Americana 1900- The Complete Presentation

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
17. Century Plaza Float


A pair of identical Morgan horses pull the float representing Century Plaza. A recreation of the Americana Wonder Wheel turns gently in the middle of a floral depiction of the plaza’s compass rose. In place of the cabins on the rim and the sliders inside the wheel are beautiful flower baskets.

18. Marching Spartan Legion Band


Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia


This high-stepping, high-energy marching band from Norfolk State University, an HBCU, infuses hip-hop and other African-American dance and musical styles into their award-winning marching band performances. Today they will be performing a medley of Fats Waller tunes, including “All That Meat and No Potatoes”, “Stompin’ the Bug” and “The Joint is Jumpin”.

19. The Pike Float


The final float in The Big Parade represents The Pike. Lucy, the towering elephant that is the centerpiece of the Township, has decided to join the parade and walks the entire parade route. One of the largest self-propelled animatronic creations ever made, Lucy stands thirty feet tall and carries several people in the Howdah on her back. As she walks down the streets of Americana 1900 she moves her head back and forth, flicks her tail and occasionally raises her trunk and trumpets. She is even known to occasionally dance to the music of the band that proceeds her- carefully.


20. The Americana Fire Brigade


A town’s largest fire truck was often the final unit in community parades, but Americana 1900’s Big Parade has six, all being led by a rare 1896 LaFrance steam-powered horse-drawn fire engine. LaFrance also worked with Ford in building fire trucks based on Model T designs, several of which are in the Americana Fire Brigade.


The Big Parade is not intended to be a major performance spectacular, with elaborate dance productions and twenty-first-century special effects. It’s intended to be a tribute to the parades that we saw as a child, or that our parents or grandparents would have remembered and participated in. The modern technology incorporated in the floats augments those memories, making them accessible to modern parade-goers while still retaining the nostalgia of a small-town parade, where every parent came to watch their children march in the school band, where the local antique car club rolled out their prized and polished Model Ts and where the local service organizations competed to build the fanciest float and win the first place blue ribbon.

From the first appearance of the American Flag to the last fire truck, The Big Parade is a moving tribute, both physically and emotionally, to that basic community celebration- the town parade.



The Big Parade passes through six of the eight Townships of Americana 1900. Starting in the Back Lot, the parade staging area in Keystone Studios (orange in the above map), The Big Parade turns right onto Silver Oak Street, then passes through Chaplin Square and turns left onto Glendale Boulevard, exiting the Township through the Studio Gate. (Note: The Big Parade is the only event that allows horses to enter Keystone Studios). The parade turns right onto Pike Road and passes through part of the south side of Maple Grove. It then turns left onto North Maple Grove Road and enters Century Plaza, veering to the right past the Americana Wonder Wheel and onto Railroad Street.

At the intersection of Main Street and Railroad Street, The Big Parade turns left and enters Courthouse Square. Rather than proceeding straight on Main Street, it turns to the left onto Washington Street and proceeds around the Americana County Courthouse, turning right onto Jefferson Street, then right again onto Davis Street, then finally turns left and returns to Main Street. It continues heading east on Main Street, passing through the south side of State Fair and proceeds straight into The Pike. The Big Parade crosses the south side of The Pike, turns left and traverses the length of East Pike Street until it reaches the Backlot Gate and reenters Silver Oak Street and Keystone Studios, and turning right returns to the Back Lot.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The Faces of America
As darkness descends on Americana 1900, Courthouse Square fills with hundreds of visitors finding their favorite place to watch what will be shared with them that evening. Some have a favorite park bench. Others sit on a street curb, or the lawn of the Courthouse itself, spreading out a blanket or a few stadium cushions. Soon even the streets themselves are filled with people, all anxiously waiting for that evening’s presentation of one of the most moving and poignant events in all of Americana 1900. When that time arrives (which changes based on when dusk occurs) the clock in the Courthouse clock tower dims, then fades to darkness, as does the entire Township.


The bells in the Frost Carillon chime, not the usual melody of the Westminster Chimes, but instead gently ring out a soft, almost prayerful rendition of “Fanfare for a New Century,” the official theme song of Americana 1900 (written by John Williams for the Dedication of the park).

The Courthouse becomes completely dark, a black monolith in the center of a barely illuminated canyon. The crowd, sensing that something special is about to occur, grows silent as the Courthouse and the surrounding Courthouse Square buildings slowly begin to change (via the magic of strategically-placed projectors on the roofs of the Courthouse and the surrounding buildings) from their current elegance into a grove of trees, their leaves gently moving in the breeze. The sounds of birds calling, crickets chirping and squirrels rustling through the leaves slowly give way to the soft melody of a country fiddle, gently mimicking the sounds of nature.

The familiar voice of Jack Cahill, Founder of Americana 1900, is heard, serving as the narrator for this presentation.


“In January of 1804, the part of the Mississippi Territory that one day would become Americana County in the State of Alabama had a population of 17,000 squirrels, 900 deer, 614 rabbits and more birds than anyone could count. That summer, settlers discovered this little piece of Heaven on earth and decided that it would make a nice place to put down roots and start a settlement. In 1805 the squirrel population was down to 14,000, the deer now numbered under 500, and the rabbits, well, rabbits being rabbits, they were still doing fine.”

