. But to others, Main Street U.S.A a cardinal aspect of Disney.

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There’s not much that Disney enthusiasts aren’t already privy to when it comes to the parks. But with 85 acres of land and over sixty years of history, there's bound to be some fun facts that have hidden in its nooks and crannies. So here are ten things you didn't know about Main Street U.S.A.

10 Based On Small Town Missouri

The circular plaza is lined with rows of seemingly generic brick and mortar establishments. It seems all too ordinary until you hit that sweet spot: the top of the street that leads down to the looming castle that serves as a flagpole for Disney's magic.

It may surprise some that Main Street U.S.A is based on Walt Disney’s own hometown of Marceline, Missouri. This area has less of that classic Disney magic touch in order to give off a familiar hometown facade so that guests feel at home from the moment they get through the turnstiles.

9 Disney's Apartment Light

Disney's very own apartment is situated at the top of the Disneyland Fire Department building in California. The apartment hasn't been used much since Disney's death in 1965, but Disney employees keep a light on in the upstairs apartment at all times.

It's meant to signify Disney's over encompassing presence while simultaneously acting as a salute to the man behind it all. The only time that Disneyland turns off these lights is when Disney's family is visiting the park.

8 The Disney Bench

Inside the Opera House in Main Street U.S.A sits a roped off bench. It seems pretty important with black and white photos of Disney and the park's early days bordering the unremarkable bench. So what exactly is so special about this fading green seating area?

This bench is the exact bench from Griffith Park where Disney originally conceived the idea for Disneyland. While watching his daughters play in the neighborhood park, he couldn't help but think there could be another bigger, better park.

7 The Telephone

A hat shop called The Chapeau on Main Street has a fun little easter egg that not many guests are aware of. At the end of the street where the shop rests, you will find a retrograde telephone.

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However, this isn't just simply a prop to highlight Main Street's turn-of-the-20th-century facade. If you pick it up, you will be eavesdropping on an ongoing conversation. On the other end of the line, you can hear a mother and her daughter arguing about the prices of groceries.

6 Steve Martin Worked In Main Street

Legendary comedian Steve Martin can brag that he had been among the first to ever work at Disneyland. Starting in 1955, Martin's teenage self could be found selling guide books on Main Street or in the magic shop spinning out card tricks.

He later moved on to working the Fantasyland magic shop before working his comedy magic (with the help of some balloon animals) at the Golden Horseshoe Revue.

5 It Hasn't Been Altered Much

One thing that Disney prides itself in is its ability to keep up with the times. They are continuously switching out old rides for new ones and bringing in new thrills with today's technological advancements.

However, one aspect of the parks that remains essentially unaltered is Main Street U.S.A. Besides adding in new shrubbery, the small-town facade is the exact same as it was when Walt Disney himself walked these streets.

4 There's A Working Barber Shop

Some Disney guests are under the assumption that any shop that isn't selling souvenirs or candy is simply a front. However, most of these ordinary places are full-functioning stores.

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For example, the Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom on Main Street provides actual haircutting services for Disney guests. The Harmony Barber Shop is a bygone-era themed store where even the hairdressers dress the part.

3 The Flowers Are Changed Seasonally

Flowers are abundant throughout Disney parks, but none are as noticeable as those that surround the parks' entrance. The iconic Mickey flower bed is the most popular spot for Disney day pictures, located just outside of Main Street. This particular garden is made out of 7,000 plants, with about 4,500 flowers being used to construct Mickey himself.

And believe it or not, these flowers (along with the flowers on Main Street and throughout the parks) are changed every quarter. Disney's Horticulture team changes out the flowers to reflect the seasons or the upcoming holidays. It's a huge order to fill, but Disney is adamant about theming, and that includes even small details like the flowers.

2 Main Street U.S.A Windows

The names on the stores on Main Street U.S.A aren't just arbitrary or fictional people. Most of the names on the stores are of former Disney employees, especially those who had a large hand at bringing the Disney parks to life.

Ken Anderson, a Disney art director and writer of 44 years, has his "own" shop on Main Street called Ken Anderson - Bait Co. Even Walt Disney's father has a special tribute on Main Street with his contractor business listed as one of the stores in the Magic Kingdom. You can find it labeled Elias Disney - Contractor - Est. 1895.

1 Fake Flags

There are American flags perched atop almost every building on Main Street. But did you know that they aren't actual American flags? Each flag is missing either one stripe or one star. Disney does this so that they don't have to follow the national flag codes, which are notoriously strict.

Having to change all of those flags for special occasions would be a job all on its own, so executives thought of a creative way to avoid this task. Because each flag isn't historically accurate, the flags are called pennants and they do not have to follow the strategic flag etiquette.

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