FORT COLLINS | Did you know that Fort Collins’ Old Town was the inspiration for the picture-perfect ‘Main Street’ that you find in Disneyland theme parks around the world?
In the early 1950s, when Walt Disney and his colleague Harper Goff decided to build the first Disneyland, the drew inspiration from their childhood towns of Marceline, Missouri and Fort Collins, Colorado, respectively. Goff returned to his hometown to take photos of the buildings that he remembered from his childhood, to inspire his drawings of what Main Street should look like.
Upon showing the pictures to Disney, both agreed that this was what Main Street should look like. Disneyland’s City Hall and it’s bank building, in fact, are almost direct replicas of their Fort Collins equivalents. Needless to say, Goff and Disney succeeded in creating a representation of the true grit and boisterous optimism of turn-of-the-century America.
Today, Main Street Disneyland has been replicated in Disneyland theme parks around the world. It’s fun, charming, and beloved by many, but it certainly doesn’t feel “real” or “authentic”. It evokes conflicting emotions. It’s familiar, despite the fact that you’ve never visited, and feels fake, even though it’s authentic.
The historic buildings in Old Town Fort Collins are real, original, and authentic. Most of them are filled with local, independent buildings. They bring joy to those who visit, and help support the local community. Regardless of whether or not Disneyland theme parks are your thing, the inspiration it’s worth visiting.