The dense forest projected on the Courthouse and on the surrounding buildings begins to gradually thin, being replaced by simple log cabins surrounded by vegetable and herb gardens and a few small fields. Paintings of early settlers in the area are projected above the cabins and on the Courthouse, showing the pioneer families that constructed and settled in them.


“The Andersons were the first family in this part of Alabama, which wasn’t even a State yet. But they encouraged friends from the east coast to join them in claiming property here, and soon the Calhouns, the Wilkinsons and the Merediths joined them and started to clear land for farming.”

More paintings of multiple generations join the faces already on the Courthouse and surrounding buildings, to show how the population was growing. More and more trees disappear as more and more log cabins and soon more substantial homes, including a few brick houses, start to fill up the land that surrounds the future Courthouse Square. It is still a scene dominated by forest, but agriculture is just starting to change the landscape.

“In 1819 the population reached five hundred, and in 1820 the new State of Alabama approved the establishment of Americana County, Alabama, and the settlement of Americana as the county seat. In 1821 the first Americana County Courthouse was built on this very site.”

The few cabins and more plentiful trees that occupy the Courthouse site fade, replaced with the image of a simple but elegant two-story wooden courthouse with a cupola on the roof, and a four-columned portico across the front of the building. Its design is inspired by the Greek Revival movement championed by that popular American President Thomas Jefferson, and is vaguely reminiscent of a church.


“The village grew up around this simple structure. More houses, a few stores, and a modest church soon were erected around the square where the Courthouse stood as a sign that life in Americana was changing, growing and evolving from a struggle to survive and conquer the wilderness to a life where the comforts of the early nineteenth century could be enjoyed and shared as a community.”

The projections on the buildings surrounding the Square start to change. The rustic, simple log cabins begin to be replaced by more substantial one and two-story structures, now built of frame and brick- a few taverns, a general store, small homes, a scattering of offices for a doctor and some lawyers, and of course a church- not the current tall brick Unity Chapel but a small, simple frame Greek-revival church with a steeple pointing to God and Heaven. Soon the entire Courthouse Square stands as it did in 1856, a community of simple one-and-two story structures, anchored by the county’s symbol of civilization and civic pride, the Courthouse. Gentle folk music is heard in the background.


“The peaceful, tranquil life that was taken for granted by the citizens of Americana was soon to be tested by forces beyond their control. 1861. Fort Sumter. The Civil War. The War Between the States. That defining event in American history which would decide if a nation, divided by strong and conflicting feelings of states’ rights and moral responsibility, could coexist, could unite or would destroy itself.”

During this scene, the photographs projected onto the Courthouse and surrounding buildings feature portraits of everyday citizens in various frames, some elegant and some simple.


The pictures begin to change from images of civilians to a mixture of civilians, men, women and children, and uniformed soldiers from both sides of the conflict.


“Families were torn apart. Brothers fought against brothers, fathers against sons. For some, loyalty to the State outweighed loyalty to the Nation. Others could not bring themselves to rebel against their beloved United States. War took no sides. While the battles bypassed Americana for several years, the young men of the town were drawn away to fight for their cause, some for the North, some for the South.”


The sounds of war begin to be heard. The projected sky over the buildings surrounding the Square turns to red as war begins to overtake Americana. Cannons are heard. Gunfire. Shouts of pain. One by one some of the photos of the community, especially of the civilians-turned-soldiers, begin to fade away, the elegant dresses on the women being replaced with the black of mourning.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A few of the soldiers’ portraits remain, but are now draped in black.

“Few families on either side of the conflict were spared an irreplaceable loss. 620,000 casualties nationwide - more than in all other American wars combined.”

All of the portraits and photographs gently fade, leaving the buildings with the red fires of war looming overhead.

“Some imagined that the war would continue to bypass their little town, and it nearly did, but one evening, near the end of the conflict, a minor skirmish for a nearby unnamed and unimportant hill brought the war’s fiery presence to Americana.”


The sounds of cannon fire grow in intensity, and suddenly explosions tear through both the projected wooden courthouse and several of the projected buildings surrounding the Square. Fire soon engulfs the Courthouse and the buildings, spreading throughout the town until nearly the entire square is a sea of fire, surrounding the viewers with the sounds of flames and collapsing buildings.

The clanging of bells, the shouts of people trying to extinguish the flames and the sounds of panicked horses engulf the Square…and then it begins to fade. The sounds seemed to drift into the past. The flames die away, leaving nothing but charred ruins, scorched brick walls and chimneys standing with no houses left around them, and just a bit of smoke gently rising from what had once been a beautiful village.


“Less than a year later, the war was over. What remained was for the living to mourn the dead and rebuild their town and their lives. The South may have been defeated, but the spirit of the people could never be conquered. Americana began to rebuild itself.”

As before, the buildings of Americana begin to rise, but now they are not one or two-story log cabins and simple frame structures, but two and three-story stone and brick buildings of elegant design and classical beauty.


