The Main Street Cinema is a small movie theater located on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland. The theater plays Disney shorts on six different screens while a recorded musical accompaniment plays.
Magic Kingdom's Cinema operated from 1971 to 1998 when it was converted into the Magic Kingdom's Art of Disney Store, though it retained one screen at the back for the purposes of showing film previews. During its lifetime as an attraction, it showed a similar rotation of shorts as its Disneyland counterpart, though in 1994, it began hosting the short film "Mickey's Big Break", which had been produced for Disney's Hollywood Studios back in 1991.
When Disneyland opened, the Main Street Cinema played a variety of silent films. The opening day line-up consisted of:
"A Dash Through the Clouds", a 1912 Mack Sennett drama about biplanes
"Dealing for Daisy", a 1915 William S. Hart western
"Fatima's Dance", year unknown, a risqué belly dance sequence by Fatima, a famous dancer of the time
"Gertie the Dinosaur", Winsor McCay's 1914 cartoon
"The Noise of Bombs", a Keystone Kops Comedy
"Shifting Sands", a 1918 Gloria Swanson melodrama
Films starring Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks were also part of this initial rotation, as was the 1925 Universal version of the Phantom of the Opera, with a costumed version of the character appearing near the outside of the theatre to attract guests. While no longer appearing, a roastie toastie was made in the Phantom's image which can be found at the popcorn stand outside the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square.
By the 1970s, the Main Street Cinema shifted to exclusively showing a rotation of Disney shorts starring Mickey Mouse.
The sixth short is always Mickey Mouse's 1928 cartoon classic, Steamboat Willie, which is played with its original sound, albeit in an edited version to remove objectionable content, but it does include an introduction prepared for a 1950s reissue reminding the viewer when the short was filmed and opened, and that it is still screening today worldwide (ironically now in an age of digital, DVD, and the internet). In 2010, for the 55th Anniversary of the park, Opening Day footage was shown.
At the front of the cinema is the figure of a ticket-attendant running the ticket admission booth. She wears a Disneyland cast-member pin which identifies her as, "Tilly" and states she comes from Marceline, Missouri. This is an allusion to how Main Street, U.S.A. was partly inspired by Marceline due to it being the home-town of Walt Disney.
On April 30, 2021, Disneyland Resort reopened after being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the Disneyland version of the attraction remained closed.