Disney’s Main Street Cinema

One of the original attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland is the Main Street Cinema.  This is a place where guests could go relax while watching an classic short usually involving Mickey Mouse.  Since their openings, however, the two cinemas have taken distinctly different paths.  The Disneyland Main Street Cinema has remained a place for guests to catch a classic Disney short.  The Walt Disney World Cinema, over time, became more and more of a gift shop and less of a cinema.  The cinema became a full time gift shop in 1998.  I would like to take a look back at both Main Street Cinemas.

photo courtesy of Disney Wiki
photo courtesy of Disney Wiki

The Main Street Cinema in Disneyland is a round theater with the six different movie screens.  Five of the six of the screens show shorts with no sounds.  These shorts are also changed out on a frequent basis.  The sixth screen always shows Steamboat Willie with sound and from time to time (usually park anniversaries) will show footage from Disneyland’s Opening Day in 1955.

photo courtesy of flickr
photo courtesy of flickr

In the days of ticketed admission, the Main Street Cinema started as B-Ticket attraction before getting downgraded to an A-Ticket attraction.  It’s a nice attraction to get away from the crowds and the sun for a little bit.  Based on the picture above, it could probably draw more guests if there were more seats.  It has the potential to be an attraction like Hall of Presidents or Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  An attraction where guests could go in and sit down watch 20 to 30 minutes worth of shorts and then move on to another attraction.

Main Street Cinema at Walt Disney World (photo courtesy of BigFloridaCountry)
Main Street Cinema when it was a cinema at Walt Disney World (photo courtesy of BigFloridaCountry)

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, Main Street Cinema made it’s debut, like in Disneyland, as a B-Ticket attraction.

photo courtesy of etckt
photo courtesy of etckt

And again, like Disneyland, Main Street Cinema was downgraded to an A-Ticket attraction.

photo courtesy of bigfloridacountry
photo courtesy of bigfloridacountry

After Disneyland and Walt Disney World moved to all-inclusive pricing, this is where the two Main Street Cinemas diverged.  Disneyland’s cinema remained a cinema.  Walt Disney World’s cinema slowly became more and more a gift shop and less of a cinema.  In 1998,  Walt Disney World’s cinema became a full-time gift shop.

Main Street Cinema Today
Main Street Cinema Today

The marquee on the Walt Disney World Cinema always reads “Coming Soon – The Art of Disney.”  The Art of Disney is the name of the gift shop which took the place of the cinema.

My thoughts:

I don’t remember going into the Main Street Cinema, at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, as a child but I’m sure I did.  I would like the opportunity to sit and watch these classic Disney shorts.  I like watching the more modern shorts which have debuted on Disney Channel in recent years.

Living on the east coast getting to Los Angeles is a difficult proposition for me.  Though it is getting easier as my daughter can tolerate longer and longer plane flights.  I still have to get over the hurdle of spending an entire day traveling to LA and an entire day traveling back to New York State.  This is the because of the lack of direct flights to the west coast unless I drive to one of the major airports.  When I do make this trip, one of my first stops will be to the Main Street Cinema to experience and watch these classic Disney shorts.  They are one of the building blocks that made Disney.

Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “Disney’s Main Street Cinema”

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