The green lawn that covered the site of the original frame Courthouse begins to be replaced with a massive stone structure that rose from a concrete foundation to become the current three-story edifice with a soaring clock tower and golden dome. The projections fade, and the current Courthouse Square buildings, Unity Chapel and Americana County Courthouse are bathed in a warm glow of dozens of soft sepia-toned floodlights. The music, which starts with the sounds of hammers and saws as the reconstruction began, is replaced with the familiar sounds of Appalachian Spring.


“Americana County was born from the bounty of the forest and the richness of the land. The hard work and dreams of its inhabitants grew it from a wilderness into the site of a prosperous community. The strengths of its people were tested by the fires of war and calamity, but from those tragic flames it was reborn as a phoenix, a shining tribute to the people of Americana, and of America, a people destined to endure future hardships but a people that will never be defeated by weakness, or fear or difficulty. The history of Americana has just begun!”

The music soars to a majestic conclusion as “America the Beautiful” resounds through the Square, the buildings bathed in a breathtaking display of projected waving flags that completely covered the facades, and then by hundreds of faces of Americans, some modern, some antique, showing that Americana is not just a place, but a people. Americans.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

End-of-day shows in theme parks are notoriously difficult to describe. How many different ways can you talk about fireworks, or lasers, or projected animation? Perhaps the best way to explain an audio-visual experience such as One Nation is to simply describe the theme, the setting, the feelings that the designers intended to present, and let the reader create the show in their mind.

One Nation utilizes the remarkable cinematic presentational space that is The Pike. Over one thousand feet in length and nearly five hundred feet wide, this township provides nearly a mile of building façade surface that can be used as one of the world’s largest movie screens and the largest 360-degree projection facility ever created. Locations on the roofs and at the top of Lucy’s howdah provide unparalleled video projection possibilities, and these same roofs offer locations for pyrotechnic launches.

The theme, the underlying spirit of One Nation is different from any other such show in any theme park. It is not all happiness, light-hearted and fun. It doesn’t promote the commercial characters, the “IP” stars of Americana. They don’t even appear in the show. It’s not a documentary, somber and serious and filled with information and serious facts.

It is unique.
One Nation is an exploration and celebration of America and how it has fought through centuries of trials, hardships, internal strife and external attacks to evolve from a collection of British colonies with little sense of responsibility to each other into the mightiest unified nation the world has ever seen. The general theme of One Nation explores how these colonists from Britain and dozens of other nations from around the world, and their descendants, spent nearly four hundred years evolving a society, maturing it, making terrible mistakes and dealing with the aftermath of them, all the while dazzling the world with American ingenuity, industrial and agricultural might, and a vague yet enticing concept of personal freedom and individual rights challenged by cultural diversity.

It is not presented chronologically, but conceptually, using projections of paintings, films and photographs either from the era being covered or created by the producers of One Nation to be both historically accurate and visually appropriate. Snippets of silent and sound films, television reports from Vietnam and the Civil Rights Marches just down the road in Selma and Montgomery, big, flashy Hollywood movie musicals and films of the Tall Ships Parade from the nation’s bicentennial celebrations are interwoven into a breathtaking tapestry of culture, tragedy and triumph. Sounds from the earliest known recordings of Thomas Edison reciting “Mary had a little lamb” on his newly-invented phonograph to the first words Neil Armstrong spoke on the moon’s surface, and to those terrifying words spoken by Jack Swigert from Apollo 13 on their way to the moon, “Okay, Houston, we have a problem here,” are just some of the sounds that are blended with the rich musical heritage that America has adapted from around the world into its own unique sound. FDR giving one of his famous Fireside Chats, meant to encourage a nation deep in the worst days of the Great Depression, is heard over newsreel footage of long lines of the unemployed waiting at a soup kitchen, along with selections from some of the big, flashy escapist MGM musical production numbers of the 1930s.

The storyline of One Nation, if there is such a thing in a monumental audio-visual extravaganza such as this, carries visitors through five distinct yet interconnected sections:


America was a place where people came to find their own personal freedom, to live life on their own terms, to worship as they chose - or chose not to. It was also a place where others were forced to live, either under the yoke of servitude against their own wishes, fighting to maintain their own dreams, or a place where they were forced to find a new home, pushed aside in the name of “progress” and were forced to carry their dreams elsewhere. The birth of a nation is never painless.


No successful business started off big. Each began as an idea, a nebulous thought by someone that could eventually lead to the creation of one of the nation’s largest corporations, or to something as silly, simple and profitable as the Pet Rock or a brand new dance craze called the Charleston or the Twist. America, with all its faults, is a nation that is a fertile proving ground for ingenuity, innovation and creativity.


The history of America is a history of conflict. We fought for our independence. We battled with invasion from Britain in 1812, attacks by foreign powers in 1941, and attacks on our very way of life on 9-11. We fought battles around the world- in Europe, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. We have also fought with ourselves- centuries of shameful treatment of our Native American population, the battles for Civil Rights, even a devastating Civil War that threatened to rip our nation apart, but that instead forged the two sides together into a “more perfect union.” America seems destined to fight bloody battles for that elusive goal- peace.


