17 Disney Park Windows Worth a Closer Look

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DisneyBlog

The next time you find yourself on Main Street at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, tear your eyes away from the street trolley, the balloon seller, the barbershop quartet, and the elaborate window displays. Look up. Each window on Main Street bears an inscription of the name of the fictional vendor who “owns” the business housed in that building. A staggering variety of careers are represented, from miniature model makers to travel agents and palm readers.

Well, there is no “random” at Disney parks. Just like almost all of the other little details you’ll find tucked away at Disney, those names are there for a reason—they honor people who have contributed greatly to the company. Actually, according to Imagineer Marty Sklar, it takes three things to get your name on a park window these days. First of all, you only receive the honor upon retirement. Secondly, the honor only goes to those with the highest level of service, respect, and achievement. And thirdly, management at each park has to agree with the folks at Walt Disney Imagineering on the who, what, and where of each window.

Here are a few to look for the next time you’re strolling down Main Street, ambling through Frontierland, or pratfalling through Toontown.

Disneyland

1. Roland “Rolly” Crump

Photo courtesy of MousePlanet

Crump was one of Walt Disney’s favorite designers. He worked on attractions such as the Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Crump’s original Haunted Mansion plans included a walk-through “Museum of the Weird” concept, so you can see why his window received the palm reading theme.

2. Harriet Burns

Photo courtesy of DisneyBlog

As the first female Imagineer, Burns was responsible for model-making and figure-building—among other things—applying paint and other finishes to the pieces and people featured in rides like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. She also helped design Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.

3. Bob Gurr

Photo courtesy of MousePlanet

Gurr is responsible for the design of most of the ride vehicles at Disney Parks, from the Doom Buggies at the Haunted Mansion to the Monorail. He's the one who famously gave Richard Nixon a little joyride on the Monorail back in 1959.

4. X. Atencio

Photo courtesy of DisneyPal

Look above the Opera House at Disneyland to find this inscription for the man who wrote the scripts for the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, including the lyrics to “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me).” Atencio also has a tombstone at the Haunted Mansion.

5. Wally Boag

Photo courtesy of Yesterland

If you visited Disneyland between 1955 and 1982, you probably saw Wally Boag. Wally starred in the Golden Horseshoe Revue for 40,000 performances and was honored with a window above the Blue Ribbon Bakery in 1995—but his longtime onstage partner, Betty Taylor, doesn’t seem to have her own window. C’mon, Disney. It’s probably time to honor Sluefoot Sue, who kept going after Boag retired and put in 45,000 performances.

6. Roger Broggie

Photo courtesy of LaughingPlace

As the head of the Disney Studios Machine Shop, Broggie oversaw the development of the Disneyland Railroad, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Disneyland Monorail, among other things. He also worked with Walt to create the 1/2 mile-long Carolwood Pacific Railroad located in Disney’s backyard. “Mechanical wonders” and “Magical Illusions” indeed.

7. and 8. Alice and Marc Davis

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks

Immediate members of the Disney family may all have their names on windows at Main Street together—Walt Disney’s daughters with their spouses and children, for example. But there’s only one married couple in the whole park that have their own windows based on individual contributions to the park. Marc Davis, one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” was an animator and draftsman. He was responsible for Snow White, Alice, Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, and characters from the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and more. Alice Davis was a costume designer who outfitted the audio animatronics on It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel of Progress, and more. The Davises’ longevity rivaled that of Mickey and Minnie—they were married for 44 years until Marc’s death in 2000. Alice got the window real estate right next to her husband’s in 2012. They can both be found above the Disneyana store.

9. Robert Jani

Photo courtesy of FindingMickey

Though he’s credited with reviving the spectaculars at Radio City Music Hall and creating the master plan for the opening and closing ceremonies at the 1984 Olympics in L.A., Robert Jani is perhaps best known for the Main Street Electrical Parade, as evidenced by his window at the Disneyland Opera House.

10. Marty Sklar

Photo courtesy of DisneyBlog

From working on marketing materials for Disneyland in 1955 to becoming president of Disney Imagineering, Marty Sklar was the only Disney employee to have been present for the opening of all 11 Disney Parks at the time of his retirement in 2009. On his last day, the company honored him with a window at City Hall in Disneyland, where he had once had an office.

Magic Kingdom

11. Yale Gracey, Bud Martin, Ken O’Brien, and Wathel Rogers

Photo courtesy of Magic100

Special tricks—yeah, you could say that. Gracey, Martin, and Rogers were responsible for most of the special effects in the Haunted Mansion, including the Pepper’s Ghost effect seen in the famous ballroom scene. O’Brien was an audio-animatronics specialist who worked on the Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In my opinion, Disney bestowed an even higher honor to three of these gentlemen—Yale Gracey, Bud Martin, and Wathel Rogers all have tombstones at the Mansion.

12. Donn Tatum

Photo courtesy of WDWCentral

As the first non-Disney family member to become president of Walt Disney Productions, Tatum was instrumental in the creation of Walt Disney World in Florida, especially after Walt passed away in 1966. The “subsidiaries” listed on Tatum’s window were the names of the dummy corporations used to anonymously purchase Florida swampland to create the theme parks.

13. Ub and Don Iwerks

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks

Ub Iwerks was Walt Disney’s original business partner and co-creator of Mickey Mouse. Don is his son, who worked on Disney films for more than 35 years, pioneering techniques such as the 360-degree camera and Circle-Vision—so you can see why their “Stereoscopic Camera” business is quite appropriate.

Non-Main Street/Other Windows

14. Fess Parker

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks

In 2004, Fess Parker, AKA Davy Crockett himself, received a window touting his Coonskin Cap Supply Co. in Frontierland at Disneyland. Parker played Crockett in a Disney miniseries, then used the character to help promote the opening of Disneyland. He starred in a number of other Disney productions in the ‘50s as well, including (sob) Old Yeller.

15. Harper Goff

Photo courtesy of DisneyPal

It’s said that Disney doesn’t approve of visible tattoos on their employees, but it looks like they made an exception for Harper Goff. Goff, an artist, musician, and actor, created many of the special effects in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He also created concept art for Mickey Mouse Park, the original idea behind Disneyland. As a man of many talents, his tattoo-and-banjo parlor can be found in the bazaar in Disneyland’s Adventureland.

16. Michael Eisner

Given the shadow cast over Michael Eisner’s time with the company, it’s no wonder that his window has been relegated to Disneyland Paris.

17. Walt Disney

Photo by Stacy Conradt

Walt himself has more than one window—in fact, he has at least six. There are two in Disneyland (one on Main Street and one in Toontown), three at the Magic Kingdom , and one in Disneyland Paris.

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June 27, 2014 - 7:00pm
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