Brian Martsolf (bigbrian_nc) wrote,
Brian Martsolf

Is Main Street Busy Enough? (with a big Thank You to Steve Soares)

One of the things I wanted to use this blog for are those relatively rare
times when I will start a forum post and it ends up being extremely long
and going into great detail this is one of those cases, though I ended up
making it an email instead to the hosts of the micecast podcast...

I started this as a possible post the the non-episode specific portion of
the Micecast forums on the DPN I had been meaning to write about it for a
while and in fact the most recent episode I know Greg did NOT make mention of this,
but perhaps there is enough here to make interesting fodder for at least some
portion of a future episode, and if you do read it or a portion of it on an
episode many more folks would hear about it than if I make it a post in the
"general micecast forum".

Like many of us long time Disney fans Greg sometimes gets certain Disney
related topics that come to the forefront of his mind that he ends up
commenting on a couple of times. I can say this in part because I think
I am EVEN MORE prone to this than he is, one thing he has brought up a
few times recently is the lack of activity on WDW's Magic Kingdoms Main
Street USA, he has framed it a couple of different ways one of which I
somewhat agree with (but I think can shed some further light on why it
is that way), another way he framed it I tend to disagree with a bit more,
but in that case too I think I may know a few reasons why it SEEMS that way.

Lets start with the one where I totally agree with him, he mentioned that
there seems to be less Main Street Transportation through the day, this is
true. Typically in the morning they will have a Horse Drawn trolley and
perhaps an omnibus or fire engine running, for the past few years though
the Horse Drawn Trolley has been down a significant proportion of the
time for track work, a friend of mine who has some RR experience saw
what they were using in the concrete areas that they have been filling
in around the rails with and he said what they are using is too soft,
which would account for why it keeps breaking back up and they keep having
to re-patch sections of it. As a substitute for the street car, during the
longer portions of trolley down time they have been using a horse drawn
carriage on Main Street (which I think is actually kind of neat that they
have been keeping the hoses acclimated to the work in that way). When the
horse-drawn trolley is in use a few times a morning the "return trip" from
the castle is used for the "main Street Trolley parade" just as a for instance
this is the schedule for this week form Steve Soares site:

NP Main Street Trolley Parade

Daily at 9:25, 10:15 & 11:00am

This is a three or four "show stop" show that has dancers in
"turn of the century" costumes dancing and lip-syncing to
the songs Magic Wrapped up in Pixie Dust, Walking right down the
middle of Main Street USA, and Clang, Clang, Clang went the Trolley,
when the trolley is out of service I have seen BOTH the Fire Engine,
and omnibus used for this on different occasions. While this show is
going on it actually slows down the other vehicles that if they come to
meet the trolley show at one of it stops, then have to wait until the
show moves to its next stop to continue, or those vehicles have to sit
it out for the half hour or so it takes the show to make its way through
its stop. In addition to this show interfering with Main Street Transport,
there are Castle stage shows currently Dream along with Mickey is
performing 5-6 times a day, once again from Steve's site:

Sunday-Tuesday & Thursday-Saturday at 9:40, 10:40 & 11:40am, 4:40, 5:40 & 6:40pm

Wednesday at 1:10, 2:10, 3:40, 5:20 & 6:20pm

During these shows I believe that much of the street in front of the castle
tends to fill with people who are watching the show. Additionally in the
afternoons (in addition to the regular parade) there is the "Family Fun Day"
parade (thanks again to Steve for this weeks times):

Sunday-Tuesday & Thursday-Saturday at 12:55, 1:55 & 4:10pm

Wednesday at 12:40, 1:40 & 4:10pm

So yeah there is less Main Street Transportation, but I think you can see
that for much of the day there are actually some very practical reasons why
that is the case, and to WDW's credit they do at least run it during some
of those other times like the morning transportation I mentioned. To be
honest in recent years I have not spent a great deal of time on Main Street
in the afternoons and evenings so I can't really comment on if there is
transportation during that period, though I do have some nice photos taken
from the upper deck of the omnibus back in 1998, a period during which a
few sources seem to claim the omnibuses were not used at all in the park,
I'm not sure where that misinformation came from.

The issue I disagree with Greg on is the lack of entertainment on Main
Street, first of all, though many of the shows I have listed above are
not the type of entertainment I tend to pursue, they are actually keeping
quite a few guests entertained, so they count, and as time goes on I'd love
to be there often enough that I might tend to pursue enjoying some of these
shows as well. But in addition to that there are the "live entertainment
performers" on Main Street as well the Dapper Dan's, Toontown Tuners,
Casey's Corner pianist, Main Street Philharmonic, and the Streetmosphere
characters (The Mayor, his assistant, town councilman, Fire Chief Miller,
and the ladies of the Main Street Women's Auxiliary ). Some of these groups
cannot perform during the stage shows and Trolley shows those would be The
Dapper Dans, and Casey's Corner pianist, though the pianist can perform once
the trolley show has moved to the lower block of Main Street. The scheduling
for these performers is done very well though, and (as a for instance) the
Dapper Dans will often step out on stage just BEFORE the last blasts of
fireworks from the stage show so they can launch into their set right as
the show ends, Piano man Jim (who seems to perform longer sets than any
other musician in the MK) often seems to end his set only because he knows
a stage show, or trolley show is about to start up.

If you listen to episode 28 of
the Mousin it Up podcast
you will hear me list a great example of this
from that day, I mention that in the previous episode (Christmas Special-
episode 27) I played a bit from the Dans where they were stepping out on stage
just as the castle show came to its conclusion, before their set, performed on
the upper block (N of E center St.) of Main Street, ended, the Toontown Tuners
(sax quartet/quintet depending on the day) started a set on the lower block
of Main Street (south of East center street), by the time that set ended a
trolley show was starting, by the time that show had run through its three
positions the it was just a few minutes until the tuners started their set
where they back the Main Street "Citizens of Main Street" (streetmosphere)
in the great fun song and Dance set they do in Town Square (this features real
singing not the canned stuff like the trolley show uses) by the time that set
ends and the Tuners march off stage another trolley show is coming.

That said, does Disneyland probably have just as much entertainment,
I'd bet that it does, and more of it is of the "live" variety I prefer,
not only that but at Disneyland there is another factor that probably aids
it in making it FEEL as if there is even MORE, that is the simple fact that
Main Street is SHORTER than at the Magic Kingdom, at WDW's Magic Kingdom you
could have the Dapper Dans singing at the Barbershop, Toontown Tuners,
performing on one of the blocks of Main Street AND the pianist playing at
Casey's Corner all at the same time and not be able to hear them overlapping
at all, at Disneyland that might be a bit much AND you have the FULL version
of the marching band. So I think the length of WDW's Main Street plays against
it in making it feel like there is less entertainment even though for much
of the day there is ALWAYS something going on .

*******************TANGENT ALERT *****************

I know there are some smaller bands at Disneyland that play on Main Street,
are these subsets of the Disneyland band like they used to do years ago?

The Magic Kingdom USED TO do that to back when they had a FULL SIZE band
evidence of that still exists on Steve Soares web site ion the Magic
Kingdom Archive Page:

Tags: bigbrian, disney world, entertainment, magic kingdom, micecast, music, musicians, podcast, podcasts, walt disney world, wdw
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