In spite of all its faults, fighting and foibles, America has always been seen by the world as a place of refuge for the world’s seemingly endless “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Some have called it a “melting pot,” where people from all lands, cultures and faiths can come and blend into the culture of America. Others call it a “stew” of cultures, each remaining unique and individual yet becoming a part of the final “recipe” that is held together by the sauce that is a shared American culture. Perhaps it is both, but America has never ceased to be the goal to reach for millions of people from around the world, bringing with them their culture, talents and hard work, to claim their part of the American Dream and add their cultural spices to the ever-changing flavor of America.


Whether in spite of our internal differences or because of them, no nation on earth can proudly claim more national pride than America. We see our faults, our flaws and challenges, but they are ours to solve. When a crisis happens anywhere in the world, the first place those suffering from it turn to for help is America. It is America’s leadership, ingenuity and resources that the world relies on in times of need, and America has never turned its back on those needs. We fly our flag proudly, we revel in our successes in every field, be it medicine, technology, science or the arts, and even when we fail to live up to our own self-proclaimed ideals of freedom, equality and justice, we never stop striving to do better the next time…and there always is a next time. When that happens, be it from a challenge from abroad or from within, America rises to meet that challenge.

America is the embodiment of its official motto, a phrase that still appears on many coins and on the scroll held by our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, on the Great Seal of the United States- E Pluribus Unum- “Out of Many, One.” After nearly a quarter of a millennium, this phrase still describes America better than any other phrase. America truly is…



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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Three major holiday seasons are celebrated in Americana- the Harvest Home Festival, Christmas in Americana, and the Festival of Freedom. Each finds Americana 1900 adorned with special decorations that bring the spirit of the holiday to the park and its visitors, filled with special events that invite guests to join the Townsfolk in the celebrations, and featuring special foods and beverages that bring back memories of past holidays and create new memories for generations to come.


Beginning the weekend after Labor Day and continuing until Thanksgiving Day is the Harvest Home Festival, when the crops are harvested in Morrison Farm, apple butter is cooked and canned in Maple Grove, and the chill of the autumn evenings is held off by mugs of hot cider in State Fair and hot chocolate on The Pike. Seasonal decorations begin to appear throughout the park- pumpkins and gourds, corn stalks bundled together with burlap ribbons, mums of every size and color, and banners and bunting of brown, orange and red, the traditional hues of autumn.



Halloween in the early twentieth century was quite different from modern festivities- and much scarier. Nearly every costume was homemade, and many of them would now be considered creepy at best and totally inappropriate at worst.


Americana 1900 invites and encourages all visitors to the park on the week leading to Halloween to wear homemade costumes, and prizes are awarded in a variety of age groups and categories, but modern appropriateness is required and enforced. All costumed visitors are invited to march in a special edition of The Big Parade, which has been transformed into its Halloween edition. Ghosts are seen flying about inside the Winter Garden on the Green Springs float, the floral gardens and hanging baskets that normally adorn the Wonder Wheel on the Century Plaza float have been replaced with dozens of mums and jack-o-lanterns, and even Lucy the Elephant is wearing her Halloween costume- she’s dressed up as a gigantic cat! Trick-or-Treating didn’t catch on in its present form until the 1930s, but specially-marked Trick-or-Treat stations are found throughout the park, with historically-packaged candies, treats and toys being passed out by Townsfolk wearing authentic reproductions of original (and appropriate) early twentieth century Halloween costumes.


Halloween at Americana 1900 never fails to bring homemade fun and spooky traditions to visitors and Townsfolk alike.

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The Halloween decorations come down, the costumes are put away, and the natural beauty of autumn is featured in An Americana Thanksgiving. The lush flower beds and gardens become amazing spectacles of beautiful pumpkins, gourds and squash of all sizes, shapes and colors. Windows and street lamps are adorned with wreaths created from clusters of still-colorful dried flowers, ornamental grasses and herbs, and fences are draped with miles of garlands composed of woven wheat, corn husks and cattails carefully wrapped in strips of burlap and calico.


Each Township is decorated with ornamental features appropriate to its era and design, but there is a sense of unity in these decorations that bring all of Americana 1900 together into a breathtaking tribute to the true meaning of the holiday- giving thanks for the bounty that America has been blessed with.

Every full-service restaurant has special menu selections emphasizing traditional American Thanksgiving foods from across the nation, including the often forgotten states of Alaska and Hawaii, and even American territories from around the world. Sullivan’s Overlook might feature a smoked Hawaiian turkey with Pani Popo Hawaiian rolls, pineapple rice and a Macadamia nut pie for dessert. The Grange Hall features grilled Alaskan salmon with highbush cranberry relish and a farro and arugula salad. Traditionalists, though, have nothing to worry about- Thanksgiving dinners as good (or better) than Grandma used to make are available at each of the Harvey House Restaurants (each with their own little touch to make it special).


From Halloween until Thanksgiving, The Big Parade is replaced with a recreation of the first Thanksgiving Day Parade in the nation, held in Philadelphia in 1920 and sponsored by Gimbels Department Store.


