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Disneyland's Newest Addition To Main Street U.S.A Is A Beautiful Tribute To A Disney Legend

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland
(Image credit: Disneyland)

Normally, when something new comes along that changes an iconic part of Disneyland, there are at least a few people who will be upset by it. However, this time I think we’ll all be in agreement that the newest addition to Main Street U.S.A. is a welcome one, as Dave Smith, the Founder of the Walt Disney Archives, has now been immortalized with a window on Main Street.

Yesterday in a ceremony at Disneyland, the window was officially unveiled which lists Dave Smith as the Town Archivist on Main Street U.S.A. The window will now remain there in perpetuity, so that all future guests will be able to see it and everybody will know of Smith’s contribution to the Walt Disney Company. And the ceremony was just as beautiful as the window. Check out part of it below. 

Dave Smith founded The Walt Disney Archives in the 1970s. Prior to that there was no dedicated attempt to remember and store the history of the Walt Disney Company or the man who started it all. It’s hard to imagine that, but a decent volume of material from Disney films is just gone because there was no attempt to preserve it before then. Now the Archives are so important to Disney there are entire shows on Disney+ dedicated to them.

In 2007 Dave Smith was honored as a Disney Legend, but after he passed away in 2019, it was suggested by somebody at a public Disney shareholders meeting that Smith should be honored by a window on Main Street U.S.A. Then CEO Bob Iger heard the suggestion and took it to heart as he announced a year later at the next public meeting that the window installation would happen.

If you walk down Main Street U.S.A at Disneyland or its sister park Magic Kingdom and you look at the upper level above all the shops, you see era-appropriate signs advertising various fictional businesses and organizations. Each of the names you see is the name of somebody who contributed to The Walt Disney Company in some significant way. 

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Many former Imagineers have their names immortalized there. Bob Gurr, who helped develop Autopia and the Matterhorn Bobsleds, among other attractions, can be found at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Ub Iwerks, who co-developed Mickey Mouse with Walt Disney, and also developed the camera system for Circle-Vision, can be found at Magic Kingdom, alongside his son Don, who followed him into Imagineering.

It’s more than fitting that a man who dedicated his career to cataloging the history of the Walt Disney Company has now been included on Main Street U.S.A. that place in the Disney Parks dedicated to America’s (illusory) past. While many people become Disney Legends eventually, far fewer end up with their names on a Main Street window, but Smith truly belongs there. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.