PHOTOS: The Main Street Cinema at Disneyland Park Has Been Turned Into A Store

Tom Corless

PHOTOS: The Main Street Cinema at Disneyland Park Has Been Turned Into A Store

Tom Corless

PHOTOS: The Main Street Cinema at Disneyland Park Has Been Turned Into A Store

They seemingly held out as long as they could. While Walt Disney World’s Main Street Cinema was converted into a store all the way back in 1998, it seemed like Disneyland would never pull the trigger on the conversion of their 1955 staple. Well, under the Bob Chapek administration, you never say never.

Cast members try to get guests to come into the new store, perhaps also warning purists to not enter.
Cast members try to get guests to come into the new store, perhaps also warning purists to not enter.

That’s right, it happened. Disneyland’s Main Street Cinema is a shop.

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Maybe showing you the merchandise before you enter will lure you in? It's only avialble in almost every other shop.
Maybe showing you the merchandise before you enter will lure you in? It’s only available in almost every other shop.
Bright display lights now kill the dark ambiance that once was.
Bright display lights now kill the dark ambiance of an old-time cinema that once was.

While no damage has been done and it certainly looks reversible, this quiet and charming spot along the park’s entrance corridor is now filled with haphazard shelving and displays. The lighting is much brighter to provide for a shopping experience as opposed to a quick stop to watch a Mickey cartoon.

Displays removed from The Emporium and other nearby shops have been thrown in here, as Disney continues to squeeze revenue out of every possible inch of the park. But hey, that's what they teach you in business school (and perhaps in ketchup marketing, I'm unsure)
Displays removed from The Emporium and other nearby shops have been thrown in here, as Disney continues to squeeze revenue out of every possible inch of the park. But hey, that’s what they teach you in business school (and perhaps in ketchup marketing, I’m unsure).

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Bubble wands: a staple of early cinema.
Bubble wands: a staple of early cinema.

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What really bothers me is that the Disneyland Resort has such little variation in their merchandise to begin with, so if a guest didn’t buy these items in another shop, I don’t see this making the conversion. I would dare say you can find these items in 50-75% of the existing shops, with Spirit Jerseys and colored ear headbands approaching 80-90% of other stores resort-wide. If you’re going to sacrifice some park history, at least give it a unique purpose, you know, something you absolutely needed the space for. Not this.

Hopefully, enough negative feedback comes Disney’s way to reverse this, but let us know if you agree in the comments section below or on social media.

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32 thoughts on “PHOTOS: The Main Street Cinema at Disneyland Park Has Been Turned Into A Store”

  1. When Main Street had a fewvarried things to do aside from shopping, each attraction added flavor to the experience.

    The Penny Arcade removal left the Main Street Cinema a lone oddity.

    Perhaps not enough draw being the only thing left to bring life to the area beyond shopping, but still an icon of tradition.

    The transformation into another shop seems to keep what was there with the movies still running and the decor intact.

    Likely not a horrible decesion in keeping with what has already been done, however, in the overall picture, all attractions should never be compromised for addition retail.

  2. Thanks, Tom. What is the most effective way of getting feedback back to Disney on this? With great and sincere respect for this website, I’m assuming that just leaving a comment here is not the most effective way…? So, what is your advice on maximizing the impact of such feedback? Where do I post? Who do I email? Thank you!

    • Tweet at them. That seems to get their attention, since everyone in the world can see it.

      A little off topic, but if they really want to make money, open a cool, Imagineered store that only sells attraction specific merchandise. Not the same old, homogenized stuff that you can get in every other store. That’s what this seems to be. AND it ruins an original attraction. Not cool.

      My favorite shop at the Magic Kingdom in WDW is Memento Mori. It’s very popular and I’m positive other attraction specific stores would be too. I always spend the most money there.

  3. It looks more like a 4th of July pop up shop. Let’s see how long it stays as a shop before we get all up in arms.

  4. I think they should fill it with vintage looking merch. I bought a Steamboat Willie snow globe in Disneyland that i love!

    • I have been looking for one where did you find it if I may ask? I love collecting Disney snow globes. Thank you

  5. You know….. I was really getting worried Disneyland would run out of places to sell more merchandise. smh…. They can’t seem to ruin Walt’s park fast enough!

  6. Everyone on here is going to hate me for saying this, but I actually don’t mind that this is a shop now. Although, I would like to see much more unique merchandise inside. I think this will allow me to spend more time in the cool little space. Every time I’ve gone in, I would spend a few seconds watching each cartoon, then walk out. Now, I will get to peruse through some Disney stuff while taking in possible an entire cartoon or two.

  7. Super lame, as was the Penny Arcade. Do the powers that be not understand what makes Disneyland, “Disneyland”?

    • They know exactly what they are doing. accept the changes. I hate Star Wars but I’m not complaining about how that ruins my Disney experience. While they’re at it, replace the hall of presidents. lol

  8. How about moving a mini fruit cart with healthy snacks to be sold while folks watch a toon. Inside put some mini pub chairs and tables and let the place continue as a cool quiet spot. cucumber slices with ranch dip, apples with dip, cup of water, carrot sticks and dip, jicama sticks with dip you get the idea… new in that it is healthy, old in that yes we used to eat fruit and veg for snacks.

