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DISNEY HISTORY INSTITUTE: Disneyland Canon: 1957 via Waxy

One thing stood out watching this amazingly restored home video of Disneyland. With ‘Main Street USA’, Walt Disney was attempting to recreate the atmosphere of small-town America that he grew up with - the America of the 1900s and 1910s. This video is from 1957, so most of the people walking through this section of Disneyland had either direct memories of this period or were only one generation removed from it.

If you visit Disneyland now, you’ll walk down a Main Street USA that is still going for that same atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Americana, even though the people visiting it are likely four or five generations removed from this period. They don’t have any nostalgia for this time. They probably don’t even know what the hell a “Penny Arcade” is.

Interestingly, if Walt Disney was just getting started today, and was building his first park now, the atmosphere of small-town America he would be creating would actually be the America of the mid-1950s - the time when Disneyland was actually built.