Why are there barricades along Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A?
If you’re wondering why Disneyland’s Main Street is covered with wooden barricades, there’s a simple reason: The park is replacing the track that carries the iconic horse-drawn streetcars up and down the street.
That’s right. You won’t hear the clop-clop-clop of horses’ hooves in the park until the project is finished, sometime in early spring.
It entails ripping up 3,500 feet – about two-thirds of a mile – of existing track, replacing it and adding decorative brick pavers.
“That is something that’s been long overdue,” David Koenig, author of “Mouse Tales: A Behind the Ears Look at Disneyland,” said. “If you walk around, you can see the wear. People even get their feet stuck inside the tracks.”
Horse-drawn streetcars were part of Walt Disney’s plan for his park from the beginning, to augment the Main Street theme of turn-of-the-century small-town America. Disneyland owns four streetcars, their design based on trolleys from Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia from around 1880.
Walt Disney looks over finishing touches to the streetcar tracks on Main Street shortly before Disneyland opens. Photo courtesy of Disneyland Park.
Typically, only one streetcar carrying a maximum of 24 people travels up and down Main Street at a time. Each trip takes around 7.5 minutes, pulled by one of 18 horses owned by Disneyland and now stabled out at Circle D Ranch in Norco.
Disney officials said the horses, which they consider to be equine “cast members,” are continuing to train, play and relax as usual until they are called back to work.
In addition to the vacationing horses, the park’s vintage fire engine, omnibus and horseless carriages are also on hiatus. The streetcars were operating on Disneyland’s opening day in 1955. The vintage horseless carriages and omnibus were added in 1956, and the fire engine in 1958.
Todd Regan, who writes and edits the MiceChat blog under […]