When you enter the Magic Kingdom and walk down Main Street, U.S.A, it’s easy to get swept up in the beauty of Cinderella Castle. Actually, it’s expected! Once you catch your breath, take a look around. You’ll notice the amount of detail Disney has put into every inch of the park. You may also notice the windows above the shops are advertising businesses. Ever wonder what it’s all about? Let us explain.
The business are fictitious, but the names referenced are actually Disney legends. The names of the businesses often refer to a contribution or development made by the person honored. There are three things required to get your name on a window: 1. Can only be done upon retirement 2. Must have had the highest level of service/respect/achievement 3. Had an agreement between the individual park management and Walt Disney Imagineering. Walt Disney himself has three windows at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s go through a few of the others you may have seen while strolling along Main Street.
The Buena Vista Magic Lantern Slides is located above the Confectionery and references Yale Gracey, Bud Martin, Ken O’Brien, and Wathel Rogers. Gracey, Martin, and Rogers were the masterminds behind most of the special effects in one of the most loved ride, Haunted Mansion. All three have a tombstone. O’Brien was an audio-animatronics specialist who worked on Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Located above the Main Street Bakery is the Iwerks-Iwerks Stereoscopic Cameras that references Ub Iwerks and Don Iwerks. Ub was Walt’s original business parter and co-creator of our beloved mouse, Mickey. Don, Ub’s son, worked on Disney films for more than 35 years. He pioneered techniques such as the 360-degree camera and circle-vision.
Above Crystal Arts is the M.T. Lott Real Estate Investments window listed Donn Tatum as President. The tagline is ‘A Friend in Deeds is a Friend Indeed.’ Don Tatum was the 1st non-Disney family member to become President of Walt Disney Productions. He was instrumental in creating Walt Disney World Resort after Walt passed away in 1966. The names referenced on the 2nd window are actually the names of the dummy corporations used to purchase the land for the parks anonymously. They are: Tomahawk Properties, Latin American Development, Ayefour Corporation, Bay Lake Properties, Reedy Creek Ranch Lands, Compass East Corporation. Tatum was the CEO until 1976. He officially retired in 1980 but stayed on the Disney board as an executive committee chair.
So next time, look up for some interesting Disney history. You never know who’s name you’ll find!