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Main Street's Prop Stars

Main Street's Prop Stars

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This is the last installment of this series about the hidden secrets of Disneyland Paris. If you read Littaye and Ghez's book about Disneyland Paris and followed this series from the start, you probably know more about the European Magic Kingdom than any Disney enthusiast in existence. There is little more that I can tell you aside from a few anecdotes about a couple of fascinating props. So fasten your seat belts for one last memorable ride.

Casey's Corner

Since most of you are from the US, our first stop will take us to a very, very American place: Casey's Corner. The original theme of Casey's Corner came from a poem called "Casey at the Bat" by the American Ernest L. Thayer. Hence the date that appears on the facade, 1888. It's the year that the poem was first published. Equally subtle is the way that the song "Take Me out to the Ball Game" can be heard throughout the restaurant. It's played on the piano and it's also the tune coming out of the 'Coke bottle organ' attached to the wall. In this machine, Coke bottles represent the notes and small mallets play the tune.

There was another idea that Imagineers thought might be interesting while creating the place. For a while they considered installing a scoreboard to indicate the number of bottles of Coca-Cola sold, since there is more Coca-Cola sold in Disney parks than anywhere else. The idea, which was probably not magic enough, was abandoned.


Almost in front of Casey's Corner, you can visit the restaurant Victoria's. According to the Imagineers, Victoria -- the owner of the place -- is a kindly, but slightly eccentric, granny. This becomes very clear when you look at the family portrait over the fireplace and when you feel the welcoming atmosphere in the dining room, the conservatory and the parlour, where quilts straight out of the Amish tradition mix with a lifetime selection of knick-knacks including a collection of apple corers that was bought from a collector by the Imagineers who worked on the place.

Main Street Motors

East of Main Street is also a more masculine place, Main Street Motors, that originally contained two life size human models that were the cause of an unexpected "scary tale". When the models arrived in the park, the Imagineers that were supposed to install them opened the boxes and... started screaming! The models were so realistic that, at first glance, they thought they were dead bodies!

Disney Clothiers

A quieter place that also evolved quite a bit since opening day is Disney Clothiers. According to the story, the shop was so successful that the owner had to knock down a wall into his apartment, so that she could extend it. When the Park opened in 1992, you could still see the bed in the bedroom and the piano in the parlour.

Boardwalk Candy Palace

Next door to Disney Clothiers is the Boardwalk Candy Palace, home of the most famous "prop story" from the park. It is such a nice tale that although it already appears in part in From Sketch to Reality, I feel that it is worth re-telling in details here. The most visible props of the store are the huge columns of sweets. Those columns gave Imagineers quite a lot of trouble. They wanted to fill them up with glass sweets. Just a few days before the Park opened, they started to fill up these fragile giant glass columns by hand, one sweet at a time. Each sweet had arrived wrapped in silk paper so they had to start by unwrapping them individually, which took hours. Then they realised that some of the sweets were too dark to let the light pass through the columns. The next night was spent taking out the unwanted sweets. Then, thanks to a sock with a hole in it and a thread attached, they were able to delicately place the sweets one by one at the base of the columns. But unfortunately, they had mistakenly used the opaque sweets! They had to start all over again! They had to use a crane to lift the columns and all the sweets came crashing out, many of them breaking as they hit the floor. Then the painstaking work started again, but this time there weren't enough of the transparent sweets. And so, one of the columns still contains some opaque sweets. Good luck finding it.

By the way, one smaller detail worth noticing while visiting the Boardwalk Candy Palace is that it is situated in a building called "Tilyou", in homage to George Tilyou, the man who created the famous Coney Island amusement park in New York.

That's it for today. But before wrapping-up, here is one odd additional story:

In "Walt's : An American Restaurant," the doors which lead into the Discoveryland room were late in being made. The Imagineers therefore decided to have some specialists sculpt these enormous doors directly on the construction site. To inspire them, Eddie Sotto, the art director of Main Street, and one of his colleagues, started smoking quietly in a corner of the room, and, still smoking, started to draw the smoke curls. They then went to find the sculptors and asked them to sculpt those very curls!

Since I always refer to the book From Sketch to Reality in that series, I just would like to remind you that, at the latest news, Didier Ghez still seemed to be selling limited and regular editions of the English version of the book at a discount price. For more information you can contact him at [email protected]

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