Main Street USA: Windows

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

There is nothing like walking under the tunnel when you first enter Disneyland and finding yourself right in Main Street USA. Before entering either one of the tunnels, you’ll see a plaque above that reads, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” And that’s what exactly happens when you enter Main Street. Main Street is the entrance to all of Disneyland and welcomes guests to another place and time. When I take in all of the sights, sounds, smells, and hear that classic Main Street music, it makes me feel like I’m home.

Have you ever paid attention to the details on Main Street? There’s so much history that lies within Main Street. The focus on this post is the windows. If you’ve ever looked up at some of the windows on Main Street, you may have recognized a few names. This was a way that Walt Disney could honor his Imagineers, as well as his friends and family. I’ll list a few.

If you’re standing at the Fire Department and Walt’s apartment, you’ll see Carriage Place Clothing Company to the right. Looking up, you’ll see a window with the name of an important lady in Disney history, Harriet Burns. Harriet Burns was the first female WED Imagineer. Disney Imagineering was first known as WED Enterprises in 1952. WED stood for Walt Elias Disney. On February 20, 1986, the name changed to Disney Imagineering. Imagineer is imagination and engineering combined. Harriet Burns designed and feathered the birds of the Enchanted Tiki Room and sculpted models for Storybook Land. She also contributed to many of the classic Disney attractions we all know and adore, such as the Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and the Haunted Mansion.

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Walt Disney, Julie Reems (Disneyland Ambassador) and Harriet Burns)

(Photo: Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

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(Photo: Loren Javier)

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(Photo: disney-pal.com)

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(Photo: mousewait.com)

Renie Bardeau‘s window is located right above the Main Street Photo Supply. He was a Disneyland photographer from 1958 to 1998. He has taken many photos for Disneyland and of Walt Disney. At first, Bardeau was just looking for a summer time job. Bardeau was sent to see Charlie Nichols, who was then Disneyland’s Chief photographer. He was hired shortly after a quick interview, not realizing this summer job would become a life long career. Nichols retired in 1968 and Bardeau took his place as the Chief photographer of Disneyland.

He took this photo below in 1964, one of the most iconic photos of Walt Disney at his Magic Kingdom. It’s a candid shot of Walt walking through Sleeping Beauty’s castle one early Saturday morning before the park opened. It’s known as the “Footsteps” photo.

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This picture is one of my favorite pictures taken of Walt Disney, in 1966, by Bardeau. But at the same time, it’s a sad one because it was the last picture taken of Walt Disney at Disneyland.

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

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Elias and Flora Disney

(Photo: The Walt Disney Family Museum)

If you look above the Emporium shop, you’ll see a window dedicated to Elias Disney. Elias was the father of Walt Disney. He and his wife, Flora Call, had 5 children: Herbert Arthur Disney, Raymond Arnold Disney, Roy Oliver Disney, Walter Elias Disney & Ruth Flora Disney. Elias’ name was featured on the window on the opening day of the park, July 17, 1955. His window reads: “Elias Disney, Contractor, Est. 1895.” 1895 represents the year he began working as a contractor.

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

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(Photo: d23.com)

Ken Anderson‘s window can be spotted above the Market House. Anderson was a part of the WED Enterprises and was one of the first to work on Disneyland. He was the primary designer for Fantasyland and worked on the attractions such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and Peter Pan’s Flight. Prior to Disneyland, he worked on the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He built little models of the Dwarfs’ cottages and even created the idea of Dopey wiggling his ears (because he was able to do it himself). He also worked on the Sleeping Beauty film then in 1957 worked on the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-through. He also created the characters Shere Khan from The Jungle Book and Elliot from Pete’s Dragon.

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

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(Photo: d23.com)

Blaine Gibson was a sculptor and animator. His window is located above the Mad Hatter. He is the creator of the “Partners” statue that is located at the hub at Disneyland. It was revealed on November 18, 1993. Here’s a photo I took of the statue below in 2009.

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(Photo: disunplugged.com)

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(Photo: d23.com)

X. Atencio was another Disney Imagineer. The X in his name stands for Xavier. Some of his work include the dialogue and music for Adventures Thru Inner Space and he helped animate Fantasia. He co-wrote “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from the Haunted Mansion and wrote “Yo Ho Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me” from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

I really hope you enjoyed this post! Next time you’re at Disneyland visiting Main Street, please take the time to check out these names on the windows. I only wrote on just a handful of them. There are many more people involved in Disney history that have windows dedicated to them. I may do another post on more of them and most likely in the future, I’ll be doing a post on more of the history on beautiful Main Street USA!

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