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The Windows of Main Street, U.S.A.

          Everyone loves Main Street, U.S.A. It’s the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. Think of it as the red carpet setting up the stage for the incredible experience that lies ahead. It also serves as the credit reel at the beginning of the film. You may be thinking, “Elizabeth, why in the world would the credits be at the beginning of the film? They always come at the end of the film.” In today’s films, you would be correct. However, if that’s your thought process, then you clearly haven’t seen many old films. This is your queue to watch all those old classic Hollywood films (start with Turner Classic Movies if you don’t know where else to start). Also, think back to the old classic Disney films. They were the same way. The credits all happened at the beginning of the film, instead of the end. Pay more attention the next time you watch any animated Disney film, pre-1980’s. The live-action films tended to mix it up a bit more until the 1980’s. You’ll get the idea what I mean. Anyway, back to Main Street. What does this have to do with film credits? Well, that’s exactly what Main Street is. Next time you walk down Main Street, in any Disney park that has one, pay attention to the windows you pass by. These windows will advertise a business located there, as well as the proprietor’s name. Many people don’t realize that the majority of these names are actually real people who made significant contributions to that park, or Walt Disney Company history. The business they are affiliated with represents their interests, hobbies, or expertise within the company. These are the people who helped to create the park that you know and love. Today, I’m going to point out some of my favorite windows in Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Some, I’ll even tell you where to find them. This way, you can find them yourself the next time you walk down Main Street, and you can appreciate the incredible people who have made Walt Disney World the Most Magical Place on Earth.

  •           Walt Disney – Walt is one of the few people who get two windows on Main Street. He also has the only window visible from outside the park. He is the first and last windows, with the second one facing the castle, giving him an eternal view. Like every good director, his name is at both ends of the credits. His first window is on the front of the train station, and it honors Walt’s love of trains. This window reads: Walt Disney World Railroad Office, Keeping Dreams on Track, Walter E. Disney, Chief Engineer. His second window is about The Plaza Restaurant. This window reads: Walter E. Disney. Graduate School of Design & Master Planning. “We specialize in Imagineering.” Beneath Walt’s name are the names of his “master planners” who were key in designing the Magic Kingdom. Those men are: Richard Irvine, John Hench, Edward Brummitt, Marvin Davis, Fred Hope, Vic Greene, Bill Martin, and Chuck Myall.

  •           Roy O. Disney – He was the older brother of Walt Disney. He was also the driving force behind Walt Disney World. Roy’s dedication to his brother and their company is memorialized in a window above Uptown Jewelers. While Walt may have had the dream, it was Roy’s financial knowledge that turned those dreams into reality. His window reads: “If we can dream it – we can do it!” Dreamers and Doers. Roy O. Disney, Chairman.

  •           Frank Wells – He was the Chief Operating Officer and President of the Walt Disney Company from 1984 to 1994. His window is the highest on Main Street, and is one of the few third floor windows. It’s to honor his love of climbing and mountaineering. Frank climbed to the summit of the tallest mountain on every continent except Mount Everest. Unfortunately, he had to turn around before he could summit. His window is Seven Summits Expeditions.

  •           Elias Disney – He as Walt and Roy’s father. His window is located above the china shop in the alley that deviates to the right of Main Street. It reads: Elias Disney, Contractor. It was a subtle way to honor their father in their theme parks.

  •           Marty Sklar – He was a legend at the Disney company, as well as Imagineering. He retired after a 54-year career with Disney. He is best known as Walt’s speech-writer, and the creative head and executive vice president of Imagineering. He was the one who put Walt’s vision for EPCOT into words. Those famous words that we all know by now where written by Marty. He later moved over to Imagineering after Walt died. He wrote the literal handbook for Walt Disney Imagineering. After his retirement, he became an Imagineering Ambassador and a Disney Legend. Until his death in 2017, he was the only person who had attended the opening of every Disney park around the world. Shanghai Disney is the only park that did not have the pleasure of Marty’s presence on opening day. If you can’t tell, I’m kind of a fan.

  •           X. Atencio – He started his career as an animator, but later moved over to Imagineering. He is most famous for writing the lyrics to “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, the script for the Haunted Mansion, as well as the lyrics to “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, also for the Haunted Mansion attraction. His window, located above the Confectionary, reads: The Musical Quill – Lyrics and Librettos by X. Atencio.