    • I’m torn between outrage and apathy. Outrage because it’s a piece of history, but apathy because … I can’t remember when I last actually went into the place. I do remember exactly why I haven’t gone since, though: it was uncomfortably warm, there was no place to sit, and it was hard to hear the cartoons anyway. If they’d popped a beverage/snack station in the center and added tables/chairs (at least benches, for Walt’s sake), and boosted the sound volume and AC, I for one would have welcomed the change. It’s not like the place was ever overcrowded.

      I used to like CircleVision not so much for the film itself, but for the padded seats in the Flag Room (and playing the “name that state” game with the flags). It was a nice little spot to just sit and relax for ten minutes or so; most of the time, I would have been perfectly content to skip the actual film afterward (I didn’t, mainly because I suspect that’s where they counted attendance).

  9. I hate this change. Mainstreet Cinema is one of the few places left, to get away from the crowds, and enjoy some quiet Disney time. I hope they change it back.

  10. I am so sad to see this conversion of the cinema. It was always my favorite spot to just sit on the floor and feel like a little kid watching the old Disney cartoons. I have been going since I was a baby, my mother bought me my first giant Minnie mouse when I was just 6 months old!! I still have her. Please change it back to just the cinema. Thank you!!

  11. Please return the movie theater to its original venue. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase Disney-related merchandise in other locations in the park as well as in Downtown Disney and the hotel gift shops. I vote for the nostalgic theater to return

  12. I wish this and other Main Street spaces had been converted into a Yesterland museum where we can walk around and see original animatronics/costumes/props, learn the history of imagineering, and see how the park has transformed over time. The same for WDW. It would be a lot harder to steal Buzzy if he were behind a glass case and not left to rot in an unused attraction. Just throwing it out there to the park managers. *wink*

  13. I am so saddened by this. The theater was always a favorite of our family, particularly my daughter.
    Honestly, we may have spent more time in the theater than any other spot in the park. Whenever she would start to feel overwhelmed or anxious we knew we could tuck in and take a little break sit down and watch some Steamboat Willy. We sometimes spent hours there. A couple times in recent years when we have had family tragedies, I took my daughter to Disneyland in hopes of lifting her spirits and all she ended up wanting to do was just get some lunch and sit in the theater for hours. It was therapeutic to her.
    I truly hope this is only temporary and they convert it back to how it was. There are far too many shops with all the same items as it is.

  14. I feel that changing the cinema is a slap in Walts face. They don’t need another store. 😡

  15. What I would love to see are retro-souveneirs. I remember I had a set of those cool pens with miniature versions of Disney rides that moved when you pointed the pen upward or pointed it downward. I had a monorail, a matterhorn, a people mover, and the sky tram. That would be a worthwhile shop to find in the classic movie cinema.

  16. This os terrible..it broke my heart when they did this in disney world.. now here too… why? It was magical in there like you could almost feel Walt…so sad

  17. Tom, you have nailed it again. This is one more venue of Disney Money Magic we could do without. Living on the East coast I frequent Disney World annually. And you are right. The variety of merchandise way outshines Disneyland. Another shop of more of the same is not needed. I visited there for the first time since 1980. I brought a newbie with me. She was not impressed by the shops and picked up on the repetition of product immediately. It stopped us from visiting additional shops. And now to take away a mainstay icon for more monotonous shopping….. I think the imagineers are in a slump! They could have kept the theater for shorts on old or new films! It would keep the traditional alive and still support their arriving for the almighty dollar by advertising new films and characters. Never ever abandoning Steamboat Willie! Unless they need to eliminate another icon that got them where they are today.
    I agree with Brandon. Where else can we post to get attention drawn to this terrible trend in Disney marketing? Time to help put a kabash on ” if we charge it they still come”. Enough!

  18. Return it back to a cinema please. I loved the older cartoons, nothing like today’s! We need it!

  19. I agree with the comment regarding the lack of unique merchandise–this has long been a pet peeve. Why not make some cool artisan wares available? Think Etsy–surely you could find some (affordable), yet unique merchandise! I’m always looking for non-Chinese manufactured items for souvenirs and wearables.

  20. Who cares about the old cartoon I say gut it out and put a avengers store that also sells lightsabers

  21. I am saddened, (though very behind the times) to hear that The Penny Arcade has been removed. That, along with the Main Street Cinema, went a long way creating the atmosphere of Main Street, and well as a funny exposition of history. I understand and appreciate the Disney had largely drifted away from the amusement park, and gone on to highlight the animated features, it’s too bad this characteristic has been brushed aside. There were a fun way to enjoy atmosphere, without the lines

  22. What a shame. I know it was a wonderful place to cool off and relax before taking the kids to stand in line. This theater was part of a good memory. Your loosing the point Disney. Memories sell more of your product than being placed in every visible site.

  23. I agree. The main Street cinema should remain as it was built over 60 years ago. The “history” of this place should not be changed.

  24. I’m sorry but I am for this change. They only added one register and a few items of merchandise. If you’ve been to the main Street stores lately you would cherish the opportunity to shop on a slower location.

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