Most Disneyland fans know Main Street, U.S.A. is inspired by Walt Disney’s boyhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri, but many park goers who stroll up and down Disneyland’s main thoroughfare don’t realize the windows in Town Square and along Main Street pay tribute to people who contributed to the park’s development, design, storytelling, and magic.
The tradition of dedicating Main Street windows dates back to 1955, when Walt personally selected a group of cast members to be honored with windows on opening day. Disney Legend (and window recipient) Marty Sklar has explained that Walt declared a Main Street window can only be dedicated to someone after they retire from the company (except for the original honorees, of course).
In the second of our multi-part series about the Main Street windows, we’re continuing our tour on the east side of the street, from Center Street (the cross street at the Market House) to the First Aid Center near Plaza Inn restaurant.
Walt added this intersection to create a city block on Main Street U.S.A., which according to our guide on the Walt’s Main Street Story Tour, is just one of the many little details Walt considered “plussing up” the park experience (see how you can take the tour below).
In addition, if you listen closely on this quaint cul-de-sac, you may hear someone gargling or taking a shower from the open upstairs window of the Hotel Marceline. Across the street, you might hear a “less-than-proficient” student taking a piano lesson or patients having a “not-so-painless” experience at the fictional dentist office.
Disney Clothiers, Ltd.:
Disney Legend Bob Gurr – Gurr was an Imagineer who was Walt’s “go-to guy” for any vehicle needed for Disneyland. He started his Disney career in the Machine Shop where he was tasked with designing the cars for Autopia and eventually designed more than 100 Disneyland vehicles, including the Matterhorn Bobsleds, the Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) Monorail, the Disneyland Railroad cars, the Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies, plus the antique cars, double-decker buses, and Disneyland fire engine for Main Street U.S.A.
Fun Fact: Bob celebrated his 92nd birthday at the special Disney 100th celebration hosted by our own Dusty Sage at Walt Disney’s storybook mansion in the Hollywood Hills.
Disney Legend William Justice – Justice (formally a Disney animator) was an expert at programming audio-animatronics figures, including for Pirates of the Caribbean. Justice also designed the floats and costumes for Disneyland’s 1959 Christmas parade and did the initial sketches for the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Fun Fact: Justice’s artwork can be seen in the Sleeping Beauty paintings in the King Arthur Carousel.
Disney Legend Jim Cora – Cora began his Disney career as an attractions host (including on the opening team for the Enchanted Tiki Room) and worked up to Chairman of Disney International, where he was involved in Disney parks overseas. Cora oversaw creative direction for Tokyo Disneyland and development of Tokyo DisneySea, which explains the “Land & Sea” reference on his window.
H. Draegert Bernard – Dr. Harold D. Bernard was Walt Disney’s ear, nose, and throat doctor. He shared an admiration for Abraham Lincoln with Walt and boasted one of the most comprehensive Lincoln collections in the world at the time.
Disney Legend C. “Randy” Bright – One of the spacemen who appeared in Tomorrowland’s early days as well as a cast member on the Sailing Ship Columbia and Monorail, Bright later became an Imagineer and was instrumental in developing the concept for a simulator ride system that would eventually become Star Tours.
Disney Legend Don Edgren – Disneyland’s original chief engineer, Edgren led the Imagineering teams for Ford’s Magic Skyway (1964 New York World’s Fair), New Orleans Square, and Pirates of the Caribbean, plus the master planning for Walt Disney World, the first Space Mountain (in Orlando), and Tokyo Disneyland.
Disney Legend Roland “Rolly” Crump – Best known for his innovative and quirky concept artwork for Haunted Mansion (then the walk-through Museum of the Weird) and the famous Tower of the Four Winds, which stood at the entrance to it’s a Small World at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
Fun Fact: The misspelling of “bizarre” on Rolly’s window is a nod to the Adventureland Bazaar, which he designed.
The China Closet:
Disney Legend Edward T. “Eddie” Meck – Shortly after the park opened, Disneyland publicist Meck famously told Walt the theme park was “too fantastic and too hard to describe” to the press, so he told Walt to invite the press to Disneyland and let the park sell itself.
