Main Street Shops: Seasons Change, People Change

Main Street U.S.A.Sometimes to accomplish a goal we have do things that, while not contrary to our values, aren’t exactly our first choice or our ideal. That was certainly true of Walt Disney.


Developing and building Disneyland was an expensive endeavor. Even though he leveraged every asset his company and his family had, it was going to take more than that to make this dream a reality. Some of that additional financing came from a bank loan, and some came from a television deal with the ABC network. That still wouldn’t be enough to open and operate The Happiest Place on Earth, though.


Walt’s solution was corporate sponsorships. He sought out corporations to have locations inside the park, and the sponsorship fee helped him cover opening and operations. They were throughout the park, but perhaps the greatest concentration was on Main Street U.S.A.


Some of those partnerships were very long-lasting (Kodak was a sponsor from Opening Day through most of the next 50 years, for example). Some, however, were quite-short lived, mercifully so. For example, at Opening Day, a visitor could see, and shop in…


  • Wurlitzer Organ Shop – Yes, until 1968 you could listen to an organist perform and, if you were in the market for it, buy an organ or piano of your very own. (It was where the Disneyana shop is now.)
  • Upjohn Pharmacy – Located where the “Fortuosity” shop is today, for the first 15 years a traditional turn-of-the-century apothecary (pharmacy). Antique pharmaceutical equipment lined the counter and old-fashioned medicines along the walls. Perhaps most notable was the jar of live leeches in a jar on the counter. You couldn’t buy medicines here, but they did offer free samples of all-purpose vitamins.
  • A unique storefront sits on the right (east) side of Main Street, about three-quarters of the way up. If you’ve ever stopped to sit on the porch of this former shop, you were right outside the former Intimate Apparel Shop—also known as the Corset Shop, or more colloquially as “Hollywood Maxwell’s Wizard of Bras.” More than just a shop, until December of 1956 women could also learn about the history of women’s undergarments from an in-store exhibit.


Ideally, Walt would have liked to have complete control over what was on Main Street U.S.A. and how it was run, but he had to make some temporary concessions. He bought them out as quickly as he could, though, either eliminating them from the park or changing the agreements so he had the level of control he wanted.


In part because of this short-term solution, Main Street has had some of the most significant changes of any land, but most of them are rarely noticed by guests. Some of this is because nearly all of the changes are inside shops, so unless they go in the only clue most visitors have is the sign out front. The other reason, though, is that the changes are gradual.


Fantasyland can be clearly divided into “original” and “new” based on the 1983 rehab. Tomorrowland had “original,” “new” in 1967, and another “new” in 1998. Frontierland had similar demarcations. Main Street is one of the few to have been done in bits here and there.


Relationships can be that way. Some relationships are meant to be short-term. Some last longer. Some are just what we need at the time and serve a very specific purpose. Some are meant to be life-long. Sometimes there is a clearly identifiable break. Sometimes it just fades away. Some come into our lives, leave for a reason, and then return later. (Kodak’s sponsorship was that way on Main Street.)


Knowing that is nice, but it doesn’t really make it easier. The severing of relationships, even out of necessity, can be quite painful. And sometimes it is unavoidable. Seasons of life change. People change.


  • Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” There are cases where we can’t live at peace with someone and it ends.
  • “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Sometimes we have to end a relationship because it’s a harmful influence in our lives.
  • Sometimes it’s nothing more than that this particular season has come to an end. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.“ (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ff)
  • Some relationships may end for a time, and then later be restored once one or both people have grown and changed. (See Paul and Mark’s relationship in Acts 15:37-40 and 2 Timothy 4:11. It must have been hard for Paul and Barnabas in that Acts 15 passage, too.)


In most cases, the ending of a relationship is painful, whether it’s done intentionally through a conversation, or if you wake up one day and realize you haven’t talked to someone you cared about for years. It’s often sad. The Psalmist knew what it is like to have a wound like this. In writing about the promised return of Israel to their home, the restoration of the community, he said,


“The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the exiles of Israel.
 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.”


He restores relationships when they can be restored. He creates community. He ministers to you in your soul (if you let Him) to bind up your broken heart. And He knows what it’s like. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)


This is an unavoidable fact of life. There are no easy answers for easing the pain of a broken and lost relationship—only prayers that if it is the Lord’s will it might one day be restored. And there is the promise of eternity where we will forever live in perfect unity—and community—just as it was always intended.


Question: Have you had to end a relationship, or had it ended for you? Was it easy or difficult for you? Can you take comfort that God heals your brokenheartedness? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

Randy CraneRandy Crane is passionate about helping Christians, especially those with a Disney affinity, to discover and connect to their GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE AND VALUE, to build their lives to achieve TRUE SUCCESS AND MEANING, and to POSITIVELY IMPACT their world. For more than two decades, Randy has been leading individuals and teams into a greater joy and child-like appreciation of the world around them, equipping them to reach beyond what they have previously experienced and build a God-given identity and purpose. Ready to experience that for yourself? Tell us where to send SIX free videos all created to help answer the 3 questions you need to experience PEACE, FREEDOM, and PURPOSE!

* indicates required
Email Format

Leave a Reply