From a marketing perspective, Main Street at Disneyworld is an amazing success. It was established in 1955, a time of affluence for Americans, and when they were just starting to feel guilty for focusing their attention on consumerism. As Miles Orvell says in his chapter, “Constructing Main Street: Utopia and the Imagined Past” from his book about public space, Main Street, USA embodies the nostalgia of a simpler, safer, small town in America.
Walt Disney took advantage of this sentimentality for a past version of America to sell his blended, multiple theme park. Main Street, USA greets Disneyworld patrons immediately after walking through the main gates. Right from the start, visitors are made to feel comfortable and welcome, much like the feeling a product encapsulates as the consumer connects the positive qualities associated with the well-established brand to the product. For Disneyland, Disney wanted everything positive associated with the small town American Main Street to be connected with the park.
Main Street, USA is a place where Americans can go and subconsciously not feel guilty about our obsession with buying stuff. Disney made sure that the security and simplicity of Main Street would transport us back in time, and take us on an adventure of contradiction. Americans want to remember a time where freedom and democracy were at the forefront of thought instead of consumerism, and want to actively participate in consumerism at the same time. Disney sold Americans on the idea that Main Street, USA is the best good place, and Americans bought.