Disney Legend Cicely Rigdon – Rigdon began her Disney career in 1957, but in 1967, Rigdon – by then the supervisor of guest relations – was responsible for Walt’s apartment above the Main Street Fire Station and was known as the “keeper of the keys.” Beginning in 1982, she led the Disneyland Ambassador program, working with the cast members who represent Disneyland around the world.
This year-round holiday store was previously Main Street Photo Supply, which explains some of the window dedications on this building.
Renie Bardeau – The first official photographer and photo archivist for Disneyland. Bardeau’s first assignment was photographing Walt and Richard Nixon at the 1959 Disneyland Monorail dedication. He is also credited with taking the last color photos of Walt and Mickey Mouse together in 1966.
Disney Legend Sam McKim – The actor-turned-artist is best known as the creator of the highly collectible Disneyland souvenir maps issued between 1958 and 1964. In 1992, McKim recreated his unique style when he created a new map for the opening of Disneyland Paris (then Euro Disney).
Disney Legend Herbert Ryman – Ryman is most famous for his early rendering of Disneyland based on Walt’s original idea, but he also worked on designs for Sleeping Beauty Castle and New Orleans Square. Herbie is widely considered to be Walt’s favorite artist.
Disney Legend John Hench – Other than Walt himself, Hench is considered to be the person who had the most significant impact on Disneyland’s design, including Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and New Orleans Square. Hench also designed Snow White Grotto, which was required to employ forced perspective when the statues of Snow White and the seven dwarfs were accidentally made all the same size.
Fun Fact: The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs statues at Disneyland are replicas (the originals are in the model room at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, Calif.).
Disney Legend Peter Ellenshaw – A painter at WED (the precursor of Imagineering), Ellenshaw is famous for painting the rendering of Disneyland that Walt pointed to on the Oct. 27, 1954 episode of his Disneyland television show, nine months before the park opened. Ellenshaw also painted backgrounds for many Disney films, including “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” and “Mary Poppins,” for which he won an Oscar.
Alexander Irvine – Ophthalmologist Irvine was Walt’s eye doctor, the father of Disney Legend Richard Irvine, the grandfather-in-law of Imagineer (and Haunted Mansion Madame Leota) Leota Toombs, and the great-grandfather of current Imagineer (and Haunted Mansion Holiday Madame Leota), Kim Irvine.
Leighton I. Sherwood – “Doc” Sherwood was a retired doctor who lived in Marceline during Walt’s childhood. Doc asked Walt to do a crayon drawing of his horse, Rupert (and paid him a few cents), but it was Walt’s first paid job as an artist.
First Aid and Baby Care Center:
In April 2023, a set of three windows above the Wish Lounge (next to First Aid and the Baby Care Center) were dedicated for Make-A-Wish, the first time in Disneyland’s history that a window was dedicated to a non-profit organization.
The three Make-A-Wish windows form a triptych, with the center window dedicated to all wish kids of the past, present, and future and the side windows honoring Chris Greicius, whose wish inspired the creation of Make-A-Wish and Frank “Bopsy” Salazar who received the first official wish granted in 1981
You can learn more about these special windows here:
In Case You Missed It!
Our first article in the series included the windows on the east side of Main Street U.S.A., from the original Main Street Bank in Town Square (now the Disneyana store) along the east side of the street to the Market House (AKA Starbucks). at the corner of Main Street and Center Street:
Walt’s Main Street Story Tour
If you’re interested in learning more about Main Street, U.S.A., the 90-minute Walt’s Main Street Story includes a guided walking tour down Main Street plus a visit to Walt’s apartment.
Five tours are offered each day: Three morning tours at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. and two afternoon tours at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $160 + tax per person ages 3+. Valid ticket and park reservation are required. Click here for details.
Another way to learn about the Main Street windows in both Anaheim and Orlando (and the perfect holiday gift for your favorite Disney fan) is the new book by Chuck Snyder titled People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored With a Window on Main Street U.S.A. available on Amazon.
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Let’s Hear From You!
Did you know the windows on Main Street U.S.A. are dedicated to real people who contributed to Disneyland’s history? Which is your favorite Main Street window in our series so far, and who are you looking forward to learning about next? Have you ever heard the sounds from the windows on Center Street? Let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned for Part Three coming soon!
This article was shot by Mike Kindrich and written by Samantha Davis-Friedman.