Featuring much smaller (and admittedly stranger) balloons than its more famous parade relative in New York, along with marching bands, simple floats and costumed entertainers, the Gimbels’ Harvest Home Parade is a parade from a simpler time, a parade that inspired the nationally-televised spectaculars that now entertain America on the fourth Thursday of every November.





Well-Known Member
From Halloween until Thanksgiving, The Big Parade is replaced with a recreation of the first Thanksgiving Day Parade in the nation, held in Philadelphia in 1920 and sponsored by Gimbels Department Store.


Featuring much smaller (and admittedly stranger) balloons than its more famous parade relative in New York, along with marching bands, simple floats and costumed entertainers, the Gimbels’ Harvest Home Parade is a parade from a simpler time, a parade that inspired the nationally-televised spectaculars that now entertain America on the fourth Thursday of every November.

At last, kids of today can see the parade responsible for the horror that is Fun in Balloon Land.


James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


Americana 1900 is unique in American theme parks in that Christmas doesn’t start in August. Halloween isn’t battling for attention with Santa Claus, and neither is Thanksgiving. With very few exceptions, such as the Nicholas and Elfs Shop on Courthouse Square and the permanent collection of Coca-Cola Santas displayed in the Coca-Cola Experience on The Pike, Christmas has to wait until the day after Thanksgiving.
Perhaps that is what makes Christmas in Americana such a special season.


The Christmas decorations in each of the Townships of Americana 1900 are inspired by the community. Many of them utilize some of the Harvest Home decorations, the woven grasses and corn stalks that wrap the street lamps and railings, but the dried flowers and herbal wreaths are replaced with clusters of bright green holly with their brilliant red berries, with wreaths of cedar, pine, boxwood, magnolia and grapevine, and with hand-crafted ornaments created in the craft shops of the park.


Maple Grove is decorated with hand-crafted pottery ornaments from the J&R Pottery Works, with horseshoes from DeGroot’s Blacksmith decorated with lace and ribbons from Millie’s Millinery, and hand-carved wooden creations from Opperman’s Woodworking Shop. Nile’s Print Shop fills its front display window with the latest Christmas cards from 1900, and a gingerbread person or ornament hangs in every window pane at Gurnock’s Bakery.


The Christmas decorations in Morrison Farm reflect the close relationship between it and Maple Grove, but instead of the crafts of the village being featured, it is Grandma Morrison’s remarkable quilting talents. Garland of red and green quilt patterns brighten the more subdued roping and wreaths from the Harvest Home Festival, and swags created from feed sacks and burlap bags are accented with appliqued images of holiday birds, seasonal flowers and crocheted snowflakes.


Every barn and shed is adorned with wreaths and evergreen roping, and Grandpa Morrison has even pulled out some previously unused lights to illuminate these holiday decorations in a sparkling addition to his wife’s talented creations. Miles of strung popcorn and cranberries wrap the wreaths and roping, and hand-crafted woven wheat ornaments provide a natural contrast to the skilled craftwork of Grandma Morrison’s quilted, crocheted and appliqued ornaments.


Courthouse Square is festooned with perhaps the most traditional decorations in Americana. Every window in the Courthouse and the buildings that surround it display a wreath decked with colorful glass globes, stars and finials.


The mums that filled the Courthouse Square flower beds for Harvest Home are replaced with thousands of poinsettias, amaryllis, carnations and holly bushes, and dozens of live Christmas trees of various varieties and sizes are temporarily planted and decorated with simple garland and ornaments. These trees will be replanted after the holiday season throughout the thousands of acres surrounding the theme park area, to aid in the restoration and renovation of the forest that once covered this portion of northern Alabama.


Every shop window in Courthouse Square is filled with amazing holiday creations crafted by the shopkeepers, their families and clerks in tribute to the once-famous Christmas windows that attracted throngs of shoppers of all ages to see the latest “must-have” gifts for under the tree.


James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Some of the window displays emphasize merchandise sold in that particular store, while others recreate traditional holiday scenes, and some even combine the two themes. The King Arthur Flour window often presents a magnificent manger scene, featuring the stable and village of Bethlehem, the fields that surrounded it and all the Biblical characters included in the story of the birth of Jesus. The entire creation is crafted from gingerbread, marzipan and other products created by the King Arthur bakers in their shop. A contest is held every year for these window scenes, awarding ribbons for the most creative, most traditional, finest craftsmanship and the most coveted award, the People’s Choice.


Standing on the Courthouse Lawn is a magnificent blue spruce, the official Americana Christmas Tree, planted by the founder of the park and decorated with ornaments crafted by or representing each of the eight Townships of Americana. Along with over a thousand feet of lace, popcorn and cranberry strings, hundreds of electric candles grace every branch of this magnificent Christmas tree, which is topped by a brilliantly glowing Moravian Star. The daily “First Lights of Christmas” ceremony, where a family from “A Kid Again” is chosen to officially turn on the Christmas lights of Americana 1900, is held at the base of this tree.


State Fair is decorated by 4-H, FFA and FHA clubs from across the nation. Wreaths, decorative plaques and garlands are crafted by these talented young people, with winning ribbons prominently displayed on their creations.