  •           Roger Broggie – You might recognize his name from one of the trains named in his honor on the Walt Disney World Railroad. He worked as an Imagineer, and headed up the development of ride, mechanical, and show systems for WED. His window reads: Roger Broggie – “Can Do” Machine Works. Mechanical Wonders, Live Steam Engines, Magical Illusions, Cameras. Advisor To The Magic Makers.

  •           Bob Gurr – He started out in Imagineering in the machine shop. He designed the Autopia Cars and the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland. He also designed the cars on Main Street, the monorail, and so much more. If it has wheels, moves, or transports, he probably had a hand in it. At the time of writing this, he is the only Imagineer left who directly worked with Walt Disney, at least as far as I’m aware. His window reads: The Big Wheel Co. “One-of-a-Kind” Unicycles, Horseless Carriages. Dave Gengenbach, Bob Gurr, George McGinnis, Bill Watkins.

  •           Fred Joerger – He was a model builder who became the company’s resident “rock expert.” He designed the rockwork and waterfalls for the Jungle Cruise and Swiss Family Treehouse. He also worked on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tom Sawyer Island. His window reads: Fred Joerger – Daughterland Modeling Agency. His window refers to the WED model shop, which was populated by many of the daughters of WED and studio employees during the 1960’s.

  •           Tom Nabbe – He got his start playing Tom Sawyer on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. He later became an attraction manager. After transferring to Walt Disney World, he became the monorail manager. He retired as the manager of Distribution Services. His window reads: Tom Nabbe – Sawyer’s Fence Painting Co.

  •           Owen Pope – He was the original horse trainer for Disney parks and the studio. He later became the manager for opening the Tri-Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. His window reads: Owen Pope – Harness Maker, Feed and Grain, Supplies, Leather Goods, “Saddles A Specialty.”

  •           Joe Potter – He was hired by Disney to work on the Florida Project. He was responsible for the government aspects and infrastructure for the Magic Kingdom property. His team built the water-drainage system, the Utilidors, created the innovative sewer, power, and water-treatment plants, and much more. One of the Magic Kingdom ferry boats is named after him. His window reads: General Joe’s Building Permits – “Licensed in Florida Since ’66.”

  •          Bill Sullivan – He was on the Project Management team for Walt Disney World. He was responsible for Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, and Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom. He eventually became the park’s vice president. He has two windows on Main Street, and one of them reads: Sully’s Safaris – Guide Service.

  •           Card Walker – He was named the company president in 1971. He later became CEO in 1976. He was responsible for turning EPCOT from a dream into a reality. His window reads: Card Walker – “Licensed Practitioner of Psychiatry and Justice of the Peace.”

  •           Big Top Theatrical Productions. Famous since ’55. Claude Coats, Bill Justice, Marc Davis, John de Cuir. These were developers and designers of many of the World’s Fair attractions.

  •           The Camelot Corp. Road Show Installation. Show Designers – Tony Baxter, Dave Burkhart, Ed Johnson, Gary Younger.

  •           M.T. Lott Co. A Friend in Deeds Is a Friend Indeed. Land Aquistion. This was one of the shell companies that was used to purchase the land for the Florida Project.

  •           Buena Vista Magic Lantern Slides. Treat Your Friends to Our Special Tricks. Special Effects. Yale Gracey and Wathel Rogers.

  •           Iwerks-Iwerks. Stereoscopic Cameras. Named for animator/inventor Ub Iwerks.

  •           Center Street Academy of Fine Art – Painting & Sculpture – Collin Campbell, Herbert Ryman, Blaine Gibson, Mary Blair, Dorothea Redmond.

  •           Last but not least, the honorable mention, the Instagram favorite next to Main Street Fashion and Apparel:

          Open Since ’71. Magic Kingdom Casting Agency. “It takes People to Make the Dream a Reality.” Walter Elias Disney – Founder and Director Emeritus.

          This is only a fraction of the windows and people honored on Main Street, U.S.A. Which one was your favorite? Did you know about any of these before, or were they all new to you? This is such a cool way to honor the people who helped make the Magic Kingdom the Most Magical Place on Earth. Next time you walk down Main Street, take your time, and pay attention the windows. Research the names that interest you. There is so much to learn about the people who made these parks, attractions, and experiences possible. If you’re interested in a part two of this post, let me know. There’s plenty more where these came from.

          For more Disney fun, follow Elizabeth’s Magical World on Instagram and Facebook. Subscribe to the blog for all the latest posts and news. Have a magical day!

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