Town Square is the first area you come to when entering Main Street U.S.A.. Here you’ll find a number of “public” buildings like the Train Station, City Hall, and the Transportation Company. The following picture was taken from the second story of the Train Station.
When the original Disneyland was being built in California, a bandstand/gazebo was constructed and placed in the center of Town Square. Soon after, Walt decided that it blocked the view of Sleeping Beauty Castle when looking down Main Street from the Train Station. Before the park ever opened to the public, the bandstand was relocated to another part of the park.
When the Imagineers were designing Disneyland Paris, they decided to give this idea another go-round and a bandstand was built in the middle of Town Square. They must have been satisfied with the results as another bandstand was built at Hong Kong Disneyland. I guess the latter-day Imagineers don’t share Walt’s concern about views being blocked. And I have to agree. I think the bandstands look great. The first picture is of Hong Kong and the second of Paris.
City Hall sits in the same location at all five Magic Kingdom’s. Here guests can make dining reservations, pick up guide maps, and have all their questions answered.
An interesting item can be found in the lobby of City Hall. The cast members of Tokyo Disneyland sent the cast members of Disneyland Paris a beautiful plaque of “congratulations” (written in three languages) when the Paris park opened.
You won’t find a Fire Station next to City Hall, but instead a shop, the Story Book Store.
Next to the Story Book Store is a unique structure for a Disney Main Street, a boarding house. To my knowledge, it’s the only “house” on any of the five Main Streets around the world. Note, this structure is only a façade and you cannot enter the building.
This next photo continues our circle around Town Square. In the center of the picture you can see a long shot of the boarding house. To the right of the boarding house is the Liberty Arcade (out of sight). I’ll be discussing the Liberty Arcade in greater detail later in this blog.
This next building might look familiar to you. It’s a copy of Disney World’s Emporium. But even though the exteriors are the same, the interiors are somewhat different. If you look closely at the ceiling in the interior shot, you can see a mechanical device used by old department stores to send messages and small items to various locales around the building.
Across the street and opposite the Emporium is the Kodak Film & Camera Shop.
Continuing our circle, we find a few more shops and the Discovery Arcade.
Main Street at Disneyland Paris has a unique feature, two arcades (long, enclosed walkways) that run behind the shops and restaurants. The Liberty Arcade on the left and the Discovery Arcade on the right offer backdoor access to every merchant on the street. This is a wonderful attribute. On inclement days or when a parade is running, it’s nice to have an alternate way of getting from one end of Main Street to the other.
Original plans called for a glass and metal roof to be built over Main Street to protect guests from the weather. This structure would be similar to the one over World Bazaar at Tokyo Disneyland. But this covering curtails other activities such as the vehicles, parades, and firework viewing. Eventually it was decided to build the arcades instead.
As we continue our circle around Town Square, we come to more shops.
Next to the shops is the Main Street Transportation Company. The horse-drawn street cars enter and exit Main Street through this building.
Although I don’t have a picture showing this, if you look at the Transportation Company building “straight on” its silhouette bears a striking resemblance to Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, California.
The street cars are enclosed to provide better protection from the cold Parisian winters. Two benches, running along both sides of the car provide seating.
Another unique feature of this Town Square is the plaza area is divided into two sections and the street car passes between them.
That’s it for Town Square. My next blog will cover the rest of Main Street.
The previous post in this blog was Disneyland Paris Main Street Part 1.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Paris - Main Street Part 3.