The elegant Della Robia-like architectural elements so prominent on the buildings of The Pike are the inspiration for the extravagant holiday decorations that grace every structure in the Township. Wreaths ornamented with colorful fruits and natural materials such as dried pods and clusters of nuts are augmented by-products produced by the sponsoring companies (where appropriate). The Coca-Cola Experience is adorned with wreaths and garlands featuring clusters of cola nuts and hundreds of glass bottles emblazoned with the world-famous corporate logo (of 1900), all framing recreations of the iconic Coca-Cola-commissioned portraits of Santa Claus that firmly established his appearance for eternity.


Hershey's World of Chocolate, Kellogg’s of Battle Creek and every other attraction and pavilion on The Pike are similarly decorated with appropriately themed ornamentation, each made all the more festive by the tens of thousands of white Christmas lights added to the hundreds of thousands of lights already illuminating this magnificent Township.


Keystone Studios is decorated with materials that would be plentiful in a busy film studio of the early 1920s- empty film canisters, light bulbs and miles and miles of garland crafted from discarded or used movie film. Red and green gels are put into the Klieg lights, sending beams of seasonally-colored light to pierce the night sky. Posters promoting such early Christmas films as “Santa Claus” (1898), “A Christmas Carol” (1901), “The Little Match Seller” (1902), or The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus” (1914) appear throughout the Township during this holiday season.


Century Plaza glitters when Christmas in Americana arrives. Dozens of temporarily-planted live Christmas trees, just like the ones that appear in Courthouse Square, fill the cleared annual flower beds and much of the lawn areas, and are adorned with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights in gold, silver and bronze. Each tree is decorated by local service groups, churches and craft clubs, and cash prizes are presented to the winning entries, similar to the awards presented for the window displays in Courthouse Square. Here, though, prize money is awarded to a charity of the winner's choosing.


The rest of Century Plaza becomes a glittering sea of gold, silver and bronze lace, ribbon and netting, swaddling the elegant street lamps and wrought-iron fencing. The Floral Clock is encompassed by a massive boxwood wreath, adorned with holiday flowers and beautiful gold, silver and bronze ornaments, and every attraction in the Township is decorated with matching wreaths and pine garland.

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James G.

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Original Poster


The Big Parade and Gimbels’ Harvest Home Parade are given a well-earned rest when Christmas in Americana arrives, and the magnificent “A Currier and Ives Christmas Parade'' dazzles visitors twice a day at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This twice-a-day presentation schedule was created to give families with children a chance to witness this breathtaking presentation of the famous Currier and Ives prints brought to life before the children got too tired to appreciate it, but also to allow the magic of night-time illumination to bring these creations to a new level of elegance.


A dozen scenes of Christmas and winter in early nineteenth-century America are presented on horse-drawn floats, interspersed with horse-drawn carriages decorated with elegant Christmas wreaths, garland and sleigh bells, and carrying riders dressed in period garb of the same era as the Currier and Ives scenes portrayed.


“A Currier and Ives Christmas Parade” is presented from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve.



James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


The last big “hurrah” for Americana 1900 until it settles into the slower pace of the winter months is New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The centers of the celebration are in Century Plaza, Courthouse Square and The Pike, where fireworks and pyrotechnics are launched to celebrate the coming of the new year. Of course, there is the traditional countdown at midnight in each Township, but instead of a ball drop, the New Year is welcomed in by lights rising up on the Courthouse Clock Tower and the Tower of Power in Courthouse Square and The Pike respectively, and the Americana Wonder Wheel becomes a giant pocket watch, with the second hand being created with lights spinning around the face of the wheel while the numbers are displayed in the wheel’s central axle.


As the thousands of visitors who throng the park join in the countdown and the new year arrives, the sky erupts in a massive pyrotechnic display fired from the roofs of nearly every major building in the park!


The klieg lights from Keystone Studios join in the aerial celebration, and the bells of the Frost Carillon in the Clock Tower joyously ring in the new year- of 1900!


In Americana, it is always 1900, and always will be. “Happy New Year- 1900!” is illuminated on the Tower of Power, on the facades of every building lining The Pike and Courthouse Square, the Clock Tower, and on the buildings that form the south side of Century Plaza. Saying “goodbye” to 1900 and welcoming in the new 1900 is one of the most popular celebrations in Americana 1900’s calendar of events.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

From Memorial Day until Independence Day, Americana 1900 celebrates the Festival of Freedom. Special events are presented throughout Americana 1900 daily, from patriotic band concerts in the Maple Grove and Courthouse Square Bandstands to precision military drill teams and flag squads joining The Big Parade. Red, white and blue bunting patriotically adorns buildings throughout the park, and additional American flags fly from every possible vantage point.


The melody of “America the Beautiful” rings in the quarter hours from the Courthouse’s Frost Carillon, replacing the “Westminster Quarters,” and the daily carillon concert presented at noon consists of well-known patriotic music by American composers.


The nightly fireworks of “One Nation” are augmented with a special patriotic display featuring well-known and loved American tunes and breathtaking pyrotechnics, and the evening spectaculars “The Faces of America” on Courthouse Square and “One Nation” on The Pike take on new, special meaning for the thousands of visitors who traditionally end their visit to Americana 1900 with viewing and participating in these renowned multimedia experiences.


