Over the last year or more, I’ve shared many articles focusing on the “hidden gems” of the Disney parks. Of course, some tend to be more hidden that others, but today’s is an aspect of the parks that even I overlooked for quite some time, the Main Street Windows. Now, we’ve covered many of the incredible Imagineers and talented individuals who’s names appear “in code” (and sometimes fairly obviously) on the windows of the iconic welcoming avenue of the Walt Disney World experience, but today is just a little different.
Have you ever wondered why the audio really tends to surround you while you watch the parade on Main Street? Take a moment and think about your last parade-watching experience. While you may or may not have noticed it, that “surround sound” is created by a series of speakers well beyond the floats themselves. Essentially, as the parade begins its route down the street, a select few of the Main Street windows subtly rise and unveil cleverly placed speakers.
As the parade continues on to another section of the park and the music fades out, the windows slowly close and return to their original, unaltered state. It’s quite amazing to think about. Many of us have been touring the parks for years and have never even looked up to take in this incredibly subtle change that creates a much more impressive and largely immersive audio experience. Even more interesting to note is that the entire system is supposedly automated so that their is very little cast interaction needed with the physical windows beyond general maintenance.
Next time you’re in the park take a moment to just listen to the sounds around you. You’ll likely notice one thing, the music. There are very little to no places on Disney property that don’t have some type of background music. Each area has its own theme music, but trying to find where that music comes from can be a rather difficult challenge. Take Main Street for example once again, beyond the parade music, you’ll notice a simple up-beat series of “themed” music playing all throughout the day. While much of it is performed live by Disney’s talent cast, other sounds are played from hidden speakers conveniently located behind vented areas of the architecture that blend in with the design elements.
Often times, the Disney experience for me is all about the details. I’ve said it before, but I could really spend time just sitting on Main Street (or any other area) and listening to the sounds of the experience. It’s a simple portion of the Disney parks, yet so iconic to the sensory experience that we wouldn’t know what to do without it.
If you ever get the chance, head down Main Street right after closing time when a majority of the crowds have faded away and just take it all in. You can hear the music louder that you’ve likely ever noticed it before (due to the decreased crowds), you can pick up on all the subtle details, and you may just stumble into a “hidden gem” of your own to share with friends and family.
You see, a Disney vacation isn’t all about the attractions, but rather about the experiences the destination provides for guests of all ages. It’s why we love it, and one of the many aspects that keeps us returning time after time.
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