When Walt Disney had the original concept for Disneyland, one of the main ideas he wanted to immortalize was the essence of his middle America hometown of Marceline, Missouri that he grew up in.
The whole theme of Main Street, USA is mirrored after the town he treasured in the heart of our country. Along Main Street, you are overcome by the feeling of being in a more innocent and simpler time. It is a refreshing escape from our reality and a great reminder of what our country once was and where we came from.
For most of us, Main Street USA is just a gateway into the other lands of the park, however there is much to be enjoyed on this charming little replica of the main street of a turn of the century small town. It is easy to pass all of the shops and unique experiences on Main Street, and as the old saying goes you forget to “stop and smell the roses”.
One of the things that once made small town America so appealing, was shopping along the main strip of a picturesque little town, and Main Street USA epitomizes this in every aspect.
The Emporium is a classic staple and go to stop on Main Street USA. Just like the shops of days past, this store makes you feel as if you have traveled back to a time where super malls did not exist and corporations did not own the merchandising world. They have a little bit of everything in this store. This is a great stop on the way out or into Disneyland when you want to just stroll around and take everything in. The merchandise is unique to the park so you have a one of a kind chance to purchase these items that many people do not have access to.
If you are looking specifically for apparel, I would suggest to go across the street from the Emporium to Disney Clothiers LTD. They have a wide selection of clothes, and they have a specialty child/baby boutique inside that is my favorite place to shop for my daughter. Their selection of children’s clothes here beat all other shops in the parks. Another great place to find apparel is Disney Showcase. This place also sells character clothing and hats and they embroider merchandise.
The most sought after and symbolic souvenir of the parks are of course the famous Mickey Mouse ears. My favorite place to shop for my ears is at the Mad Hatters shop which is located on Main Street as well as in Fantasyland. This is a Disney tradition for my family no matter our age. There is something about those ears that just add a special touch on your Disney vacation.
As far as memorable yet very fragile souvenirs go, The China Closet and Crystal Arts are the places to go. These shops are fun to window shop at, and if you are wanting to buy, I would suggest two things. The first, make sure to make your purchases when you are about to leave the parks that way you do not have to worry about not breaking the items throughout your day. The second is, make sure to go without your children when you visit these stores unless you want to feel as if you are literally with a bull in a china shop, it may be a more expensive trip than you originally planned. The China Closet has figurines, snow globes, and decorative plates for purchase and Crystal Arts sells hand blown glass and personalized gifts.
If you have a sudden sweet tooth come upon you (which could be brought on by the incognito vents that spray amazing scent into the air on Main Street) then you will definitely want to stop by Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen. Once you enter the shop, you literally feel as if you have entered a small portion of Willy Wonka’s factory. To stick to the theme of old-time Middle America, they sell old-fashioned candies such as saltwater taffy and various others. If you are a saltwater taffy fan, you do not want to miss the opportunity to taste the best taffy of your life. The Market House also sells candy and gourmet treats as well as household items. You will not be let down by the variety of sweets on Main Street.
Other unique shops along the strip are 20th Century Music Company which sells Disney music and videos that are exclusive to the park, this would be a great place for a Disney and music lover. Also, there is the Main Street Photo Supply Company which is where you can collect your prints or CDs from you PhotoPass, find picture frames to frame your favorite memories, and various other photo supplies. Speaking of pictures mementos, the Silhouette Studio is a terrific shop to get an exceptionally unique souvenir. This particular souvenir is personal silhouette picture cutout. These are great memories to take home and keep as a reminder of your trip.
If you are looking specifically for jewelry or accessories, the best places to go are New Century Jewelry and New Century Timepieces. Just like the other shops on Main Street, these places sell unique items exclusive to the parks. New Century Jewelry has character bracelets, charms, and bracelets and over at New Century Timepieces they sell customized watches, character watches, and decorative clocks. A perfect place to jazz up and “Disneyize” your accessories.
Last but not least are the specialty shops on Main Street such as the Main Street Magic Shop and the Penny Arcade. Main Street Magic Shop is a famous shop in Hollywood because it is where Steve Martin worked when he was a cast member at Disneyland. A magic shop that once housed a famous comedian, how can you go wrong? Magic Shops are very much a thing of the past so being able to see one first hand is a fun experience. Arcades are also relics due to the advance in technology and at home gaming systems, therefore the Penny Arcade is an enjoyable stop along Main Street for parents and kids to enjoy a simpler pass time together.
Whether you are as sentimental as me about the past and history of our country (or shopping for that matter) Main Street USA is a wonderful encounter in itself. You can find everything you need on Main Street as far as your Disney needs go, and you can step back into a simpler time in our history.