James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


The cold months of winter give Americana 1900 a chance to rest, refurbish and prepare itself for the warmer days of spring. The park itself never closes, except for severely inclement weather, but many of the park’s attractions run on limited schedules or close temporarily for maintenance, refurbishment or if cold temperatures would hinder their performance. Park hours are reduced, most of Green Springs is closed until the warmer months of summer arrive (with only the indoor attractions of the Winter Garden, Over the Falls and Gully Washer open on limited schedules), and Morrison Farm closes from New Year’s Day until April 1st. Park admission is reduced to reflect these limited hours and attractions.

Nearly every season is holiday season in Americana 1900. The park holds special events for most holidays, both secular and religious, depending on the nature of the holiday. Some of the events are romantic- every restaurant offers special romantic menus for Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day (even though its founding date of October 10th, 1921 technically falls outside the dates of Americana 1900).


Some are religious- Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Easter, finds special services held in the Unity Chapel by a variety of Christian denominations, but that are open to all.


Some are patriotic- Memorial Day features patriotic memorial ceremonies on Maple Grove’s Village Green and Courthouse Square, and military drill teams, both active and veteran, participate in the Big Parade.


Labor Day finds local industries and businesses enjoying special group rates and discounts for their employees.


Holidays in Americana 1900, whether it be a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two at Sullivan’s Overlook Steakhouse, enjoying the magnificent Currier and Ives Christmas Parade under the stars with family and friends, from a meaningful Memorial Day tribute to America’s troops who sacrificed their lives for our freedom to the breathtaking sight of the night sky over Americana igniting with thousands of dazzling fireworks on Independence Day, are memorable experiences for every visitor, regardless of age. From the Festival of Freedom through the Harvest Home Celebration and Christmas in Americana, every visitor will carry home with them enough memories to last a lifetime, and to bring them back to Americana 1900 to relive those memories and create new ones.




James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The creation of Americana 1900 involved more than just building a theme park. Its location in the middle of nearly 50,000 acres of mostly-undeveloped forest and farmland meant that nearly as much investment needed to be made in supportive infrastructure as in the actual park itself. A collaboration with the U.S. and Alabama Departments of Transportation and local counties and municipalities with the Americana Land Company created a new exit directly from Interstate 65, the creation of the multi-lane Americana Parkway leading from the Interstate to the park itself, and integration and expansion of local utilities to benefit both the park and the surrounding communities.

The Americana Resort is more than just a theme park. Three facilities provide accommodations for visitors to Americana 1900- the Howard Taft Auto Camp, the Harvey House Hotel, and the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel.


There were 8,000 automobiles registered in the United States in 1900. By 1930, that number had jumped to 23,000,000! Americans were discovering their own nation as tourists, and no longer were reliant on trains or horses for their means of travel. The open road, muddy, bumpy and ill-marked though it might have been, drew millions to see the U.S.A. There was one problem, though- where to stay while traveling. Not everyone wanted (or could afford) fancy city hotels, and not everyone had the equipment or interest in rustic camping. American ingenuity solved this problem.


Auto camps, also called tourist camps, tourist courts, cottage camps or motor courts, sprung up throughout the nation, and were usually run as private mom-and-pop enterprises anchored by a family-operated general store or diner. These camps were the early precursors of the later motel concept, but instead of consisting of one single building divided into separate rooms, they were usually collections of several nearly identical cabins, each a self-sufficient dwelling with basic-if-comfortable beds. Heat was sometimes provided by a pot-belly stove, and some of the more modern cabins even had indoor plumbing! Millions of American tourists relied on these roadside accommodations as they traveled the nation.

The Howard Taft Auto Camp Complex pays tribute to this once-vital (if now mostly forgotten) part of American travel history, recreating the often-beautifully decorated and landscaped cottage camps while incorporating all the modern amenities that today’s tourists expect. It is divided into three distinctly-themed areas, Adirondack Ridge, Route Sixty-Six, and Camp Expedition. Registration for Adirondack Ridge and Route Sixty-Six is at the Howard Taft Lodge, a three-story log and stone structure inspired by the rustic hotels, ski resorts and cabins found in the Adirondack Mountains of northeast New York state.


Along with registration and guest services, the Lodge contains a well-stocked camp store and cafeteria-style camp dining hall. Registration for Camp Expedition guests is at the entrance to this portion of the Howard Taft Auto Camp, where a smaller-if-similarly designed services building houses the same guest services as the main lodge.

Adirondack Ridge and Route Sixty-Six offer comparable amenities to each other, the major difference being the design of the accommodations. Adirondack Ridge offers free-standing one, two and three-bedroom cottages based on the rustic log, rough timber and stone cabins that are commonly found deep in the majestic forests of upstate New York’s famous Adirondack Mountains. Standing in a heavily-forested area with winding roadways, picturesque rocky outcroppings and burbling brooks, guests are transported to a peaceful escape from the modern hustle-and-bustle of life. Several guest playgrounds and swimming pools, designed to appear like natural “swimmin’ holes,” provide an energetic escape for guests staying in one of the historically-inspired cabins.


