When you first step into the Magic Kingdom, it’s hard to take your eyes off Cinderella Castle straight in front of you, or you may make a beeline for Space Mountain. Even if you do spend some time on Main Street U.S.A., there are many tempting shops to browse in and goodies to savor.
Rainy Day on Main Street, U.S.A.
But if you have a moment or two, you may want to take some time and look up. You’ll see names on the windows above the shops around you… names of people that are significant to Walt Disney World. When Walt Disney imagined Disneyland, he wanted guests to experience a show, and these names roll out like the credits of a movie, honoring the people who helped bring it to life. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom “rolls the credits” in the same way.
My tool on the quest to learn more about the people behind the names was the book Windows on Main Street by Chuck Snyder.
Guests can find it all over Disney World, but may find it especially handy to pick up in the Magic Kingdom’s Emporium to dig in right away. The book is a guide to the windows in Disneyland and Disney World, and I’d like to share a little bit of what I learned. You will find more detailed information in the book, along with a map letting you know where you can find each individual window. There is also a terrific foreword written by Imagineer Marty Sklar (who now has his own window) explaining the history and tradition of the windows.
Buddy Baker wrote the well-loved music for the Haunted Mansion, as well as orchestrations for Disney’s Carousel of Progress and “It’s a Small World” (the Sherman Brothers composed the songs themselves).
I have a special appreciation for anyone involved with the creation of the Haunted Mansion in any way (it’s my favorite attraction). Yale Gracey was a special-effects artist known best for his work on the effects in the Haunted Mansion. You’ll find nods to “Master Gracey” in the attraction itself as well.
“Master Gracey’s” grave at the Haunted Mansion
“Sully” Sullivan (his given name is Bill) was very actively involved in the creation of Disney World, after having started his career as a ticket taker in Disneyland. He oversaw the management of three lands including Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, and Liberty Square.
Card Walker began his Disney career in 1938 in the Disney Studio. He started in the mailroom, and eventually made his way up to President of the Disney Company in 1971.
Tony Baxter came up with concepts for several favorite attractions including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Star Tours. My favorite tidbit about him, though, is that he began his Disney career as a sweeper and scooper of ice cream :) .
I wanted to learn about this next window, honoring “Miss Joyce, Dollmaker for the World,” primarily because it was one of the few women’s names that I found. I suppose much of that has to do with the era when Disneyland and Disney World were developed.
I didn’t find Joyce in my book, so I did a little digging online. I found (thanks to this great post at allears.net from “The ‘World’ According to Jack” column) that Joyce Carlton played a major role in the creation of the “It’s a Small World” attraction, which makes her “Dollmaker” title especially fitting. Ms. Carlton was also the first woman Cast Member to reach 50 years of working for the Disney company.
And there are windows for the Disney men themselves.
Elias Disney, father to Walt and Roy:
Roy Disney, Walt’s brother who played every bit as important a role in the creation of Disneyland and Disney World as Walt:
The panels pictured below are from the attraction Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Click to enlarge to read a little about the role Roy played in Walt’s life, Disneyland, and Disney World.
“Walt recalled, ‘Roy was one of the kindest fellows I’ve ever known in my life.’ “
“When the idea for Disneyland at last solidified in Walt’s mind, it was Roy who took the concept to New York bankers and secured the funding to make Walt’s dream a reality.”
After Walt’s death, Roy oversaw the development of Disney World, “changing the name to ‘Walt Disney World’ so that, in Roy’s words, ‘people will always know that this was Walt’s dream.’ “
And, of course, Walt Disney himself:
Walt also has the highest window at the train station overseeing everything at the Magic Kingdom which you can see even before entering the park.
There he is credited with “Keeping Dreams on Track.”
Not a bad way to spend a life :) .