In the late summer and fall, the Magic Kingdom sets about the work of draping Cinderella Castle in lights that make it shimmer like an ice palace during the Christmas season. Then, once the holidays have passed and we’re on to the New Year, they work to remove the lights. During these times of the year it is not uncommon for a crane to be seen, standing like an unfinished spire within the castle’s courtyard. Some guests bemoan its placement in their photographs, while others come up with clever ways to highlight it in their photographs. Regardless of their uses, however, cranes have a long history with Cinderella Castle and photographs, dating back to well before the park opened!
This is simply a beautiful photo to me, even if everything is still a work in progress. You can see Cinderella Castle and the original hub area coming to life. The trees are in place, but some of the other planters are still missing, as is a fair portion of the entranceway to the castle.
Both East Center Street and West Center Street can be seen diverting off of Main Street. The west side of the street looks almost finished, from the ornate posts outside of the Emporium, to the trees and covered entrances of the shops along the lane. All that’s missing appears to be the window dressing and the signs themselves, and everyone will be in business.
Meanwhile, on the eastern side of Main Street, there is clearly work to be done. While some details can be made out, missing windows, speaker/slats at the top of buildings, and boarded up doorways, almost everything else is obscured by the scaffolding. Even the shop canopies are bare bones at this point. It should go without saying that things like trash cans haven’t been installed on either side of the street yet.
Last, but certainly not least, is the thoroughfare itself. The road is not finished yet, but you can make out the trolley’s tracks being installed. It won’t be long before it is clanging its way down Main Street.
It’s a bit odd to consider just how many photos have been taken from this exact spot over the years, and how the view has changed. From the disappearance of West Center Street, the addition of the Partners statue, the change in shop names and themes, and even how the trees have grown. Sometimes there is seasonal bunting or other decorations, sometimes the buildings are covered by a wall or scrim, and sometimes there’s a crane in the picture. It’s the little changes that make a picture unique, but it is also a time capsule to be able to look back on the park over the years. I may be particular to construction photographs, but there is a story in every Main Street picture.

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