Route Sixty-Six recreates the auto camps that welcomed pre-World War II tourists to “see the U.S.A.’’ Clusters of similarly-designed auto camps, each inspired by an actual Route Sixty-Six motor court that once existed along that famous Chicago-to-Santa Monica highway, recreate an era of America discovering itself. The different architectural styles of each tourist camp cluster sometimes stand in stark contrast to each other- frame cabins lining a cul-de-sac stand next to a series of adobe cottages, followed by a cluster of basic log cabins and recreated Native American teepees. Guest swimming pools and playgrounds are also found throughout this eclectic mixture of American architectural creations, but instead of being the natural swimming hole-style of Adirondack Ridge, the pools and playgrounds here are recreations of the classic swimming pools offered to guests staying at the thousands of independently-owned motels that eventually took the place of the original motor camps.


Each cabin in Adirondack Ridge and Route Sixty-Six is fully-equipped with the modern amenities that their original inspirations would probably not have offered- living rooms with dining areas, bathrooms, heat and air-conditioning, fully-equipped kitchenettes, television and wi-fi access, and many have fireplaces and outdoor dining areas with grills and firepits.


Camp Expedition, themed to the era of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803, provides a variety of rustic primitive camping facilities for guests. 160 full hook-up RV campsites and eighty primitive campsites are available in the Camp Expedition area. Full-service bathrooms and private showers are available, and both permanent grills and fire pits are available at every camping location.


Guests staying at any of the Howard Taft locations have Dawn of History and History Repeats admission privileges to Americana 1900, and special admission price options. Shuttle buses are provided to transport guests from their cabins or campsites to the main lodge buildings, and to the South Gate of Americana 1900. Pony Express Delivery Service is available at the main Howard Taft Lodge and the Expedition Lodge. There also is a half-mile walking path leading from the main Howard Taft Lodge to the South Gate.


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Well-Known Member
As we reach the end of this great American pilgrimage, I'd just like to get a little gushy - the level of intricate detail in literally EVERYTHING here has been incredible. This is refined storytelling. Every attraction, restaurant, shop, and even the buildings all have their own interconnected backstories and personalities. The amount of research put into maintaining the park's authenticity and theming must've been quite the feat. To me, if I can compare, is what Disney's America should have been - something that was more focused and grounded in its scope, yet spectacular in its efforts and ideas. The idea to create a theme park with no established franchises or IPs to rely on, with an original concept that not only sticks to the overarching themes and nails it so superbly, is something rather rare on this forums, but definitely something that has been worth the wait and worth the read.

James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As we reach the end of this great American pilgrimage, I'd just like to get a little gushy - the level of intricate detail in literally EVERYTHING here has been incredible. This is refined storytelling. Every attraction, restaurant, shop, and even the buildings all have their own interconnected backstories and personalities. The amount of research put into maintaining the park's authenticity and theming must've been quite the feat. To me, if I can compare, is what Disney's America should have been - something that was more focused and grounded in its scope, yet spectacular in its efforts and ideas. The idea to create a theme park with no established franchises or IPs to rely on, with an original concept that not only sticks to the overarching themes and nails it so superbly, is something rather rare on this forums, but definitely something that has been worth the wait and worth the read.
I...uh...pardon me while I stammer with gratitude for your kind words. You mentioned everything I hoped to achieve in this presentation of Americana 1900, and to hear such praise from such talented Imagineers is truly humbling. I hope you and everyone find the upcoming episodes of Americana 1900 equally deserving of such high praise! I have often referred to @D Hulk and his breathtaking DisneySky presentation as inspiration, and his drawing of Americana 1900 made my presentation possible. I would never have done it without his artistic contribution, nor without @ Knight2000 and his artistic and technical assistance and skills.

Thanks to all, but don't forget- we're not finished with Americana 1900! The future of The Americana Resort is almost here!
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James G.

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


Located just south of the park, with direct pedestrian access to the south gate, this moderately-priced, award-winning Arts and Crafts-inspired hotel is a favorite for Americana guests of all ages. This three-story, 480-room hotel celebrates the influence that the Fred Harvey Company had as America began to discover itself in the era between the Civil War and the advent of the automobile. The Harvey House Hotel, along with the three Harvey House Restaurants found in the park itself, commemorate this important if nearly forgotten American success story.


Guests arrive at the Harvey House Hotel under a magnificent, two-story wooden porte cochere, where wooden-and-glass doors have the triple-H monogram subtly worked into the design, an emblem that will be found throughout the hotel. Through these doors, guests enter a breathtaking, three-story atrium lobby, surrounded by balconies supported by sleekly-squared wooden columns.


A magnificent vaulted skylight composed of both clear and stained glass patterns using the ubiquitous triple-H pattern bathes the lobby with light. The registration desks line the west side of the lobby, and resemble the ticket counters found at old train stations, with relatively small windows, quite different from more modern hotel design but completely appropriate for the railroad theme of the Harvey House Hotel.


Also on the west side of the lobby, to the left of the registration area, is the concierge desk, a hallway leading to the ground floor rooms of the west wing, and the elevator lobby serving the west side of the hotel.




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